How do you choose just one verse from Matthew to memorize or reflect over???
Answer: You don’t! This is only a taste of the Gospel of Matthew, just like the other verses were only a taste of their respective books. I encourage you to go back and read more of the Bible whenever you can!
“Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”
A numbers of years ago, I met a woman who had no idea that Jesus spent any time on earth after his resurrection. We had a deeply fascinating conversation about the fact that Jesus spent 40 days on earth between his resurrection and his ascension into heaven. It is because of this conversation that I decided to make this question my blog post this week. Given that we are currently in the 40 day period as part of the Church’s liturgical year, I thought it was appropriate to look at this issue this week.
There are several stories in the Bible about Jesus’ encounters with his disciples after his resurrection. These meetings each tell us something about Jesus after his resurrection.
(1) Jesus had a physical body.
Having said this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing, but she did not know that it was Jesus. Jesus said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping? Whom are you seeking?” Supposing him to be the gardener, she said to him, “Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have laid him, and I will take him away.” Jesus said to her, “Mary.” She turned and said to him in Aramaic,[a] “Rabboni!” (which means Teacher). (John 20:11-18 ESV)
Jesus was standing there in front of Mary in physical form. Mary thought he was another person; the gardner. She did not think the man she saw was some form of a spirit. Yet, Mary did not recognize Jesus at first. Perhaps it was grief. Perhaps he looked different. Perhaps she wasn’t expecting to see someone she thought had died three days earlier. Whatever it was, Mary did not recognize Jesus right away. Yet, there was something about the way that he said her name that caused her to recognize him right away. There was no doubt that it was Jesus.
And he said to them, “Why are you troubled, and why do doubts arise in your hearts?See my hands and my feet, that it is I myself. Touch me, and see. For a spirit does not have flesh and bones as you see that I have.” (Luke 24: 37-39)
Again, it is clear here that Jesus has a physical body that his disciples can touch.
(2) Jesus could walk and talk.
Not only did Jesus talk to Mary was understood. He talked to his disciples in all his encounters. He talked to the two disciples on the road to Emmaus while he walked with them.
That very day two of them were going to a village named Emmaus, about seven miles[a] from Jerusalem,and they were talking with each other about all these things that had happened.While they were talking and discussing together, Jesus himself drew near and went with them.But their eyes were kept from recognizing him.And he said to them, “What is this conversation that you are holding with each other as you walk?” And they stood still, looking sad.Then one of them, named Cleopas, answered him, “Are you the only visitor to Jerusalem who does not know the things that have happened there in these days?”…So they drew near to the village to which they were going. He acted as if he were going farther,but they urged him strongly, saying, “Stay with us, for it is toward evening and the day is now far spent.” So he went in to stay with them. When he was at table with them, he took the bread and blessed and broke it and gave it to them. And their eyes were opened, and they recognized him. (Luke 24:13-18, 28-31)
(3) Jesus could eat.
As they were talking about these things, Jesus himself stood among them, and said to them, “Peace to you!”But they were startled and frightened and thought they saw a spirit….And while they still disbelieved for joy and were marveling, he said to them, “Have you anything here to eat?”They gave him a piece of broiled fish,[b]and he took it and ate before them. (Luke 24:36-38, 41-43 ESV)
It is very clear from this encounter that Jesus could eat. Food didn’t just drop through him as though he were a spirit. In fact, Jesus specifically ate in front of the disciples to prove that he was there in bodily form.
(4) The marks of the crucifixion remain on his body.
As they were talking about these things, Jesus himself stood among them, and said to them, “Peace to you!”But they were startled and frightened and thought they saw a spirit.And he said to them, “Why are you troubled, and why do doubts arise in your hearts?See my hands and my feet, that it is I myself. Touch me, and see. For a spirit does not have flesh and bones as you see that I have.”And when he had said this, he showed them his hands and his feet. (Luke 24:36-40 ESV)
When he had said this, he showed them his hands and his side. Then the disciples were glad when they saw the Lord. (John 20:20-21 ESV)
26 Eight days later, his disciples were inside again, and Thomas was with them. Although the doors were locked, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you.”27 Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here, and see my hands; and put out your hand, and place it in my side. Do not disbelieve, but believe.”28 Thomas answered him, “My Lord and my God!”29 Jesus said to him, “Have you believed because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.”(John 20:24-29 ESV)
Jesus’ body still has the scars from the crucifixion in his hands and his feet from where the nails held him to the cross. The scar also remains on his side where the Roman soldiers put their sword into him to see if he was really dead.
(5) The normal laws of physics did not seem to apply to Jesus anymore.
On the evening of that day, the first day of the week, the doors being locked where the disciples were for fear of the Jews,[a] Jesus came and stood among them and said to them, “Peace be with you.”When he had said this, he showed them his hands and his side. Then the disciples were glad when they saw the Lord. (John 20:19-20 ESV)
The disciples were behind locked doors, and Jesus appeared to them. He did not need to have the doors opened. He just appeared in the room.
He could also leave just as easily. After he broke the bread with the disciples after their walk to Emmaus, he vanished from their sight after they recognized him.
So they drew near to the village to which they were going. He acted as if he were going farther,but they urged him strongly, saying, “Stay with us, for it is toward evening and the day is now far spent.” So he went in to stay with them. When he was at table with them, he took the bread and blessed and broke it and gave it to them. And their eyes were opened, and they recognized him. And he vanished from their sight. (Luke 24:28-33 ESV)
Check out the stories for yourself. See what else you can learn about Jesus and his life on earth after his resurrection. Share what you have learned in the comments.
Today’s blog post starts off our new series in April focusing on Spring and Renewing your Faith!
A few weeks ago the weather outside was absolutely gorgeous. The sun was shining, birds were singing and I could sit outside in my long sleeve shirt with my face to the sun (sunglasses on of course) and not shiver in cold.
I had about another half hour before my next class, and I decided while sitting on the bench in the sun, that I would spend those 30 minutes in prayer. So there I sat, in the middle of McGill’s MacDonald campus with students going back and forth, praying silently (that’s where the featured photo is from!).
AND IT WAS AMAZING!
My soul, my mind, my spirit, my heart, EVERYTHING, felt refreshed and re-energized. I went to class floating on a cloud and the rest of my day was so peaceful. Not because crazy things didn’t happen or that I wasn’t busy (spend more than 5 minutes with me and you’ll realize how insanely busy my life is), but because I got to spend those 30 minutes talking with my Father, Lord and Savior.
Everyone will tell you that an important part of any relationship, whether it be friendship, romantic, professional or otherwise, is COMMUNICATION. You need to talk with people around you so that you can not only learn to interact efficiently and meaningfully with each other, but so that you can begin to understand each other better as well.
New Year’s is not the only time where you can begin new things in your life. Spring is in the air and the entire world is beginning anew after winter (although let’s face it, our winter this year sucked). Why can you not also start fresh whenever you want?
I encourage you to spend time communicating with your Father. Try to find times where you can pray by yourself. As you talk with Him more, you open yourself up so that His Holy Spirit can fill you and reveal what God is trying to communicate to you.
It doesn’t have to be 30 minutes, start small with 5 or 10 minutes. You can pray during a break, you can pray in your car or on in the bus or in the metro. There is no limit to where and how long you can pray other than what you decide for yourself.
Matthew 7: 7-8 (NIV)
“Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.”
Today’s post as part of our Holy Week series has been written by Mark Latulipe!
Happy Easter! – ALLELUIA! Christ is risen! Christ is risen indeed! ALLELUIA!
Easter Sunday – the day that we remember the incredible and historical event that changed it all. On Good Friday Jesus hung on a cross and carried the weight of all our sin. He paid the cost of that sin, which is death; but it doesn’t end there. After his death on the cross and burial, Jesus rose and came up out of the tomb and was alive again. Not even death could hold Him down. Jesus did all this to accomplish everything that was promised and He did it because he loves more than we can comprehend.
Luke 24: 1-49 – This passage that has been on my mind this Easter season. We read about three encounters that happen after Jesus had risen: the women at the tomb, the two disciples on the road to Emmaus, and the other disciples. The ones I want to talk about are the encounters with the disciples.
First, we have the two disciples who were walking to Emmaus. They were talking about what had happened – Jesus on the cross- and this “guy” comes up to them and asks them “what’s up” (paraphrasing). On any other day this would have been normal question; but on this day it was not. The disciples’ reaction was, “Are you the only one in Jerusalem who does not know the things that have happened there in these days?” (v18)
Given their emotional state, their snappy maybe even snarky remark was understandable. They “explained” to this guy what had happened and he turns around and says to them that they don’t even know what really happened. He explained to them that they were being foolish because despite knowing the scriptures and despite knowing what Jesus had told them before his death, they still believe that Jesus was actually going to come back from death. (Oh snap, they just got told!) So they continued their conversation with this man as they walked, still not recognizing that this man was Jesus. They didn’t realize it until he broke bread with them, just as He did before his death.
Then we have disciples. Fortunately they recognized Jesus or at least that this being, possibly a ghost, looked and sounded like Jesus. Even after all His teachings and all the time they followed Him before His death, it still took convincing from Jesus himself to make them believe. It took seeing the holes in Jesus’ hands and feet for them to know that this was Jesus, alive again.
For me these encounters these people have with Jesus really shows our human nature and a struggle we all face. Despite knowing the scriptures or the story, and despite knowing Jesus, we still need to be reminded of who He is, what He did, and why He did it. We constantly need Jesus to say to us “hey, remember me, remember what I did for you, and remember why I did it.” We need that reminder sometimes daily, but that’s ok. We shouldn’t feel ashamed that we need reminding; those who knew Jesus best on this earth, who actually witnessed his death, still needed a reminder. And that’s what Easter is about; we celebrate and remember Jesus and the incredible things He did for us.
So take time this Easter, before church and before the family dinner, to sit and pray, and ask Jesus to encounter you, so that you can truly be reminded of “who He is, what He did, and why He did it” – Happy Easter!!!
You begin your day, wake up, get dressed, eat breakfast, brush your teeth and head to work. As you’re working a job that you’ve been doing all your life, some stranger you have never seen before tells you to drop whatever you are doing and follow him.
Ummmm… what?! Leave my entire livelihood, my family, my friends, everything?!
That’s exactly right. You leave all of it behind and decide to follow this stranger. But you’re not the only one! There are many people who are also following him with you. However, you and 11 others have been chosen to be in this guys most intimate circle of friends. You’ve become a new family.
You eat together, travel together, and live every second of every day together. And this man that you’ve decided to follow performs the most amazing miracles, teaches things that are considered radical at the time and takes you under his wing to teach you all he knows.
Then, one of your brothers, a member of your new family betrays this man who has given you everything. The heartbreak must have been terrible! You ask yourself, “How could I have not seen it coming?” or “What could I have done to stop it?”
To make things even worse, your teacher, the patriarch of your family has been sentenced to death. He doesn’t perform one of his many miracles and escape, he walks straight to the cross and after suffering for hours, dies.
This man whom you have followed for years, for whom you have up your entirely livelihood and everything you had known… is dead. What do you do next? Where do you go? Yes, he has raised others from the dead before, but now he is the one who is dead. Dead people can’t perform miracles.
And that is where I leave you. Imagine the heartbreak, the disappointment, the utter despair, the disciples must have been feeling on this Holy Saturday as Jesus Christ lay dead in his tomb. You had given up your entire life, everything you have ever known. You have no where to turn to, you can’t go back home, and you don’t know what you’re supposed to do next.
Are we not blessed to know that Jesus Christ did indeed rise again? To understand that his death was not a permanent state of being but a stepping stone to paying for our sins?
Today’s blog post has been written by Laurin Vroom!
Hey there friends!
Today is what we call “Good Friday” also known as “Holy Friday.” It doesn’t seem so good when you think about what we’re celebrating today: The crucifixion of Christ. This is the day we remember what Jesus went through to bring us back into intimate relationship with the Father. Jesus was hit, mocked, spat on, whipped and ultimately hung on a cross next to the lowest of criminals. You can read the story in more detail in Matthew 27:27-55.
There is something good, no great, that came of all this torture and unfair treatment.Christ suffered out of an intense, selfless love, for humanity. He wanted to demonstrate how much He loved His Father, and what complete obedience and unconditional love looked like. He shed His blood, so that it would symbolically cover over our sin, and make us righteous so that we can once again be in an intimate relationship with God- no longer separated by sin. This is an incredible Truth to get our heads around.
I want to challenge you today, to sit somewhere comfortable, by yourself, read the story of the Cross and seriously reflect on what it means, and what Christ’s sacrifice means to you. Think about how hard it would be for you to forgive everyone who spat, hit, beat, whipped and mocked you if you were being killed for a crime you never committed. Think about Jesus’ words, and how super-human Jesus’ forgiveness is.
When Christ ascended to heaven, He later gave the gift of His Holy Spirit, so that this super-human power can live inside of us! This holy power of God, living in us, is what strengthens us in our faith, helps us forgive those who’ve wronged us, helps us love those who hate us, etc. Anything you think is too hard for you, you can look to the Cross, to the One who gave everything for you and you will always find the strength you need.
Her song reminds us that we can remember, connect and experience the love of Christ, when we remember the Cross and what He did for us on Calvary. That even though you and I are like the criminals that hung next to Jesus- sinful, broken, selfish, screw-ups- He still extends His love and grace to us when we look to Him. She sings about laying down her life to live for Christ, just like He laid down His life for us. I’ll leave you with a few of her lyrics, and pray that on this Holy Day, you take the time to remember what a gracious, loving and selfless Savior we live for.
God I give You all I can today
These scattered ashes that are hid away
I lay them all at Your feet
From the corners of my deepest shame
The empty places where I’ve worn Your name
Show me the love I say I believe
O Help me to lay it down
Oh, Lord I’ll lay it down
O let this be where I die
My Lord with thee crucified
Be lifted high as my kingdom fall
Once and for all, once and for all
There is victory in my saviors loss
and In the crimson flowing from the cross
Pour over me, pour over me
O let this be where I die
My Lord with thee crucified
Be lifted high as my kingdom fall
Once and for all, once and for all
As we prepare for Good Friday, we consider the sacrifice of Christ and what his death means for us.
For me, the image of Jesus, hanging on the cross, uttering the words “It is finished” is one of the most powerful images I can imagine. While suffering indescribable torture – not just the physical torture of a horrific execution but also the much worse spiritual torture of bearing the wrath of God against all of our sins – he gasps out these three words.
I think the “it” is the purpose for Jesus being nailed to that cross in the first place. The reason why Jesus became man and came to earth.
Jesus came to earth to die for us. He came to fulfill the Law, to atone for our sins, to reconcile us to God. He completed this task, this gift of unthinkable grace, on the cross.
The Bible speaks about our fall from grace. How we sinned and stopped walking with God, turning away from Him time and time again.
Everything changed the moment he spoke these three words.
Because of Jesus’ gift of his death, because of the blood of our Lord and Saviour, our fall is finished. Our being cast out is finished. Our being condemned to death and damnation is finished.
In a way, we can think of a new testament, a new story, beginning at this point. The “it” that is finished is the story of our fall. The story of our redemption is begun. That story will continue until He comes again in Glory and, speaking from the throne, says “It is done.” (http://biblehub.com/revelation/21-6.htm)
Today Is Palm Sunday, which marks the beginning of Holy Week. We will be posting more frequently as part of a special series to mark this.
If you are not familiar with the events of Palm Sunday, I would suggest that you have a look at Luke 19: 28-44. Otherwise, here are the key facts:
Jesus entered into the Jerusalem riding on a donkey from a mountain road, the apostles were with Him.
As he did this, he was greeted by an extremely large crowd of his followers
The crowd was extremely happy, waving palm branches and placing them on Jesus’s path (hence it being called Palm Sunday) and shouting praises to Him
For context, I think it it is appropriate to think of a victory parade of a sports team. Or, another example that I think is appropriate to the setting is the scene at the airport in Montreal when Didier Drogba arrived at the end of July 2015, a video of which is below. To be clear, I am NOT implying that an athlete or sports team should be viewed or treated as a god- that is idolatry.
So now that we have context, let us examine deeper issues.
First of all, there is the issue of what the crowds were shouting. While not present in the Luke passage, the other gospels state that one of the things that was shouted was “Hosanna”. Many people understand this to be a shout of praise similar to hallelujah, however I have also seen it being described as plea for salvation, which is something that only a Messiah can grant These shouts of praise and the magnitude of the events clearly demonstrates that Jesus had been acknowledged as the one who would be crowned King.
When Jesus saw the city, he wept openly over it and went on to predict the tumult of the time to come, for He knew what was to come.
It is important to understand that the king that the people thought He was going to be was an earthly one, one who would come in, kick the Romans out of Jerusalem, send the Pharisees out into the wilderness, essentially to be the leader of a an earthly, political and military revolution….which as we know is not at all what happened.
As we know, Jesus was crowned King, except his crown was one of thorns and his throne was a cross….but this will be discussed further in other posts this week. What I want to simply highlight is the highs of Palm Sunday go someway towards understanding the context of the week, and in my opinion also makes it easier to understand the fear of the Twelve when the mobs came….THAT was not what they had in mind when they walked down the hill towards the cheering crowd in Jerusalem.
Hello everyone! We are back for another 3 minutes – 3 questions(I feel like I’m hosting a game show!) where we will be wrapping up our Lent blog posts.
If you don’t remember, here’s how it works:
“I’m going to ask three questions. After each question, I challenge you to stop and think about each question for ONE WHOLE MINUTEand ONLY ONE MINUTE. After you have gone through all the questions, please feel welcome to revisit each one and take your time doing so. But for the first time only stop for a minute to think.”
Ready? Not yet! Before reading the questions, take some extra time to pray.