Sunday, April 5, 2015

When All Else Fails …


It’s not what just happened that will determine the outcome … but rather what is about to happen! All that God has ever wanted was for us to trust Him and trust His Word …

But the disciples had trusted Him and His Living Word, Jesus. They had watched Jesus feed the 5000 with only a few fish and loaves; heal the paralytic with just the power of His words; raise the dead to life again; calm the raging seas; turn water into wine; cast out devils and even walk on water. These men believed that Jesus of Nazareth was the Savior who had been sent from God to deliver them from sin, sickness, poverty and defeat. They believed Jesus was the Messiah foretold by prophets in the Holy Scriptures. They had trusted Him and had left all to follow Him.
·        Matthew had left his government job as a tax collector
·        James and John left their father’s fishing business
·        Peter and Andrew had also left their professions as fishermen
·        Others immediately walked away from homes, families and occupations when called to be a disciple of Jesus.

Now … all seemed lost. These men had witnessed the arrest of their supposed savior only a few nights before. They followed at a distance to see the Roman guards, assisted by one from their own company, Judas Iscariot, deliver Jesus to Pilate. There He was falsely accused by the religious leaders and beaten, mocked and ordered to be scourged by the soldiers before He was finally condemned to die on a Roman cross.

The close followers of Jesus no longer followed so close. Afraid that they might also be arrested, beaten and sentenced to die, they remained in the background and did not speak up for Jesus or attempt anything to help relieve His sufferings. The next morning, when Jesus could no longer physically bear up under the weight of the load, He fell and a stranger from another country was compelled to carry the cross to Calvary.

At about 9am Jesus was laid on His back on the ground with His arms spread wide, His shoulders resting on the wooden cross beam. There on Mount Moriah, the same mountain where 2000 years earlier Abraham had taken his son Isaac to offer him upon an altar of sacrifice.  At the high point of a hill on that mountain, less than 200 steps outside the city of Jerusalem there was a place well known to all. It sat by the side of the two main roads and was the place of public executions. It was marked by a rock formation which looked like a skull, thus it was called Golgotha. There Jesus lay in agony and pain as the Roman soldiers nailed His hands to that wooden cross beam. He was ridiculed and spat upon by His accusers.

With a rope tied to the cross beam it was hoisted up and set into its secure place on a wooden upright post. Then the soldiers crossed His legs and held His feet together, one on top of the other while they drove another nail through both and into the wood of this cruelly fashioned cross.

About noon the sun grew dark for the space of three hours. During this time Jesus looked across the ages and took upon Himself the sins of every person who would ever live, Jew and Gentile, bond and free, the simple and the wise, the rich and the poor, the loving and the hateful, the sinner and the saint, and there on the cross of Calvary Jesus willingly paid their debt for all eternity.  On either side of Jesus there two other men, thieves, who had also been condemned to die and were crucified there that day. One of the thieves believed and accepted Jesus as Messiah and was forgiven of His sins while sadly the other did not.

At about 3pm Jesus cried with a loud voice declaring, “It is finished!”, and He died. Later, just before sundown and the beginning of the Jewish Sabbath, two secret disciples of Jesus, Joseph and Nicodemus, both prominent leaders from the Jewish community, took the Body of Jesus and quickly prepared it for burial and laid Him in a new tomb freshly hewn from the rock in which no man had ever been buried, it was in a garden that adjoined Golgotha. A very large stone was rolled to seal the door as the last Passover was being observed.

In all of this the disciples who had followed Jesus were nowhere to be found. They had retreated in fear and confusion to a room closed off from the public … they were both in hiding and in mourning.
·        What had become of their dreams …
·        What had happened to their Savior …
·        What would become of them?

They had trusted Him and now they felt lost … what had happened?

It’s not what just happened that will determine the outcome … but rather what is about to happen!

Luke 24  NKJV
1 ¶  Now on the first day of the week, very early in the morning, they, and certain other women with them, came to the tomb bringing the spices which they had prepared.
2  But they found the stone rolled away from the tomb.
3  Then they went in and did not find the body of the Lord Jesus.
4  And it happened, as they were greatly perplexed about this, that behold, two men stood by them in shining garments.
5  Then, as they were afraid and bowed their faces to the earth, they said to them, "Why do you seek the living among the dead?
6  "He is not here, but is risen! Remember how He spoke to you when He was still in Galilee,
7  "saying, ’The Son of Man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men, and be crucified, and the third day rise again.’"
8  And they remembered His words.
9  Then they returned from the tomb and told all these things to the eleven and to all the rest.
10  It was Mary Magdalene, Joanna, Mary the mother of James, and the other women with them, who told these things to the apostles.
11  And their words seemed to them like idle tales, and they did not believe them.

They remembered the words Jesus had spoken to them in the Galilee, in those good ole days when He walked on water and healed the sick …

When all else fails, Jesus never will – we need to remember His words!

Sometimes it gets worse before it gets better – but for the believer who puts their trust in Jesus and His Word … it will always get better.

In this world we will have tribulation … but we can be of good cheer … Jesus has overcome the world.

When all else fails and our dreams have been shattered and we don’t know what will become of us … We must remember the words He spoke to us in the good times … these are not idle tales … they are the words of Almighty God! We must trust Him! You see, “It’s not what has happened to you but rather what can happen to you when you trust in God’s Living Word.” Trusting God begins when we accept Jesus as the Risen Messiah, victorious over sin, death, hell and the grave.

Luke 24
36  Now as they said these things, Jesus Himself stood in the midst of them, and said to them, "Peace to you."
44  Then He said to them, "These are the words which I spoke to you while I was still with you, that all things must be fulfilled which were written in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms concerning Me."
45  And He opened their understanding, that they might comprehend the Scriptures.
46  Then He said to them, "Thus it is written, and thus it was necessary for the Christ to suffer and to rise from the dead the third day,
47  "and that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in His name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem.
48  "And you are witnesses of these things.

2000 years ago Jesus the Christ was born of a Virgin in the town of Bethlehem. He lived a sinless life and died an atoning death. On the third day He rose again victorious over sin, death, hell and the grave. For 40 days after His resurrection He appeared to more than 500 people and then He ascended to our Heavenly Father. Today Jesus, the Son of God and Savior of the world sits at the right hand of God making intercession for us while awaiting that faithful day when the last trumpet shall sound and the dead who have believed in and accepted Him will be raised as was He and we who are alive will be changed in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, and be joined with Him in the air and there shall we ever be with the Lord.

It’s not what has happened to you but what can happen to you that matters most. Have you believed and received Jesus as Lord and Savior? He is risen indeed! Will you trust Him today?