As we read these accounts, we can feel the same amazement of Christ’s resurrection. Isn’t it interesting that the Lord first appeared to women? Following an earthquake, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary (not His mother) encountered an angel who rolled back the stone. The Roman guards froze and shook from fright at the supernatural sight.
“But the angel answered and said to the women, ‘Do not be afraid, for I know that you seek Jesus who was crucified.He is not here; for He is risen, as He said. Come, see the place where the Lord lay. And go quickly and tell His disciples that He is risen from the dead, and indeed He is going before you into Galilee; there you will see Him. Behold, I have told you’” (Matthew 28:5-7 NKJV).
On their way, the women met Jesus who said, “‘Rejoice!’ So they came and held Him by the feet and worshiped Him. Then Jesus said to them, ‘Do not be afraid. Go and tell My brethren to go to Galilee, and there they will see Me’” (Matthew 28:9b-10 NKJV).
The disciples were astounded at this news. Many found it hard to believe, although Jesus had told them many times that He would live again. Until they saw Him themselves–and Thomas placed his hand on the Lord’s side and examined His nail-scarred hands and feet–then they believed.
Resurrection means to bring back to life. During the ministry of Jesus, He raised a twelve-year-old girl from the dead (Click HERE to read Luke 8:49-56). We also know about Lazarus whom we studied about during Week 12. But, were these resurrections a harbinger of what was to happen in Jerusalem?
Parallels Between the Resurrections of Lazarus and Jesus
Let’s backtrack to when Jesus stood before Lazarus’s tomb and wept. If Jesus knew He was going to resurrect Lazarus, why did He mourn? Was He simply identifying with human pain and sorrow? Or could it have had something to do with The Passion that awaited Him a few days later? He had discussed these future events with His disciples, even though they did not yet fully comprehend.
“‘Behold, we are going up to Jerusalem, and the Son of Man will be betrayed to the chief priests and to the scribes; they will condemn Him to death, and deliver Him to the Gentiles to mock and to scourge and to crucify. And the third day He will rise again’” (Matthew 20:18-19 NKJV).
How has the Lord Jesus set you free and brought you new life with His resurrection power?
This has been a glorious month of celebrating Easter with all its important aspects. From Palm Sunday through Resurrection Sunday, we have rejoiced in God’s perfect plan to make a way back to the Father. What was stolen from Man in the Garden of Eden has been redeemed and reestablished by the obedience of Christ, our perfect and final sacrifice. May we forever praise Him for the free gift of salvation and eternal life. Next week we will return to our study on the Fruit of the Spirit, focusing on peace.
Dear Heavenly Father, thank you for Your resurrection power that also lives in each believer. We praise You for restoring our relationship with You and sealing our salvation through Your Son’s work on the cross. In Jesus’s Name, Amen.
Welcome to “Front Porch” Bible Study Series and Passion Week. We have just recently celebrated Good Friday and Resurrection Sunday. So, let’s study three main aspects of what has just passed in more detail: the six trials of Christ; the seven places Christ shed His blood; and the seven last sayings of Christ on the cross. May you be blessed as we dive deeply into His Word.
“And He, bearing His cross, went out to a place called the Place of a Skull, which is called in Hebrew, Golgotha, where they crucified Him, and two others with Him, one on either side, and Jesus in the center ” (John 19:17-18 NKJV).
After the Last Supper, Jesus and His disciples went to the Garden of Gethsemane. He withdrew about a stone’s throw away where He prayed for strength to endure His coming crucifixion.
“‘Father, if it is Your will, take this cup away from Me; nevertheless not My will, but Yours, be done.’Then an angel appeared to Him from heaven, strengthening Him. And being in agony, He prayed more earnestly. Then His sweat became like great drops of blood falling down to the ground” (Luke 22:42-44 NKJV).
Then Judas entered the garden, leading a crowd of chief priests and elders. “But Jesus said to him,‘ Judas, are you betraying the Son of Man with a kiss?’” (Luke 2:48 NKJV). One of the disciples then took a sword and cut off the ear of the servant of the high priest. Jesus, however, stopped the violence and healed the servant’s ear. Disregarding this compassionate miracle, they arrested Jesus and took Him to the high priest’s house.
Sometime during the second trial, Peter denied Christ, just as Jesus had predicted at the Last Supper. “But Peter said, ‘Man, I do not know what you are saying!’ Immediately, while he was still speaking, the rooster crowed. And the Lord turned and looked at Peter. Then Peter remembered the word of the Lord, how He had said to him, ‘Before the rooster crows, you will deny Me three times’.So Peter went out and wept bitterly” (Luke 22:60-62 NKJV).
At 6:30 am the Jews took Jesus to His first Roman trial to appear before Pilate. “Then Judas, His betrayer, seeing that He had been condemned, was remorseful and brought back the thirty pieces of silver to the chief priests and elders, saying, ‘I have sinned by betraying innocent blood.’ And they said, ‘What is that to us? You see to it!’ Then he threw down the pieces of silver in the temple and departed, and went and hanged himself” (Matthew 27:3-5 NKJV).
Pilate found no guilt in Jesus and sent Him to see Caiaphas, who sent Him back to Pilate. He wanted to punish Jesus and release Him, but the Jews refused anything less than death. Pilate even offered to release a prisoner–Barabbas, a violent murderer–or Jesus.
“The governor answered and said to them, ‘Which of the two do you want me to release to you?’ They said, ‘Barabbas!’ Pilate said to them, ‘What then shall I do with Jesus who is called Christ?’ They all said to him, ‘Let Him be crucified!’ Then the governor said, ‘Why, what evil has He done?’ But they cried out all the more, saying, ‘Let Him be crucified!’ When Pilate saw that he could not prevail at all, but rather that a tumult was rising, he took water and washed his hands before the multitude, saying, ‘I am innocent of the blood of this just Person. You see to it.’ And all the people answered and said, ‘His blood be on us and on our children.’ Then he released Barabbas to them; and when he had scourged Jesus, he delivered Him to be crucified” (Matthew 27:21-26 NKJV).
Let’s first discuss the seven places Christ shed His blood (if you wish to read a medical explanation of how Jesus could be born with pure and sinless blood, click HERE).
The seven places where Jesus shed His blood fulfilled Old Testament Scripture in Leviticus 16. When the Jewish High Priest made atonement for the sins of the people once a year, he sprinkled blood seven times on the mercy seat, seven times in front of the mercy seat, and seven times on the horns of the altar. (Click HERE to read the full account in Leviticus 16:11-19 NKJV.)
The first place Jesus shed His blood happened during His prayer in the Garden of Gethsemane. “And being in agony, He prayed more earnestly. Then His sweat became like great drops of blood falling down to the ground” (Luke 22:44 NKJV). Just as in the Garden of Eden where man lost his state of innocence through Adam’s sin, it was in this garden that Jesus’s blood began the redemption process for all mankind.
The second place occurred when Pilate ordered His scourging, where they flogged the back of Jesus with thirty-nine lashes–just under the legal limit of forty. “Then he released Barabbas to them; and when he had scourged Jesus, he delivered Him to be crucified” (Matthew 27:26 NKJV). This blood paid for all our sicknesses and diseases: “The chastisement for our peace was upon Him, And by His stripes we are healed” (Isaiah 53:5b NKJV).
“Then they spat in His face and beat Him; and others struck Him with the palms of their hands, saying, ‘Prophesy to us, Christ! Who is the one who struck You?’ (Matthew 26:67-68 NKJV). These bruises he bore under His skin marked the third place He bled for us. This blood was shed for our inherited weaknesses or iniquities, as Isaiah states. “But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities” (Isaiah 53:5a NKJV).
The crown of long thorns the soldiers wove and pushed onto Jesus’s head was the fourth place He shed His holy blood. This blood gives us the mind of Christ, freeing our thoughts from the control of the enemy. (Click HERE to read this account in Matthew 27:27-31 NKJV.)
When the centurion drove the nails into Jesus’s hands and feet, these were the fifth and sixth places Christ bled for us. His blood-stained hands freed us to receive all that God has for us and to lift our hands in holy prayer (Click HERE to read 1 Timothy 2:8 NKJV). His blood-stained feet gave us back dominion on the earth that we lost through Adam’s sin. Through His blood, we can claim righteousness and power over Satan wherever our feet touch the ground (Click HERE to read Luke 10:19 NKJV).
After Jesus had surrendered His spirit into God’s hands, the centurion speared His side. The blood and water that came out of His side was the seventh place He shed His blood for us (Click HERE to read John 19:31-37 NKJV). The release of blood and water proved medically that Jesus’s heart had burst, making this blood the provision for the healing of our broken hearts.
Even while Christ suffered His agonizing crucifixion, He forgave His persecutors for what they had done. Contrary to some beliefs, the Jews didn’t kill Jesus. Jesus willingly lay down His life to fulfill Scripture and complete God’s perfect plan of redemption. “‘Therefore My Father loves Me, because I lay down My life that I may take it again. No one takes it from Me, but I lay it down of Myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again. This command I have received from My Father’” (John 10:17-18 NKJV).
The two thieves crucified on either side of Jesus represent a choice of two reactions to our Savior. The one hurled insults at Him, commanding that He prove His deity by rescuing all three of them from their fate of death. The other one rebuked that thief, claiming that they, not Christ, were deserving of death. One repented; the other refused (Click HERE to read Luke 23:39-43 NKJV).
Jesus had no written will, but He verbally expressed His wishes to His most loved disciple, John, to care for His beloved mother, Mary. From that day forward, John took her into his house to live out the rest of her life.
For the first time, Jesus addressed His Father as God. It was an agonizing cry of separation. As Jesus became sin for us, the Father had to turn His back to His Son at that moment. As a just and holy God, He cannot look upon sin. Jesus had to die all alone as the perfect sacrifice, the perfect Lamb of God.
Christ’s statement fulfilled Scripture of two prophecies in the Old Testament (NKJV): Psalm 22:15, “My tongue clings to My jaws,” and Psalm 69:21, “For my thirst they gave Me vinegar to drink.” This was the first and only time Jesus gave voice to His physical suffering. (For a comprehensive sermon about “I thirst” from Keep Believing Ministries, click HERE.)
The sinless Lamb of God shed His holy blood and died as the price paid in full, the final sacrifice for the sins of mankind–past, present, and future. His mission on earth to redeem us from death, hell, and the grave was now complete, and Scripture fulfilled. The curtain in the temple tore in two from top to bottom, signifying that we now have access through Christ to the Holy of Holies, the throne room of God. (Click HERE to read Matthew 27:51-54 NKJV).
My personal opinion: As the propitiation for our sins, Jesus descended into Hades after His death to serve in our place. His purpose was to take the keys of death, hell, and the grave away from Satan. “‘I am He who lives, and was dead, and behold, I am alive forevermore. Amen. And I have the keys of Hades and of Death’” (Revelation 1:18 NKJV).
His mission was also to preach to the captives held in Sheol (the side holding the damned). Why? Because God is fair and just. Every person must have the opportunity to hear the gospel of the cross and choose between Jesus or Satan, heaven or hell–especially those who had lived before Christ had died for their sins.
Jesus also freed the captives in Paradise (the side holding believers saved by faith) and sent them to heaven. Even the repentant thief on the cross was there. “And Jesus said to him, ‘Assuredly, I say to you, today you will be with Me in Paradise’” (Luke 23:43 NKJV).
Jesus paid the price for our sins in full, suffering death from Friday afternoon until God resurrected Him back to life before dawn on Sunday morning. In order for man to be totally redeemed, Christ had to suffer, die on the cross, and descend into hell. Jesus willingly came to earth to pay the price in full. We had a debt we couldn’t pay; He paid a debt He didn’t owe.
“For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life” (John 3:16 NKJV).
Are you hungry for more? The accounts in the Old Testament Scriptures foretell many of the details of Christ’s passion. (Click HERE to read Psalm 22:1-18 and HERE for Isaiah 53 NKJV.)
Dear Lord, thank you for loving us so much that you willingly died for our sins. We are forever grateful that You took our place, taking our just punishment upon Yourself. May we always rejoice in our free gift of salvation and share the good news of the gospel with everyone we meet. For You are worthy of all praise, honor, and glory forever. In Jesus’s Name, Amen.
Welcome to Passion Week. We will begin with the Last Supper where Jesus and His disciples celebrated Passover in the upper room. He established the New Covenant of grace and gave a new meaning to the Passover Seder. As Christians, we observe communion to remember the death of our Lord. But the story doesn’t end there–Resurrection Day follows His crucifixion three days later. Hallelujah! Christ is alive forevermore and we, the Redeemed, will spend eternity in His presence.
“And He took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to them, saying, ‘This is My body which is given for you; do this in remembrance of Me.’ Likewise He also took the cup after supper, saying, ‘This cup is the new covenant in My blood, which is shed for you’” (Luke 22:19-20 NKJV).
Have you ever sent children off to college or perhaps their wedding day? Think back to that last meal together as a family. As parents, you remind them of everything you taught them in preparation for this pivotal life change. You make predictions, explaining what they can expect as they enter this new phase of life, as well as warnings about coming pitfalls. Speaking into their spirits, you declare your love, support, and that you’ll always be only a phone call away. You pray over them, committing them into the Father’s loving arms. You reassure them that even though they may not understand everything you’re saying now, they will remember and fully understand later. After blessing them, you kiss them, and then let them fly away.
The book of John tells us the details of what the Lord proclaimed to His disciples during their last supper. In Chapter 13, Jesus began by washing His disciples’ feet before the meal, demonstrating complete humility and exemplifying servanthood. (Click HERE for our previous lesson about foot-washing.)
Knowing all things that were about to happen, the Lord encouraged His disciples before His departure. (To read, click on each verse in parentheses. All are taken from the NKJV.)
He manifests Himself to anyone who loves Him and keeps His commandments by giving them His peace, which is unlike the world’s (John 14:23-27). He is the vine, we are the branches. By bearing much fruit, we prove to be His disciples (John 15:5-8). Love one another (John 13:34-35).
He will prepare a place for them and come back to receive them. He is the Way, the Truth, and the Life. (John 14:1-6).
He won’t leave them alone but will send them another Helper—the Holy Spirit (John 14:15-16).
Do you celebrate with a Seder or Passover meal at your church or synagogue? If not, the details of what people eat during Pesach (Passover) and their significance are a fascinating study. Click HERE to read a detailed Messianic Jewish perspective of its history and present-day practices.
Dear Father, we humbly thank you for fulfilling the Law by establishing the New Covenant of grace. As we eat the bread and drink the cup, may we always remember Your death until You return. We look forward to the day when we will take communion with You in heaven. In Jesus’s Name we pray, Amen.
Welcome to the “Front Porch” Bible Study Series. This week we’ll prepare for Palm Sunday by studying the significance of waving palm branches to the Lord. Now I’ll always have a richer understanding of this Palm Sunday celebration of thanksgiving. Come along as I share this nugget from God’s treasure chest with you.
Click HERE to read today’s Scripture. For comparative Scriptures, click HERE to read Mark 11:1-10.
“The next day a great multitude that had come to the feast, when they heard that Jesus was coming to Jerusalem,took branches of palm trees and went out to meet Him, and cried out: ‘Hosanna! “Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord!” The King of Israel!’” (John 12:12-13 NKJV)
As Jesus and His disciples approached Jerusalem, He sent two of them ahead to find and untie a colt on which no one had sat. The Lord instructed them to answer anyone who questioned their actions by saying that the Lord had need of it, so they would allow it. As the disciples obeyed, it happened exactly as Jesus had said. They spread their cloaks over the animal’s back where Jesus then sat and led him down the hill into Jerusalem.
When the multitudes who had come to the feast heard that Jesus was arriving, they ran to meet Him. They laid their cloaks on the ground and cut down leafy branches as a “red carpet” for Jesus’s entrance into the city. The excited crowds consisted of those from Bethany who had witnessed Lazarus’s resurrection from the dead and those in Jerusalem who had heard about this great sign. They congregated joyfully around Him, waving palm branches and chanting Scripture taken from Psalm 118:25-26: “Hosanna! ‘Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord!’ The King of Israel!” (John 12:13 NKJV).
The Jews intended to cast off Caesar and his Roman rule and crown Jesus as their king. This uproar, however, distressed the Pharisees because they were losing the fight to suppress His popularity. Caiaphas expressed fear over what would happen to them politically, realizing they had to side with Rome against Jesus in order to save themselves.
What is the significance of people waving palm branches? We can trace this practice in both the Old and New Testaments.
“‘Rejoice greatly, O
daughter of Zion!
Shout, O daughter of Jerusalem!
Behold, your King is coming to you;
He is just and having
Lowly and riding on a donkey,
A colt, the foal of a donkey’” (NKJV).