Calvary Missionary Baptist Church
Rev. Stephen P. Samuel, Senior Pastor/Teacher
Making the Difference in the lives of others

Scripture Lesson from last week: Matthew 26: 36-45
The Passion/Suffering of Jesus

On last week we attempted challenge traditional thinking concerning the suffering of Christ during the days of His Passion. The most important idea to consider about the tragedy of the crucifixion is not How Jesus suffered, but instead Why Jesus suffered. The answer to the question of “Why Jesus had to die on Calvary” could be found in Jesus’ struggle in Gethesemane where He confronted the greatest challenge known to humanity; Overcoming personal desire and will by voluntarily replacing it with the Will of God.
It was Jesus who desired that the cup of suffering and death would pass from Him, however it was the will of God that the same cup be accepted. The victory of Calvary was rooted in the decision of Jesus to say, “Not my will, but God’s will.” Thus, when Jesus willing accepted the will of God and suffered the horrific death of Calvary He was signifying to the world that God’s will is more important, thereby bringing glory to God. The result is that if glory is given to God, then God will “straightway” glorify us (See John 13:32). The depth of pain suffered on Calvary is in no way comparable to the height of glory found in the resurrection and ascension (See Romans 8:17-18).
Now that we have celebrated the resurrection the question that remains for us to answer is, “How now do we respond to the resurrection?”

Scripture Lesson: John 20:19-23

Take note of the contextual community of this portion of scripture. This occurrence takes place after the resurrection of Jesus and he has been spotted by Mary Magdalene out side the tomb. From the tomb she went and found the disciples hiding in the city of Jerusalem and reported to them that Jesus was alive and that He would meet them in Galilee (According to Mark and Matthew), but John reports that later that same day Jesus met them in the room where they were assembled.
One thing to take notice of in verse 19 is the fear of the disciples. Many have degraded the disciples for their dimwittedness and unbelief, however there is one thing that you cannot hold against them, and that is their fear. No matter how faithful many of us think we are, there is one thing that we all fall victim and prey to, and that is fear. Fear has the ability to jump on us even when we feel we are the most strong. For this reason Paul tells his son Timothy, “For God has not given us the Spirit of Fear...” This text reveals that fear is what hinders a proper response to the resurrection. Whether it be fear of change, fear of growth, fear of enemies, or just the fear of an uncertain future, all these have a way of being a stumbling block on the road to our success and destiny in God. Notice that the angel tells Mary to tell the disciples to meet Jesus in Galilee as He said. Yet, when Mary informs them of the angel’s words and reminds them that Jesus said to meet Him in Galilee, they “for fear of the Jews” remain in Jerusalem.
Therefore, the first thing that must be dealt with is the fear of the disciples. Jesus confronts their fear with the salutation in verse 19 and the confirmation that He was alive in verse 20. Now we see the first sparkle of hope by the disciples and we find now the answer to the question, “How to respond to the resurrection?”

1. We must Recognize who He is: Until there is a genuine recognition of the resurrected savior there can be no response to the resurrection itself. Well then, how do we recognize the resurrected savior? Jesus suggests that recognition comes through belief. Notice His rebuke of the disciples in Mark 16:14, as well as His statement made to Thomas in John 20:29. For the disciples, they needed evidence of the resurrection before they would believe, but Jesus says that blessed are those of us who are able to have faith and believe who He is without the evidence. Once we believe, then evidence is provided through revelation. Remember, revelation is truth that is uncovered by God for us to see. The prime example of this is seen in Matthew 16:13-17. Simply stated, “Faith in Him leads to Recognition of Him.”

2. We must Receive His charge: Notice in verse 21 He again gives them the salutation of “Peace”, but this time He follows it with a charge to “Go”. Paul suggests that it is the Peace of God that will guard our hearts and minds (Philippians 4:7), and this Peace is essential if any of us would dare “Go” for the Lord. Moreover, note the fact that Jesus does not tell them to “Go” with out first making the promise of something to go with. Notice verse 22, where He breathes on them. We recognize that this blowing is a foreshadowing of the mighty wind that would come on Pentecost, as well as the fact that it brings to remembrance the breathe of life given to Adam, but what a powerful confirmation it must have provided for the disciples who were going out to face such an uncertain future. They were not going into the battle alone, but the Comforter would be with them.

3. We must remember our Responsibility to others: Notice verse 23 where Christ gives them the duties of their ministry. This is not to say that we as Christ’s disciples have the power to forgive sin or cause sin to be retained. This is not the discretion of anyone, however what Christ suggests is that we have been given the ministry of reconciliation. We as His disciples have the responsibility to share with everyone the free salvation offered by Christ and to confirm that He is faithful and just to forgive sin. By the same token we also have the responsibility to pull people from the depth of their own sinfulness, just as Christ pulled us, and bring them into a proper understanding to the consequences of sinfulness.

We respond to the Resurrection in three distinct ways:
1. We must RECOGNIZE who Christ is.
2. We must RECEIVE our charge.
3. We must REMEMBER our RESPONSIBILITY to others.

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Amen!

Once we recognize, receive and remember the passion of Jesus the Christ (Life, death & Spiritual Journey) then the new man will appear and the transformation can and will occur. In this process our Spiritual Journey, the resurrection which God call into existence (in our lives) will produce seed of everlasting life; which will draws many to the Kingdom.

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