Let God’s Peace Lead You
Luke 24:36 “And as they thus spake, Jesus himself stood in the midst of them, and saith unto them, Peace be unto you.”
Just as every sport has disputes that must be settled by the officials, the peace of God is the umpire that settles all disputes as to what the will of God is for our lives. We must learn to listen to and heed the peace of God in our hearts.
God’s peace is something that every born-again believer has. It’s a fruit of the Spirit. That peace is always umpiring; we just don’t always pay attention. How many times have you acted contrary to the peace in your heart and afterwards, you experience disaster? You say, “I never did feel good about that.” That was the peace of God umpiring, but we chose to play by our own rules.
There are some things we can do to facilitate the peace of God umpiring in our hearts. First, consider ALL the options. Many wrong decisions have been made because not all the options were considered. Don’t let fear rule out God’s possibilities. Next, use your imagination to explore what will happen with each choice. You should be able to discern a greater peace as you consider the option the Lord would have you take. That is not to say that there will be total peace with any of the choices. In your spirit there will be total peace over the right choice, but we aren’t always totally in the Spirit and it is not unusual for some turmoil to exist. Just as an umpire has to make a call, be bold enough to follow the direction that gives you the most peace.
The rudder on a ship can’t go any direction until the ship is moving. The ship doesn’t have to be going full steam ahead for the rudder to work, but it does have to be moving. Likewise, we have to act before the peace of God will give us perfect direction. Even if you make a mistake, you will have made it in faith, trying to follow the peace of God in your heart. The Lord can bless a wrong decision made in faith from a pure heart, more than He can bless indecision, Romans 14:23.
The Father’s Plan
Luke 24:21 “But we trusted that it had been he which should have redeemed Israel: and beside all this, to day is the third day since these things were done.”
When the right time came, God sent forth His Son from Heaven in His pre-existent state, into the world. He was born of a woman (virgin birth) and was made subject to the requirements of the law. Jesus was sent at a specific time. The entrance of Jesus into the physical realm was not a random thing occurring at a haphazard time. There were developments that had to take place before Christ could come to earth and redeem man. The Father sent His Son to the earth at the earliest possible time. Anytime prior to the time Jesus was born of the virgin Mary, would have been premature.
His purpose for coming into the world was twofold. First, He came to “redeem them that were under the law.” He did this by perfectly keeping the law, fulfilling it, and paying its curse, Matthew 5:17; Galatians 3:13. Thus, Christ delivered us from the entire system of the law. The Greek word for redeem means “to buy OUT OF the slave market.”
Secondly, Christ gave us the status of sonship with all its privileges. Not only were we redeemed from the bondage of the law, but we were redeemed unto sonship. Many people stop short, only realizing what they were delivered from, not what they inherit. Sure, we need to rejoice that we are redeemed, but we also need to move on, and realize the full benefits of our inheritance.
God created us for Himself but we sold ourselves into slavery to the devil. God bought us back through the precious blood of Jesus Christ. No amount of effort, human works, or man’s own righteousness could bring the divine favor that we needed. It was the actual life of God, Leviticus 17:11, that purchased our redemption.
The Veil Is Torn
Luke 23:45 “And the sun was darkened, and the veil of the temple was rent in the midst.”
The veil spoken of here reached from the ceiling to the floor, from wall to wall, and separated the Holy of Holies from the holy place in the temple. Solomon’s temple was 30 cubits high, 1 Kings 6:2, but Herod increased the height to 40 cubits according to the writings of Josephus, a first century historian. Therefore, depending on what standard you use to convert cubits to feet (there is uncertainty as to exactly what a cubit equaled in our feet and inches), this veil was somewhere between 60 feet and 90 feet high.
It is significant that this veil was rent from top to bottom, Matthew 27:51; Mark 15:38. No man could have torn the veil in this fashion. It was definitely God that rent the veil. The time when this veil was rent corresponds exactly with the moment Jesus died.
Hebrews 9:1-9 tells us that the veil separated the Holy of Holies, where God dwelt, from the rest of the temple, where men dwelt. This signified that man was separated from God by sin, Isaiah 59:1-2. Only the high priest was permitted to pass beyond this veil, and only once each year, Exodus 30:10; Hebrews 9:7. This symbolized the Christ who would enter into God’s presence for us and make an atonement.
The moment that Christ died, the veil was torn in two, revealing that the sacrifice had been made and that there is no longer any separation between God and man. Jesus tore the veil, that is to say His flesh, Hebrews 10:20, in two and opened up a new way unto God through Himself.
Jesus Freed Us From Sin
Luke 23:18 “And they cried out all at once, saying, Away with this man, and release unto us Barabbas:”
Death Has Lost Its Power
Matthew 27:52 “And the graves were opened; and many bodies of the saints which slept arose,”
This is an amazing event that only Matthew records. This earthquake apparently rolled the stones away from many of the graves in the vicinity of Jerusalem, and some of the saints buried there arose from the dead. Even at the death of Jesus, such power was released that death lost its grip on its captives.
It is uncertain whether these resurrected saints died again or were caught up to God. If they were resurrected at Christ’s death, then they would have had to die again, just as Lazarus or Jairus’ daughter or the widow’s son at Nain or anyone else that Jesus raised from the dead during His ministry. This is because Jesus was, “the firstfruits of them that slept”, Acts 26:23; 1 Corinthians 15:20. Jesus was not the first person physically raised from the dead, but He was the first person begotten from the dead to never die again.
If these people were not actually resurrected until after Jesus’ resurrection, when Matthew states they came out of their graves, then they could have been resurrected with their glorified bodies to never die again.
At any rate, these saints went into Jerusalem after Jesus was resurrected and they appeared to many people. We can only guess what effect this must have had on the people.
The resurrection of Jesus puts Christianity in a class all by itself. Many people have come and gone professing some revelation from God or new way of approaching God. But only Jesus has conquered death. This makes Him unique and elevates Him above the level of any other man who has ever walked on the earth. The resurrection of Jesus is the ultimate proof of the accuracy of His doctrine
Religious Pride Brings Dissention
Mark 15:10 “For he knew that the chief priests had delivered him for envy.”
The Jews were God’s chosen people and therefore, God’s representatives on earth. Yet, they lied and condemned an innocent man to death. Pilate could see that their real motivation for wanting Jesus dead was envy. They were doing all their religious works to be seen of men, and were upset that Jesus was getting more recognition than they were. If these Jews would have thought about what type of witness they were giving, even they would have known that their actions were not inspired by God.
We should remember that we are God’s witnesses on earth, or as Paul said, “We are epistles… known and read of all men”, 2 Corinthians 3:2. Judging our actions in the light of, “What kind of witness will this give to others?” will help us discern whether or not we are being led of God.
The chief priests had deceived themselves and other religious people into believing that they were condemning Jesus for godly reasons, but even an ungodly ruler like Pilate could see through their lies. Religious bondage blinds people to the truth even more than sin does.
These rulers wanted to retain their power and authority, so they fought against the power and authority of Jesus. This is still the same today. Men use doctrinal issues to disguise the real issue. The truth is that, “Only by pride cometh contention”, Proverbs 13:10. People who love to have the preeminence, 3 John 9, are usually the instigators of persecution.
Pilate Violates The Truth
Matthew 27:17 “Therefore when they were gathered together, Pilate said unto them, ‘Whom will ye that I release unto you? Barabbas, or Jesus which is called Christ'”?
Although Pilate knew that Jesus was innocent, he looked for some diplomatic way to release Jesus that would not cause him to lose popularity with the Jewish leaders. This is why he sent Jesus to Herod. He hoped that Herod would pass judgment on Jesus and save him the trouble.
When that scheme failed, Pilate drew on an old custom of releasing a prisoner to the people at the feast. He gave them a choice between Jesus, who he knew was innocent, and Barabbas, who was a murderer. Pilate thought that the crowd would certainly choose Jesus. However, through the insistence of the chief priests and scribes, the people chose Barabbas to be released.
Pilate was now out of ideas as to how to let Jesus go, and still save face with the Jews, so he condemned Jesus to death. Pilate violated what he knew to be true in his heart because of a fear of men, Prov. 29:25, and what he thought they might do to him. Without the chief priests’ cooperation, he ran the risk of unrest among the Jews, and possible punishment by Caesar for failing to govern well.
As it turned out, Pilate was deposed anyway, just a few years later by Tiberius Caesar, and died in exile in Gaul in A.D. 41. At the most, Pilate gained a five-year extension of his troubled rule, and damned his soul in the process. What a person compromises to keep, he’ll lose. Sin is never worth the price.
Jesus – The Name Above Names
Luke 23:9 “Then he questioned with him in many words; but he answered him nothing.”
Not only does Jesus’ refusal to defend Himself show His humility, but His refraining from venting His wrath against the man who senselessly killed His friend who was the greatest of the Old Testament prophets, Matthew 11:11, also displays His humble nature.
Because of Christ’s humility and obedience to the Father, God gave Him a name that is above every name in heaven, earth and under the earth. There is no exemption for anyone or anything from coming under the Lordship of Jesus. He is Lord of ALL.
Jesus has not only been exalted above every “being” that has a name, but He is also highly exalted above anything else that can be named. If you can put a name on it, Jesus is above it. Sickness, poverty, depression, anger – everything has to bow its knee to the Lordship of Jesus.
Every knee of men, angels, and demons will bow and confess that Jesus is Lord. Those who have denied His existence will bow in worship. Those who have spent their lives rebelling His authority will finally bow in submission.
Every being from all ages will ultimately bow and worship Jesus. If we bow our knee to His Lordship now, we will enjoy a wonderful life here on earth, and an eternity in His blessings hereafter. Those who deny His rightful claim to the Lordship of their lives will suffer for it in this life as well as in the next. They still will have to bow their knee to His authority, so there is nothing to gain and everything to lose if they refuse to make Jesus Lord of their life.