The Passion of Christ

Nisan 14 – the Passover lamb is Sacrificed

It was the custom since Moses gave the law and the statutes that 3 in the afternoon is the time of the day that the Jewish Priests sacrificed the Passover lamb. It’s no coincidence that this is the time that Jesus – Yeshua said “it is finished” and died on the cross. Nisan 14 is preparation day for the High Sabbath which is the 1st day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread, commemorating the time of the Exodus of the Israelites from Egypt.

John 19:28-30 After this, when Yeshua knew that all things were now completed, to fulfill the Scripture He said, “I am thirsty.” 29 A jar full of sour wine was sitting there, so they put a sponge soaked with the sour wine on a hyssop branch and brought it to His mouth. 30 When Yeshua tasted the sour wine, He said, “It is finished!” And He bowed His head and gave up His spirit.

All four of the Gospels in the New Testament give an account of the time from the arrest to the crucifixion of our Lord and Savior Jesus Messiah – Yeshua Hamashiach: Matthew 26:36—27:56, Mark 14:32—15:41, Luke 22:39 – 23:49, and John 18:1—19:37.

I’ll be taking scriptures from all 4 Gospels to paint a picture of what happened, but equally important is why…

The passion of the Christ was prophesied by Isaiah in the Old Testament:

Isaiah 53:4—12 Surely He has borne our griefs and carried our pains. Yet we esteemed Him stricken, struck by God, and afflicted.But He was pierced because of our transgressions, crushed because of our iniquities. The chastisement for our shalom was upon Him, and by His stripes we are healed.We all like sheep have gone astray.Each of us turned to his own way. So Adonai has laid on Him the iniquity of us all.He was oppressed and He was afflicted yet He did not open His mouth. Like a lamb led to the slaughter, like a sheep before its shearers is silent, so He did not open His mouth.Because of oppression and judgment He was taken away. As for His generation, who considered? For He was cut off from the land of the living, for the transgression of my people—the stroke was theirsHis grave was given with the wicked, and by a rich man in His death, though He had done no violence, nor was there any deceit in His mouth.10 Yet it pleased Adonai to bruise Him. He caused Him to suffer. If He makes His soul a guilt offering, He will see His offspring, He will prolong His days, and the will of Adonai will succeed by His hand. 11 As a result of the anguish of His soul He will see it and be satisfied by His knowledge. The Righteous One, My Servant will make many righteous and He will bear their iniquities.12 Therefore I will give Him a portion with the great, and He will divide the spoil with the mighty—because He poured out His soul to death, and was counted with transgressors.For He bore the sin of many, and interceded for the transgressors.

Here’s the WHY:

Isaiah 53:5 But He was pierced because of our transgressions, crushed because of our iniquities. The chastisement for our shalom (peace) was upon Him, and by His stripes we are healed.

John 3:16 For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life.

Scriptures from the TLV – Tree of Life Version (TLV is a new Bible translation produced by Messianic Jewish and Christian Scholars.) I have just recently become acquainted with the Tree of Life Version, so far what I appreciate the most is that is that Jesus is called by His Hebrew name Yeshua.

Here’s what Happened:

John 3:19-20 “Now this is the judgment, that the light has come into the world and men loved the darkness instead of the light, because their deeds were evil. 20 For everyone who does evil hates the light and does not come to the light, so that their deeds will not be exposed.

Matthew 27:45 Now from the sixth hour, darkness fell upon all the land until the ninth hour.

Mark 15:33 When the sixth hour had come, darkness fell over the whole land until the ninth hour.

Luke 23:44-45 It was now about the sixth hour, and darkness fell over the whole land until the ninth hour, 45 for the sun died out.

I marvel at the miracle of darkness that covered the land (earth). It became dark at noon and it wasn’t an eclipse (The darkness cannot have been a solar eclipse, because the full Passover moon is always on the wrong side of the earth for that to be possible). After solemn thought, I recognized that there can only be one reason for the darkness. Jesus – Yeshua is the Light of the world and when He became sin for us and He bore the weight of the sin of the entire world as he hung on the cross, His light was momentarily gone as he was clothed in our dark hideousness called sin. Throughout the Bible, we are told that Sin is darkness and the only light in this world is found in Christ.

Doesn’t it chill you to think of what this world will be without the Light of Christ?

1 John 1:5 Now this is the message we have heard from Him and announce to you – that God is light and in Him there is no darkness at all.

He endured the wrath of God:

2 Corinthians 5:21 He made the One who knew no sin to become a sin offering on our behalf, so that in Him we might become the righteousness of God.

Because of our sin, the Father couldn’t even look upon His own Son! However, thankfully for us, Jesus’s death on the cross satisfied the wrath of God. He swathed Himself in our sin and paid the price in full! When we believe that He’s the Son of God, we are covered in His blood – His righteousness and Heavenly Father can’t see our sin! In order to continue in His light, we must all repent (turn away from) our sin and trust in the blood of Christ. In Christ we can truly see the light and there is NO darkness anymore…that is unless we seek it out!

Matthew 27:46 And about the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice, saying, Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani? that is to say, My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?

Doesn’t the pain of Jesus’ anguish when He cried out “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” cause you to fall to your knees and beg forgiveness? Doesn’t it make you want to Live for Jesus – Yeshua because HE died for you?

Before the trial and His crucifixion:

Luke 22:44 And in His anguish, He was praying fervently; and His sweat was like drops of blood falling down on the ground.

Matthew 26:39 Going a little farther, He fell face down and prayed, saying, “My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from Me! Yet not as I will, but as You will.”

In the beginning Jesus – Yeshua and the Father, who are one, agreed on this plan, because They are “ALL KNOWING”, and They new that man would be tempted and therefore fall away. Jesus – Yeshua had walked this earth as a human and he fully understood what lie before Him! It wasn’t that His pleas fell on deaf ears, it was that once God says this is how it’s going to be, he doesn’t change his mind.

Isaiah 40:8 The grass withers, the flower fades.
But the word of our God stands forever.”

Malachi 3:6 “For I am Adonai. I do not change, So you, children of Jacob, are not consumed.

John 1:1-5 In the beginning was the Word. The Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. All things were made through Him, and apart from Him nothing was made that has come into being. In Him was life, and the life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overpowered it.

Hebrews 13:8 Yeshua the Messiah is the same yesterday, today, and forever.

The new man who lives for Yeshua:

Romans 6:6-8 knowing our old man was crucified with Him so that the sinful body might be done away with, so we no longer serve sin. For he who has died is set free from sin.Now if we have died with Messiah, we believe that we shall also live with Him.

Romans 12:1–2 I urge you therefore, brothers and sisters, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice—holy, acceptable to God—which is your spiritual service. Do not be conformed to this world but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may discern what is the will of God—what is good and acceptable and perfect.

Galatians 2:20 and it is no longer I who live, but Messiah lives in me. And the life I now live in the body, I live by trusting in Ben-Elohim—who loved me and gave Himself up for me.

Ephesians 4:24 and put on the new self—created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.

Jesus – Yeshua’s Last Passover or “Last Supper”

***All Jewish days go from Sunset to Sunset… this makes it difficult for those of us who are orientated to the Gregorian calendar and not the the Judean Calendar. I will try to help you understand…

Nisan 13 (March 26th) started at sunset on March 25th until sunset of the 26th.

Last evening just after sunset, my husband and I ate the a commemorative “Last Supper” of Jesus and his disciples. We ate fish, romaine lettuce with bitter dressing, dill pickle, olives and leavened bread and wine. (we believe that leaven bread was eaten at this meal because ALL leavening must be removed from the house (premises) before the feast of Unleavened bread starts on the 15th of Nisan. We’ve been told all of our lives: “to waste not is to want not” (not scriptural).

Nisan 14 (March 27th) started at sunset on March 26th until sunset of the 27th.

Today, my husband and I are reading scriptures and remembering the period of time that is referred to today as the Passion of Christ. The time before his crucifixion and the day of his crucifixion. As I write this (PST), we are well into the 3 hours of darkness that started at the 6th hour and waiting for the 9th hour when Jesus – Yeshua gave up the ghost.

I’ve been wanting to share this with the readers of this blog for quite some time. I’m not going to tell you that it has anything to do with Salvation as I honestly don’t know…although I’m going to tell you that it has everything to do with truth. We can’t understand the times when Jesus – Yeshua walked on this earth if we don’t understand and recognize the customs that were practiced during His time. Once we recognize the correct timing, it also changes the time of His resurrection from our traditional custom of “Easter”.

ALL Scriptures taken from the TLV – Tree of Life Version (TLV is a new Bible translation produced by Messianic Jewish and Christian Scholars.)

The Passover is to be celebrated at the close of Nisan 14th, which is in March or April ( Ex. 12:128 & Lev. 23:47) .

All throughout the Bible we find Passover being celebrated, including by Yeshua and His disciples. Upon reading about Yeshua’s last Passover, it seems as if Matthew 26:17 , Mark 14:12 , and Luke 22:78 are saying that the Last Supper was a Passover Seder, eaten at the end of Nisan 14th.

But John 13:12 & 18:28 indicates that the Last Supper was not the Seder because it was eaten a night earlier, at the beginning of Nisan 14th. To find the answer we need to look closely at the Gospels and a Galilean Jewish tradition.

The Gospels and Yeshua’s last Passover

Matthew 26:35 and Mark 14:2 both state that the leaders who conspired to have Yeshua put to death did not want His death to occur “ during the feast , lest there be an uproar among the people”.

Luke 22:15-16
“(15) And He said to them, “I have eagerly desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer. (16) For I tell you, I will never eat it again until it is fulfilled in the kingdom of God.” TLV

After the last lamb was sacrificed on the evening of 14th (before the Seder) the High Priest would say “ it is finished . ”

John 19:30 “When Yeshua tasted the sour wine, He said, “ It is finished !” And He bowed His head and gave up His spirit.” TLV

The Galilean Jewish Tradition for Passover

The Mishnah records that Galilean Jews had a different tradition than the Judean Jews for celebrating Passover. This Galilean tradition is very important for understanding the Gospels telling of Yeshua’s “Last Supper” with His disciples. For the Galilean Jews, Nisan 13th was preparation day for Passover, not the Nisan 14th. All preparation for the Feast was finished by the start of Nisan 14th. Matthew 26:2 and Mark 14:1 could be referring to this tradition when it says in “two days is the Passover ” (Nisan 13th). Then the celebration of the Passover started at the beginning of Nisan 14th with a traditional “Last Supper” before the start of the Fast Of The Firstborn (Ta’anit Bechorot). This fast was a tradition for all firstborn males in order to remember the tenth plague that came upon Egypt in the book of Exodus. The fast was to be broken with the Passover Seder at the close of Nisan 14th or Nisan 15th

Yeshua’s Last Supper

Yeshua was the firstborn of Mary and Joseph. Both Yeshua and the disciples were Galilean Jews. Therefore they followed the tradition to prepare for Passover on Nisan 13th and keep the Fast Of The Firstborn with a “Last Supper”at the start of Nisan 14th. Prayer is a very important part of fasting, so after the Last Supper, Yeshua and the disciples went to the Garden of Gethsemane to pray. Therefore Yeshua’s Last Supper was a traditional way that He started the Passover celebration each year, not the Seder as we know it today. That year Yeshua used the traditional Last Supper to show His disciples a new revelation about Him known today as the Lord’s Supper or Communion ( Matt. 26:2628;
Mark 14:2224; Luke 22:1920; 1 Cor. 11:2325). He also taught at the “Last Supper” that the Master is the Servant and that we’re all to Love one another as He loved us.

Today, Judaism has placed the Galilean last supper meal within the Seder, not the night before. But some in Judaism still keep this traditional way of starting the Passover with a last supper meal the night before the Seder and then the fast. In Closing Chronological order of the Last Supper and Crucifixion
(1.) On Nisan 13th, Yeshua and His disciples kept the Galilean preparation day for the Passover.
(2.) At sunset, the start of Nisan 14th, Yeshua and the disciples had the traditional Galilean “Last Supper” before the start of the traditional “Fast Of The Firstborn”.
(3.) The next afternoon, still on Nisan 14th, Yeshua was crucified at the exact time that the lambs was being sacrificed for the Passover Seder.
(4.) At sunset, the start of Nisan 15th when the Passover Seder was to be eaten, Yeshua (sinless and unleavened) was placed in the tomb at the start of the week long Feast of Unleavened Bread (Passover), fulfilling these Feasts.

Thank you to https://www.olivetreemessianic.org/

Thank You God for Resurrection Day!

John 3:16, 17, 18 “For God loved the world in this way: He gave His One and Only Son, so that everyone who believes in Him will not perish but have eternal life. 17 For God did not send His Son into the world that He might condemn the world, but that the world might be saved through Him. 18 Anyone who believes in Him is not condemned, but anyone who does not believe is already condemned, because he has not believed in the name of the One and Only Son of God. 19 “This, then, is the judgment: The light has come into the world, and people loved darkness rather than the light because their deeds were evil.

WOW!!! God must love us beyond anything that we can imagine! Jesus loved us enough to die for us and to give us the Holy Spirit to guide us!

When the Holy Spirit speaks to me I listen…and HE speaks louder and clearer everyday in my walk with Jesus. Every moment I spend with Him in Bible study and prayer makes me want to spend more time with Him…I want to please Him in every aspect of my life. Hebrews 13:8 Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever. When you get a message from Him, it’s the same message that He gave Moses when He went up to Mt. Sinai, and it was the same message given when He was leading the Israelites through the desert for 4o years. The same message when He told Joshua in reference to the heathen tribes in the promise land…wipe them from the land. The same message that we received through the prophets. NOTHING has changed, He sure hasn’t! So why would we think that as His followers, we can play games with his rules? Have we forgotten that part of being a follower of Jesus is not only to repent, but to obey? To bring Him GLORY!

What I’m addressing is our worldly human nature that desires for us to involve ourselves in pagan traditions in the name of Jesus, Yeshua, Immanuel, Beloved Son of God, Good Shepherd, Messiah, Lamb of God, Redeemer – so many beautiful names and titles for the one God Loved and gave to us. Why would we entangle Him with myths, pagan rituals and man made customs? Isn’t there enough to celebrate just in the fact that HE loved us enough to suffer and die for us on the cross; to take our filthy sins upon himself?

Okay…Here it comes!

I do my “very best” to stay away from saying Happy Easter (although until I was led by the Spirit, I will admit that I too was guilty)…now just writing it makes me cringe! Do you really know what this pagan ritual that we’ve tied to the Resurrection of our Lord Jesus is about?

1. The name Easter (Eostre -the Teutonic goddess of fertility and spring ) Babylonians: the rabbit was a symbol associated with Eostre, representing the beginning of Springtime. Then there’s Ostara and Ishtar… names of other goddesses celebrated in the same fashion as Eostre.

2. The eggs (“The egg as a symbol of fertility and of renewed life goes back to the ancient Egyptians (the egg represented the sun) and Persians), the egg represents the hatching of the Venus Ishtar, who fell from heaven to the Euphrates. Likewise, the egg has come to represent Spring, fertility and renewal.

3. The rabbit that lays eggs…that in itself is sickening! In Germanic mythology, it is said that Ostara healed a wounded bird she found in the woods by changing it into a hare. Still partially a bird, the hare showed its gratitude to the goddess by laying eggs as gifts.

We’ve actually taken these pagan rituals and beliefs and incorporated them into the Resurrection of Jesus. Think about it. Can you really justify any of it?

What have these things to do with Christ? What and why have we done this… to turn the most special gift God has given us – eternal life- into a celebration filled with pagan ritual that celebrated a variety of goddesses in different cultures? These cultures were in constant conflict with God all through the Old Testament and were constantly leading His people astray. Are they still leading us astray today? Do you really believe God doesn’t care? God doesn’t change! Deuteronomy 12:2-4 Destroy completely all the places where the nations that you are driving out worship their gods—on the high mountains, on the hills, and under every green tree. Tear down their altars, smash their sacred pillars, burn up their Asherah poles, cut down the carved images of their gods, and wipe out their names from every place. Don’t worship the Lord your God this way.

It wasn’t until 325 AD nearly 300 years after the crucifixion that Emperor Constantine convened a meeting of Christian leaders to resolve important disputes at the Council of Nicaea. Since the church believed that the resurrection took place on a Sunday, the Council determined that Easter should always fall on the first Sunday after the first full moon following the vernal equinox. The First Council of Nicaea (325) established the date of Easter as the first Sunday after the full moon (the Paschal Full Moon) following the March equinox.

Deuteronomy 12:30 be careful not to be ensnared by their ways after they have been destroyed before you. Do not inquire about their gods, asking, ‘How did these nations worship their gods? I’ll also do the same.’

Don’t take my word for it…spend a little time and investigate this for yourself and then justify it for yourself. The Apostle Paul said in Philippians 2:12 (KJV) Wherefore, my beloved, as ye have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling.

Friday – Sunday Adds up to 3 days & 3 nights?

I remember when I was much younger… when I first attempted the math between Good Friday and Sunday morning and tried to make it add up to 3 days and 3 nights and no matter how I counted the minutes and hours it wouldn’t add up. I was discouraged that I couldn’t make the math work.  It wasn’t a faith thing or a matter of Salvation…it was a “math thing” because I knew that God wouldn’t say anything that wasn’t “exactly” true and Scripture says in Matthew 12:40 (HCSB) For as Jonah was in the belly of the huge fish (whale) three days and three nights, so the Son of Man will be in the heart of the earth three days and three nights.  God doesn’t make mistakes, however, you can depend on man to make mistakes. Believe me when I say that I include myself in that statement…but I try extra hard to gather the facts.  At any rate, time passed by and the question drifted to the back of my mind.

Not too long ago, I was reading a verse in the Bible that I’d read many times before and it had never jumped out at me like it did that day – I believe a question that I’d had for many years that the answer was revealed to me!  Now I don’t believe this answer has anything to do with my or anyone else’s Salvation, however, with the incorrect answer, others can decide that the scriptures aren’t truth, therefore saying that they don’t believe that God exists or that He’s a liar…both statements that actually make me physically sick when I hear them spoken.   Once again for me it was another confirmation that if we believe and study hard and long enough the whole while praying for the Holy Spirit to guide us, the answers will come to us when we’re ready. 

1 Corinthians 6:19 Don’t you know that your body is a sanctuary of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, The Bible tells us that we are the Temple of God and until the spirit fills us, we are an empty vessel and as you learn scripture and spend time with God and drink of the Living Water (Jesus), you become filled with the Spirit.  Ephesians 1:17 The prayer of Paul: “The God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give unto you a spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of him”.  There is no way of knowing God and His eternal will except through revelation. We also know that Wisdom is only from God, so when we listen, we are led to truths.  Colossians 1:9-10 For this reason also, since the day we heard this, we haven’t stopped praying for you. We are asking that you may be filled with the knowledge of His will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding, 10 so that you may walk worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to Him, bearing fruit in every good work and growing in the knowledge of God.

The Scripture that got my attention is John 19:31  The Jews therefore, because it was the preparation, that the bodies should not remain upon the cross on the sabbath day, (for that sabbath day was an high day,) besought Pilate that their legs might be broken, and that they might be taken away. 

I had never given the words in parenthesis the attention that they needed, I’d actually dismissed is as a descriptive thought.  It suddenly registered with me, that this was not the usual 7th day Sabbath that I’d grown up learning about.  This was a high Sabbath (a Sabbath that was above the usual – special).   So I began a study of the Holy Day Feasts and learned that there are 7 High Sabbaths.  One after each Holy Day Feast and since Passover is one of these feasts, it only follows that the day after Passover is followed by the High Sabbath.  Now keep in mind too, that like all the other days and the Sabbaths of Israel, their day starts at Sunset and ends at Sunset. 

If you have never studied the Feasts that God ordained, it’s such an interesting study.  When I realized that Jesus kept all of the Feasts, including Hanukah, it made me want to learn more. Then when I realized the Feasts were a picture of what’s to come, the study became more interesting.

HE’S Alive! HIS Resurrection Celebration is Upon Us!

My personal questions: Isn’t it breathtaking that God rose Jesus from the grave in the springtime in Jerusalem; a time when the earth is also awakening from the dead of winter? Let me also ask you: Do you have the love and joy of Jesus welling up inside you like a spring of living water? Do you feel as if you’re going to burst with joy as you proclaim “Jesus Risen”? Do you wake up every morning saying “Thank YOU GOD for another day to share what Jesus did for me on the cross? Do You tell everyone you meet that Jesus is the ONLY way and that without Him, they’re dead in their sins? John 11:25 Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in Me, even if he dies, will live.

John 6:40 For this is the will of My Father: that everyone who sees the Son and believes in Him may have eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day.” What an awesome promise! JESUS will raise us up! He knows His sheep and we recognize HIS voice! As His followers, we can hear His voice because we have studied the scriptures and we know Him and our Father in Heaven. The Holy Spirit that He sent to us lives within us and speaks to us concerning every tiny detail of our lives…we just need to learn to listen…

In the Gospels, Jesus foretells of His death and resurrection.

Matthew 16:21 From that time Jesus began to show his disciples that he must go to Jerusalem and suffer many things from the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and on the third day be raised.

Matthew 17:22 As they were gathering in Galilee, Jesus said to them, “The Son of Man is about to be delivered into the hands of men,

Mark 8:31 And he began to teach them that the Son of Man must suffer many things and be rejected by the elders and the chief priests and the scribes and be killed, and after three days rise again.

Each time Jesus spoke of His death and resurrection to His disciples, they didn’t seem to grasp what He was telling them, He even had to rebuke Peter, telling Satan to get behind Him. 2000 years later, we still face the incredulous disbelief of those who don’t understand God’s plan. The plan that was made before our creation – that Jesus would come to earth to die. That for a brief moment Jesus would be so covered by the sins of this world that the Father would leave Him because God can’t stand sin and He had to turn away from His own beloved Son. When we realize that God HATES Sin…how do we persist in it?

Eye Witnesses of Jesus Resurrected

Paul said in 1 Corinthians 3:5 For I passed on to you as most important what I also received: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that He was buried, that He was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, and that He appeared to Cephas (Aramaic for “Peter”), then to the Twelve. Then He appeared to over 500 brothers at one time; most of them are still alive, but some have fallen asleep. Then He appeared to James, then to all the apostles. Last of all, as to one abnormally born, He also appeared to me.

Promise of Eternal Life with Him

1 Corinthians 15:20 20 But now Christ has been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep.

Romans 8:11 And if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead lives in you, then He who raised Christ from the dead will also bring your mortal bodies to life through His Spirit who lives in you.

1 Thessalonians 4:14-15 Since we believe that Jesus died and rose again, in the same way God will bring with Him those who have fallen asleep through Jesus. 15 For we say this to you by a revelation from the Lord: We who are still alive at the Lord’s coming will certainly have no advantage over those who have fallen asleep.

Ultimately Jesus gave us the “gift of eternal life” when He died on the cross taking our sins upon himself. I have such a difficult time understanding how anyone could turn down such a wonderful gift! Does anyone want to die and stay dead forever? I’ve heard so many say…is this ALL there is? OH MY GOODNESS! My heart breaks for them! Especially because God made it so easy for us…believe, repent obey.

Has anyone else died for YOU? Do YOU know anyone whom you believe would die for YOU? Is there anyone that YOU would lay your life down for?

Jesus’ Apostles and other followers laid down their lives rather than deny Jesus (Yeshua Hamaschiah) the Messiah. Why would they do such a thing? Why would they be willing to die for Him? Why did they keep the faith until death? Because they’d witnessed His miracles, they’d witnessed His Love, They’d witnessed His death and His Resurrection!

They didn’t just believe, they knew that they were going to receive eternal life!

Jesus said in John 10:27My sheep hear My voice, I know them, and they follow Me. 28 I give them eternal life, and they will never perish—ever! No one will snatch them out of My hand.

At the Cross – Journey to Heaven or Hell?

When Jesus was crucified on the cross, there were two criminals who were crucified with Him. Jesus (Yeshua Hamashiach) was sinless and both men with him were sinners. The thief on one of the crosses next to Jesus asked for Jesus to remember him. The other thief mocked Him…

Luke 23:39-43 39 Then one of the criminals hanging there began to yell insults at Him: “Aren’t You the Messiah? Save Yourself and us!” 40 But the other answered, rebuking him: “Don’t you even fear God, since you are undergoing the same punishment? 41 We are punished justly, because we’re getting back what we deserve for the things we did, but this man has done nothing wrong.” 42 Then he said, “Jesus, remember me when You come into Your kingdom!” 43 And He said to him, “I assure you: Today you will be with Me in paradise.”

When the thief admonished the other criminal, he did so rightly…he spoke up and showed that he knew who Jesus was! From the words that Jesus said to him in response, I’m certain that this thief journeyed on the road to Heaven and the other thief who mocked journeyed on the road to Hell…

When we come to the cross of Jesus, we are saved, justified by His sacrifice, by nothing that we have done…but here’s a comparison that I want you to consider. When the Children of Israel were rescued from Egypt, they too were saved. However, as time progressed they fell away from God and from believing His promises. They began to live as if they were no longer followers and chose rebellion instead…okay…now it’s time for you say that you haven’t chosen rebellion against God. The Israelite people chose idol worship, sorcery, lust, immorality, drunkenness, piety, hatred, jealousy, they grumbled and moaned against God and Moses…just to name a few. How many of us today are guilty of these same choices?

I’m going to give you a few examples of poor choices that most of don’t even think about twice, but I’m not going to delve deeply into it… so here goes. Many of us enjoy the Hallmark channel and often credit it with wholesome entertainment, but it eludes to magic & sorcery in much of it’s programming. Many of us say that we enjoy a glass of wine or a beer now and then, but how often does that glass of wine make some of us silly and distort our personalities…I’ve heard some say that the wine or beer allows them to relax and be themselves. Then there’s those of us who sit in the church pews on Sunday and somehow believe that our showing up is like a free ticket to Heaven. Who can say that they’ve walked away from immorality? Not too long ago, I heard about people who were disgusted by the 1/2 time show of the 2020 Superbowl. How many of those disgusted people turned of their tv and forfeited watching the rest of the game because they don’t want to perpetuate that sort of indecent behavior? How many have seen their neighbor drive home a new car and wish for the same or feel angry that their neighbor could afford a new car and they can’t? Okay…enough! You get the point! How are we any different today than the Israelite people during the time of Moses?

The Israelites had the promise of a beautiful opulent land and forgiveness of sins and we have Jesus, the fulfillment of that promise. As Christians, we have faith that Jesus is the Son of God, that he’s the Resurrection, the Way, the Truth, the Life. The only Way to eternal life and we are 100% correct when we realize this. But once we’ve received faith…what next? Faith becomes the catalyst for change, for us to desire to be obedient to Heavenly Father.

Hebrews 5: 8-10 Though He was God’s Son, He learned obedience through what He suffered. After He was perfected, He became the source of eternal salvation for all who obey Him, 10 and He was declared by God a high priest in the order of Melchizedek.

When Jesus went to the cross for us, He fulfilled the plan of the Father since before the beginning. He knew how difficult it was going to be, but He did exactly what the Father asked of Him…obedience unto death. It was the only plan that could save mankind…it was the beginning of separating the sheep from the goats. In His last breath…Jesus said “It is finished”. The plan had been completely fulfilled and although he dreaded it to the point of sweating blood and asking the father to remove this cup from him (meaning the cup of death), He obeyed. In 3 out of 4 of the Gospels, we read the pleas that Jesus prayed to the Father in the Garden of Gethsemane Matthew 26:42, Mark 14:36, Luke 22:42

His Resurrection proved to us that He was telling the truth when He said He would rise from the dead.

The Way is the path that He walked and that we must follow to be his servant…Jesus says in John 25:12 that anyone who loves his life will lose it and anyone who hates his life in the world will keep it for eternal life.

The Truth is every WORD that proceeds from the pages of the Bible. Jesus is the WORD, therefore HE’S the Truth and we need to believe HIM and believe in HIM.

The Life in eternity is what we’ll gain if we have Faith and Obey Him.

The Israelite people should have been the most faithful of all, they saw the awesome miracles that God performed against the Egyptians, they saw the Red Sea part and walked through it on dry ground. They never went hungry as God fed them Manna from Heaven…but they still disobeyed…they gave up the promised land…obviously not choosing the path to Heaven. There are many people today who say that they believe in God, but they still persist in doing things their way instead of God’s way. Jesus told us in Matthew 7:21 “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven.” In the scriptures of Genesis 6–7 and Heb 11:7 we are told that Noah had such great faith. When God commanded him to build the ark, he built the ark just as God had told him to do. In obedience to God’s command, he kept his faith, and he and his whole family were saved.

John 2o:29 Jesus said, “Because you have seen Me, you have believed. Those who believe without seeing are blessed.” Belief and Faith are related; Belief is the agreement that this is the truth, but Faith not only acknowledges the truth, it inspires action, the desire to share the Gospel with others and to bring them into obedience to God’s will. Hebrews 11:1 says faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see. So when you’re at the cross and facing crossroads, when you’ve reached the point in your life when you need to make a decision that will effect your eternity…ponder your choices. Will you choose the journey to Heaven or the journey to Hell?

Resurrection

As we enter the time of the Passover and when we celebrate the Resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ, we know that He, a Jewish, sinless man, the Son of God; fully human in every way, feeling pain and sorrow as we do…died on the cross for us.  It’s beyond anything we can imagine…for us to feel the magnitude of His pain and sorrow as it was caused by an entire world of sin then and now. Isaiah 53:5 But he was wounded for our transgressions; he was crushed for our iniquities; upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and with his stripes we are healed.

When we become believers we have so much to be thankful for…Jesus was put on the cross by His own hand and died, and now intercedes for us with the Father after He bore the wrath that should have been ours and would have been if it hadn’t been for His “LOVE” for us. Isaiah 53:7 He was oppressed and afflicted, yet he did not open his mouth; he was led like a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before its shearers is silent, so he did not open his mouth.

 After 3 days in the grave, Yeshua Hamashiach means “Jesus the Messiah” rose from the dead and gave the whole world his grace and peace.  This is a gift that too many of us take lightly…it’s not only for us who are Christians…it’s for ALL…to be shared generously! 

Believing is the beginning…what happens after that is up to you…believing that on the cross Jesus endured the wrath of God to save us from our sins should be our wake-up call and the beginning of our taking steps towards sharing the gift of our Salvation.  There are many steps, but here are 3 to start your journey:

1.  Truly repent and give your life over to our Redeemer Jesus Christ…then share your belief in Salvation with everyone you meet.  Display your faithfulness in words, actions and deeds.  2. Get to know your Heavenly Father through His “WORD”, spend time with Him every day asking that His will be done in your life so that you can serve Him. Ephesians 1:17 I keep asking that the God of our LORD Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know Him better.  3. Be still and listen desiring the Holy Spirit to make changes in your heart so that you can walk nearer to God in every aspect of your life and obey Him. Isaiah 11:2 The Spirit of the LORD will rest on him- the Spirit of wisdom and of understanding, the Spirit of counsel and of might, the Spirit of the knowledge and fear of the LORD    

Mark 16:15 He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation.”   Time is short…we don’t know when Jesus will return, but we do know that He asked us to share the Gospel with everyone we come in contact with as well as reaching out to those we don’t know.  When we choose Jesus as our Savior it’s up to us to intercede on His behalf with those who are “lost” and don’t realize that the wonderful gift of Salvation can be theirs. Matthew 29:19 “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit.” This message was inspired by studying our Sunday school workbook – Gospel Project