Psalms 30:1-12 Rescue Me
Posted by adventbiblestudy on December 14, 2013
Psalms 30:1-12 NLTse I will exalt you, LORD, for you rescued me. You refused to let my enemies triumph over me. (2) O LORD my God, I cried to you for help, and you restored my health. (3) You brought me up from the grave, O LORD. You kept me from falling into the pit of death. (4) Sing to the LORD, all you godly ones! Praise his holy name. (5) For his anger lasts only a moment, but his favor lasts a lifetime! Weeping may last through the night, but joy comes with the morning. (6) When I was prosperous, I said, “Nothing can stop me now!” (7) Your favor, O LORD, made me as secure as a mountain. Then you turned away from me, and I was shattered. (8) I cried out to you, O LORD. I begged the Lord for mercy, saying, (9) “What will you gain if I die, if I sink into the grave? Can my dust praise you? Can it tell of your faithfulness? (10) Hear me, LORD, and have mercy on me. Help me, O LORD.” (11) You have turned my mourning into joyful dancing. You have taken away my clothes of mourning and clothed me with joy, (12) that I might sing praises to you and not be silent. O LORD my God, I will give you thanks forever!
There are a number of David’s Psalms that include a prophecy about Jesus’ resurrection. Some are quoted in the New Testament. “Dear brothers, think about this! You can be sure that the patriarch David wasn’t referring to himself, for he died and was buried, and his tomb is still here among us. But he was a prophet, and he knew God had promised with an oath that one of David’s own descendants would sit on his throne. David was looking into the future and speaking of the Messiah’s resurrection. He was saying that God would not leave him among the dead or allow his body to rot in the grave. “God raised Jesus from the dead, and we are all witnesses of this. Now he is exalted to the place of highest honor in heaven, at God’s right hand. And the Father, as he had promised, gave him the Holy Spirit to pour out upon us, just as you see and hear today. (Acts 2:29-33 NLTse). Another psalm explains it more fully: ‘You will not allow your Holy One to rot in the grave.’ This is not a reference to David, for after David had done the will of God in his own generation, he died and was buried with his ancestors, and his body decayed. No, it was a reference to someone else–someone whom God raised and whose body did not decay. “Brothers, listen! We are here to proclaim that through this man Jesus there is forgiveness for your sins. (Acts 13:35-38 NLTse). Once again we see details repeated, another reminder to pay attention. We also see the fulfillment of Jesus’ resurrection repeated in all four gospels. Most people know how important the event is. I often wonder why the world makes such a big celebration out of Jesus’ birth, a day we’re not sure of, but to a large degree, pay little attention to Jesus’ resurrection. Then again, no holiday has been so commercialized or filled with worldly symbols competing for attention than what we refer to as Christmas.
You’ll notice how David repeats the words joy and praise, but the gospels paint a different story. It’s not difficult to see Psalm 30 points to Jesus’ resurrection, but only one set of key words lead to the connection in the New Testament, the word grave and the related word death. You’ll also notice the word grave has been replaced by tomb on a consistent basis in the New Testament. I can’t be sure why. Maybe it’s the introduction to a new lesson. Maybe it’s a test. Texts about the resurrection in the Old Testament and New should be the easiest to associate. People with little or no knowledge of Bible Study rules we’ve covered should have no trouble seeing the relationship. The question is, since God established such a direct connection why aren’t more people preaching the powerful messages from the New Testament about Jesus’ resurrection? The short sermons the disciples preached opened thousands of eyes in a day. When I read those sermons in Acts, I wonder how preachers miss those important details. It’s time to take a look at Jesus’ resurrection not from a historical view, but from a prophetic view and the lessons found in God’s Word. To understand the lesson we need to take a look at all four gospels, their related texts along with the introduction and summation for each of the New Testament chapters.
Matthew 28:1-7 NLTse Early on Sunday morning, as the new day was dawning, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went out to visit the tomb. (2) Suddenly there was a great earthquake! For an angel of the Lord came down from heaven, rolled aside the stone, and sat on it. (3) His face shone like lightning, and his clothing was as white as snow. (4) The guards shook with fear when they saw him, and they fell into a dead faint. (5) Then the angel spoke to the women. “Don’t be afraid!” he said. “I know you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified. (6) He isn’t here! He is risen from the dead, just as he said would happen. Come, see where his body was lying. (7) And now, go quickly and tell his disciples that he has risen from the dead, and he is going ahead of you to Galilee. You will see him there. Remember what I have told you.”
Strange as it may seem, there is only one word linking the prophecy in Psalm 30 to the New Testament fulfillment in the gospels. For some reason it is not the same word, but a similar word. Why did David use the words grave and pit while all four gospels were translated tomb? What were the translators thinking, or is there a physical difference between the Hebrew and Greek words?
she’ol she’ol sheh-ole’, sheh-ole’
From H7592; hades or the world of the dead (as if a subterranian retreat), including its accessories and inmates: – grave, hell, pit.
Masculine from G2290; a grave (the place of interment): – sepulchre, tomb.
We can see the Hebrew word carries a more spiritual meaning while the Greek is more of a physical description. Combined they show a realistic story of the battle Jesus faced, both physical and spiritual. Comparing Psalm 30 and Matthew 28, we see sentences which connect to two. You brought me up from the grave, O LORD. You kept me from falling into the pit of death. Then the angel spoke to the women. “Don’t be afraid!” he said. “I know you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified. He isn’t here! He is risen from the dead, just as he said would happen. Come, see where his body was lying.” Once we see the definition for grave from Psalm 30, we can see the opposition Jesus faced on the cross as well as in the tomb. Something as important as Jesus’ resurrection demands we follow basic Bible Study rules by looking back at previous events. In this case we can look back to our previous study which showed a number of groups gathered at the cross. One group we didn’t see in that study was Satan and his demons. We see how God’s rule of Bible Study sends us back to review. When we take time to progress, we see how God’s Spirit leads us to review previous texts and studies to review details we missed.
Looking back we see a number of groups at the cross that represent Christianity from its conception up to Jesus’ return. Of course we see Jesus’ disciples, friends and family. Most Christians want to put themselves in this group, so put yourself in their position. Mary is one of the women who went to Jesus’ tomb at sunrise on the first day of the week. She is also mentioned at Jesus’ crucifixion. What did she feel at Jesus’ crucifixion? What went through her head? What was she feeling, thinking, waiting for? Put yourself in her emotional state. You have to ask yourself, why would anyone attend a crucifixion? Think of it. Crucifixion was the most grizzly way of putting a person to death. It wouldn’t seem normal for nominal friends to view the scene. Only close family hoping beyond hope would view such a scene. No one else would sit around watching someone they knew suffer. One group that attended Jesus’ crucifixion loved Him enough to gather at the scene, hoping against all odds for something to happen. What went though their heads? At what level was their faith?
There were a lot of nominal people at the cross, but they are not mentioned. Their identity was not worth mentioning. A few people were saved at the cross. They saw something in Jesus and turned their hearts to Him. First there was one of the men crucified next to Jesus. Hanging well above the crowed he declared what little he knew about Jesus, admitted his sin, and asked one favor. One of the criminals hanging beside him scoffed, “So you’re the Messiah, are you? Prove it by saving yourself–and us, too, while you’re at it!” But the other criminal protested, “Don’t you fear God even when you have been sentenced to die? We deserve to die for our crimes, but this man hasn’t done anything wrong.” Then he said, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your Kingdom.” And Jesus replied, “I assure you, today you will be with me in paradise.” (Luke 23:39-43 NLTse). The other person saved is a Roman soldier who saw something in Jesus. When the Roman officer overseeing the execution saw what had happened, he worshiped God and said, “Surely this man was innocent.” (Luke 23:47 NLTse). We can’t be sure if Mark recorded the comments of the same man or another. When the Roman officer who stood facing him saw how he had died, he exclaimed, “This man truly was the Son of God!” (Mark 15:39 NLTse). The point is, the second group is small. The effect of Jesus on the cross had an effect on only a few of the people who witnessed His crucifixion. Those represent the small percentage of Christians who are introduced to the cross and look close enough to see the Son of God on the cross. Why such a small number? Look at what happens in churches. Preachers use the cross in many different ways. But do they teach a relationship with our risen Savior? I’m sorry to say, but many people look at Jesus as another historic figure. Is it their fault? Many Christians I’ve met have little or no ability to teach people how to have a close personal relationship with Jesus – because they lack evidence in their lives. You’ll notice both the man on the cross and Roman soldier had little choice but to be at the cross at that time. What does it take to move from the small group seeing Jesus as he Son of God at the cross to the group who loved Him enough to see Him suffer?
Then there were other groups. There were common people who ridiculed Jesus on the cross and doubted Him. These people represented the largest group at the cross and for good reason. Look at the world today. Look at the day people claim to worship God. Where do you find more people, in churches or malls and shopping centers? Its not easy to miss. Look at the parking lots. Look at worship services today. Why do you think some people refer to it as the worship hour? Is that all God wanted is one hour a week, month, or year? Sure there are a lot of people who take their relationship with God seriously. They are the group who look at the cross and wonder. They admit they don’t know all of God’s plan of salvation, but they push on in faith. Its the large group of people who heard about the cross, know about it, but had little contact with Jesus and have little reason to establish a relation with Him.
Next we see the religious leaders. They put Jesus on the cross because they misinterpreted over three hundred prophecies, not to mention symbols and the religious services they were trusted to study and explain to the world. They viewed Jesus as a threat rather than the Messiah they preached about. The religious leaders preached the wrong Messiah. Those religious leaders represent the religious leaders of today. Many of them are like the religious leaders who put Jesus on the cross. Their main concern was money, their income and well being. The religious leaders couldn’t see how the cross brought people together. Many religious leaders today preach the cross with little feeling, passion, or spiritual insight. They give long sermons to fascinate people with their knowledge of history and details of crucifixions, but have little to add about the emotions people felt and exhibited at the cross, or afterwords. What good is describing details about how crucifixion was developed and perfected? The priests, Pharisees and Scribes who put Jesus on the cross knew all those details. They depended on them to mark Jesus, ruin Him and make an unacceptable sacrifice out of Him. They knew a man hung on a tree is cursed. They banked on it. Like those religious leaders, many today have little or no idea why Jesus died. Some preach forgiveness for all sins no matter what. Others preach conditional redemption. Few understand or teach sanctification or about the relationship with God’s Spirit Jesus promised in John chapter 14. They can’t teach about a relationship they don’t have. But when the Father sends the Advocate as my representative–that is, the Holy Spirit–he will teach you everything and will remind you of everything I have told you. (John 14:26 NLTse). Few are able to teach about how Jesus stood up and went forward to the cross to save His Fathers Kingdom. God’s plan of salvation tends to take a back seat to issues preachers consider more important. The same fear that stuck religious leaders who put Jesus on trial controls leaders today. They are wrapped up in a numbers game centered on control. A total lack of personal contact with God’s Spirit robs them of common sense in the spiritual realm. They don’t see God’s Spirit working in their lives. They take credit for everything they accomplish. They transfer these faults to people they lead by micromanaging people. They won’t encourage people to establish personal ministries, nor will they teach people how Jesus died to open a direct path to God’s throne for each of us. How many more lessons are seen in the cross and Jesus’ resurrection? What lessons do we learn when we look at Mary named in the gospels as one of the women appearing at the tomb? Following Bible Study rules we’ve seen in scripture, we know we need to look back to see how the author led into texts describing Mary’s reaction at the resurrection.
Something told Mary to sell everything she had, collect debts, pool her money to purchase a small, sealed box of expensive oil and perfume. It took a lot of trust and faith. Trust because she couldn’t be sure what was in the sealed box until she opened it in front of Jesus. Faith to listen to God’s Spirit and sell everything she had. How do you think God’s Spirit spoke to her? Through a thought, or scripture? Did Mary know she was fulfilling a prophecy? It was more than trust and faith that Mary had. She also had a deep love for Jesus. A love few people can or want to understand.
Mary’s emotions wavered from one extreme to the other. Hot flashes flew through her body as her mind switched between her love for Jesus and the reaction she expected from some of the people at the dinner. Finally Mary realized the best way to love Jesus was to love them, no matter what they thought about her. Mary decided to follow the feeling inside her even though it seemed so out of the ordinary. She walked into the dining room sticking close to the wall so as not to attract attention, pacing her steps with people serving food she hoped to avoid detection. When she got behind Jesus, Mary dropped to the floor at Jesus’ feet. Suddenly she was overwhelmed with memories of all her sins. Satan knew what Mary was about to do. He saw her sell her clothes, goods, go without food to collect money for perfumed oil. Satan knew what it was for and did everything to stop it. Jesus not only sensed Mary at His feet, He felt Satan’s presence in the room. Instead of silently rebuking him, Jesus prayed. He saw how Mary’s actions could be used to teach a lesson. Then he turned to the woman and said to Simon, “Look at this woman kneeling here. When I entered your home, you didn’t offer me water to wash the dust from my feet, but she has washed them with her tears and wiped them with her hair. You didn’t greet me with a kiss, but from the time I first came in, she has not stopped kissing my feet. You neglected the courtesy of olive oil to anoint my head, but she has anointed my feet with rare perfume. “I tell you, her sins–and they are many–have been forgiven, so she has shown me much love. But a person who is forgiven little shows only little love.” Then Jesus said to the woman, “Your sins are forgiven.” The men at the table said among themselves, “Who is this man, that he goes around forgiving sins?” And Jesus said to the woman, “Your faith has saved you; go in peace.” (Luke 7:44-50 NLTse).
Only love could get Mary past the emotions and doubt Satan battled her with. It was Mary’s choice to give all she had. It was Mary’s choice to give it all to Jesus. Mary had to endure Satan’s temptations and doubt he filled her with. His attack was so severe it brought tears to her eyes. No one saw the battle she was fighting except for Jesus. The lesson Jesus wanted to teach them was how love over comes all.
That wasn’t the end of Mary’s love for Jesus or the end of her giving. Filled with joy she felt as if she was released from the pain and worry of the world. She felt such a deep love she felt nothing could touch her. It was a love so high and deep she thought it would never end, but grow and flourish. Mary found the love from Heaven Jesus taught about.
Then a few days later the unexpected happened, Jesus was arrested. Word spread quickly. Mary couldn’t believe her ears. Why would anyone want to harm Jesus? She wasn’t about to let anyone harm Him. But what could she do but pray? Spread out on the floor she poured her heart out to God. “Please save Him. He’s done nothing wrong. Why would the priests want to harm Him?” Something gave Mary a sense of comfort. The love inside her was stronger than the fear. Somehow God was going to make everything alright.
Mary didn’t sleep at all that night. At first light Mary rushed outside her home. Streets were filled with people for the first Passover to take place on the Sabbath anyone could remember. Street corner prophets were making predictions like crazy. Some said the Messiah would appear. Others claimed the world would end. A few predicted prosperity for Israel including the withdraw or over throw of Rome. Some self made prophets connected Jesus with their predictions. As Mary surveyed the hustle and bustle of people in front of her, she felt a hand on her shoulder. One of Jesus’ followers recognized her. He updated Mary on Jesus’ arrest and trial. He then informed Mary the priests were on their way to Pilate’s court. Mary rushed towards Pilate’s palace. When she arrived she had to push her way to the gate. Looking over the courtyard she saw Jesus standing near Pilate’s judgment seat facing the crowd. Jesus looked more than tired. From across the court, Mary clearly saw blood covering Jesus’ face. He looked limp and began to sag. A nearby guard went over to hold Jesus up by one arm.
Now at that feast the governor was accustomed to release unto the people a prisoner, whom they desired. And they had then a notable prisoner, called Barabbas. Therefore when they were gathered together, Pilate said unto them, Whom will you that I release unto you? Barabbas, or Jesus who is called Christ? (Matthew 27:15-17 KJ2000). As Mary watched the scene in front of her, she heard conversations behind her back. Turning around she saw priests dressed in their best robes moving about the crowd instructing people. What Mary didn’t see was the host of demons in and above the crowd creating enough noise and commotion people couldn’t hear or see what was going on. It seemed the priests knew who supported Jesus and who didn’t. They knew exactly what to tell them. Some people they told shout Barabbas if you want him crucified. Others they convinced Jesus needed to be eliminated, they were safer with Barabbas among them. Only a few people were misled, just enough to turn the tide so shouts for Barabbas drowned out cries for Jesus. Demons also crowded so close to Pilate it didn’t matter what the crowd shouted, his ears and mind were blocked. Pride and the threat of loosing his status was enough for Pilate to close his eyes to justice. Mary once again cried as she saw Jesus fate sealed. Crying and shouting as loud as she could did no good at all. Some people looked at her, knowing who she was made them wonder why anyone would follow Jesus. It dawned on Mary her presence in the crowd actually effected Jesus’ fate. She felt responsible for His conviction. Blaming herself she ran home to weep.
Something pulled at Mary. She turned around to see who it was. Looking at the crowd reminded her of the many times she saw crowds gather around Jesus to see Him heal and teach. Where were those people at His trial in front of Pilate? The memory hit Mary like a flash – a vision she could see as clear as day. Her mind reflected on the time the woman touched Jesus’ hem and was healed. She not only saw a vision, but a relationship. Jesus healed her. Not physically, but spiritually. Mary’s love for Jesus grew. At that moment she knew she had to go watch Jesus die so He could look down and see how He touched one life. Mary thought to herself, “Jesus can look down and see one life He changed. Maybe in a small way Jesus can see how His work here will live on for a little while in me.”
Mary is one of the few examples of unconditional love. She gave everything to anoint His body for burial without knowing it. She was at the cross to comfort Jesus in the only way she knew how, to show Jesus the change in her life and the love she felt for Him. After He died, Mary collected expensive spices to give one last gift to Jesus. Mary didn’t know Jesus was going to rise from that tomb. Mary was giving with no idea her gifts would be returned or paid back with the unimaginable price Jesus rose from the grave to offer.
What do you think went through Mary’s mind on that day? What do you think went through Mary’s mind when she arrived at the tomb? What can we see when we look at the other gospels?
Mark 16:1-7 NLTse Saturday evening, when the Sabbath ended, Mary Magdalene and Salome and Mary the mother of James went out and purchased burial spices so they could anoint Jesus‘ body. (2) Very early on Sunday morning, just at sunrise, they went to the tomb. (3) On the way they were asking each other, “Who will roll away the stone for us from the entrance to the tomb?” (4) But as they arrived, they looked up and saw that the stone, which was very large, had already been rolled aside. (5) When they entered the tomb, they saw a young man clothed in a white robe sitting on the right side. The women were shocked, (6) but the angel said, “Don’t be alarmed. You are looking for Jesus of Nazareth, who was crucified. He isn’t here! He is risen from the dead! Look, this is where they laid his body. (7) Now go and tell his disciples, including Peter, that Jesus is going ahead of you to Galilee. You will see him there, just as he told you before he died.”
Mark’s account of Mary’s visit to the tomb is very close to Matthew’s book. The main exception is how Mark repeats the word tomb. Mark usually ignores back ground and gets right to the main point. In this case Mark wanted to express the main point by repeating the word tomb. By doing so, Mark emphasized the point Jesus was sealed in the grave. Why would Mark repeat the word tomb? He is pointing us back to the Psalms. I will exalt you, LORD, for you rescued me. You refused to let my enemies triumph over me. O LORD my God, I cried to you for help, and you restored my health. You brought me up from the grave, O LORD. You kept me from falling into the pit of death. Sing to the LORD, all you godly ones! Praise his holy name. When we compare Mark 16 and Psalm 30 we see details falling into place. Going back to Matthew 28, we see how Matthew repeated the word risen. Other Psalms and Old Testament Scripture add more details, but we don’t have the space here to share them all. Many books could be written on the subject. It’s time to see what detail Luke’s book adds.
Luke 24:1-8 NLTse But very early on Sunday morning the women went to the tomb, taking the spices they had prepared. (2) They found that the stone had been rolled away from the entrance. (3) So they went in, but they didn’t find the body of the Lord Jesus. (4) As they stood there puzzled, two men suddenly appeared to them,clothed in dazzling robes. (5) The women were terrified and bowed with their faces to the ground. Then the men asked, “Why are you looking among the dead for someone who is alive? (6) He isn’t here! He is risen from the dead! Remember what he told you back in Galilee, (7) that the Son of Man must be betrayed into the hands of sinful men and be crucified, and that he would rise again on the third day.” (8) Then they remembered that he had said this.
Luke repeats a new word, remember. We see an interesting pattern when we compare each account of what the angel said.
The angel spoke to the women. “Don’t be afraid!” he said. “I know you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified. He isn’t here! He is risen from the dead, just as he said would happen. Come, see where his body was lying. And now, go quickly and tell his disciples that he has risen from the dead, and he is going ahead of you to Galilee. You will see him there. Remember what I have told you.”
The angel said, “Don’t be alarmed. You are looking for Jesus of Nazareth, who was crucified. He isn’t here! He is risen from the dead! Look, this is where they laid his body. Now go and tell his disciples, including Peter, that Jesus is going ahead of you to Galilee. You will see him there, just as he told you before he died.”
The men asked, “Why are you looking among the dead for someone who is alive? (6) He isn’t here! He is risen from the dead! Remember what he told you back in Galilee, (7) that the Son of Man must be betrayed into the hands of sinful men and be crucified, and that he would rise again on the third day.”
Mathew begins with, “Don’t be afraid!” Mark repeats the remark as, “Don’t be alarmed.” Luke poses a question. “Why are you looking among the dead for someone who is alive?” We can see how the angel knew fears people feel about the dead, especially when Mary was approaching the tomb early on Sunday morning, while it was still dark. All three gospels use the word risen which is the main point of Jesus’ resurrection and the detail most often preached. Now its time to look deeper. The three gospels tell us Jesus was dead. As a matter of fact the three agree, ” He is risen from the dead.” Matthew tells us it was, “just as he said would happen.” Luke adds to that detail. “Remember what he told you back in Galilee, that the Son of Man must be betrayed into the hands of sinful men and be crucified, and that he would riseagain on the third day.” Both point to what Jesus tried to teach them when He was still alive. It makes you wonder why they didn’t listen. You’ll notice the angel is addressing the women who first went to the tomb. Too often we look at only the disciples and fail to see people in the back ground, people who really mattered. You’ll also notice how the angel placed the responsibilities of hearing, learning, and remembering on the women.
Matthew and Mark recorded their responsibility to tell the other disciples. “Now go and tell his disciples, including Peter, that Jesus is going ahead of you to Galilee.” “And now, go quickly and tell his disciples that he has risen from the dead, and he is going ahead of you to Galilee.” Why were these women given this message to take to the disciples? Remember, this is the one detail just about every preacher arranges a sermon around. The message those woman were given is as important today as it was on that Sunday morning. Why were these women given the honor to be the first to deliver the message, “Jesus is risen!” Was it because they happened to be in the right place at the right time? Was it because they took spices to the tomb to anoint Jesus’ body? Look what Matthew wrote. Mary Magdalene and Salome and Mary the mother of James went out and purchased burial spices so they could anoint Jesus‘ body. According to Matthew, they used their own money to purchase the burial spices. No one recorded how much spice the brought. Many preachers distract from the message by claiming they have an answer. When we stick to the facts and the Bible, we find answers much more fascinating and reliable than the fairy tales men use to call attention to themselves. When we look back on scripture, one of the lessons Jesus tried to teach His disciples, we see why they were given this great honor. Remember Mary spent all she had to anoint Jesus’ body at the dinner? Not only did she give Jesus everything she had, she found a way of giving more. And God provided a way when Mary displayed that love. It was Mary’s unconditional love that gave her the right to deliver the first message about Jesus’ resurrection. John doesn’t record a lot of the details other authors did, but adds some worth looking at.
John 20:1-9 NLTse Early on Sunday morning, while it was still dark, Mary Magdalene came to the tomb and found that the stone had been rolled away from the entrance. (2) She ran and found Simon Peter and the other disciple, the one whom Jesus loved. She said, “They have taken the Lord’s body out of the tomb, and we don’t know where they have put him!” (3) Peter and the other disciple started out for the tomb. (4) They were both running, but the other disciple outran Peter and reached the tomb first. (5) He stooped and looked in and saw the linen wrappings lying there, but he didn’t go in. (6) Then Simon Peter arrived and went inside. He also noticed the linen wrappings lying there, (7) while the cloth that had covered Jesus‘ head was folded up and lying apart from the other wrappings. (8) Then the disciple who had reached the tomb first also went in, and he saw and believed— (9) for until then they still hadn’t understood the Scriptures that said Jesus must rise from the dead.
The first thing we notice is all four gospels mention the date. Why? Remember how Kings and Chronicles recorded all the important dates for kings? No births were recorded but all of Israel’s and Judah’s kings have the year they became king and their deaths were recorded. Luke tells us the year Jesus was born. All the gospels tell us the year He died and the day He rose from the grave. This shows how Jesus not only took His position in the line of David as King, but exceeded the glory of all the previous kings.
John also repeats the word tomb four times while adding Peter’s reaction to the news of Jesus rising. John also repeated the word wrappings. When we look back we see Jesus ordered Lazarus’ wrappings removed. Then Jesus shouted, “Lazarus, come out!” And the dead man came out, his hands and feet bound in graveclothes, his face wrapped in a headcloth. Jesus told them, “Unwrap him and let him go!” (John 11:43-44 NLTse). Notice how John referred to Jesus’ wrappings and with Lazarus he used the word graveclothes. John is pointing out the difference between Lazarus and Jesus. Lazarus was a symbol pointing to a greater fulfillment. Jesus told her, “Your brother will rise again.” “Yes,” Martha said, “he will rise when everyone else rises, at the last day.” Jesus told her, “I am the resurrection and the life. Anyone who believes in me will live, even after dying. Everyone who lives in me and believes in me will never ever die. Do you believe this, Martha?” (John 11:23-26 NLTse). Did Peter and the other disciples know what Jesus meant? John gives us the answer. Then the disciple who had reached the tomb first also went in, and he saw and believed— for until then they still hadn’t understood the Scriptures that said Jesus must rise from the dead.
Why didn’t the disciples understand the scriptures? It shows us how little the world will understand scripture before the next major event, Jesus’ return. Check the churches, radio, TV, and Internet. What do you hear preached? There are a thousand interpretations on the mark of the beast. Hundreds of people preached dates they thought Jesus was going to return. They were all wrong. As wrong as the religious leaders who put Jesus on the cross. We hear sermons about the beast, dragon, the whore in Revelation, sermons on the statue in Daniel. They all sound the same, although every denomination has a different interpretation. They all show how they worship figures more than the living God. All of them missed the real message, Jesus and how He rose from the tomb. The disciples lack of knowledge shows how unqualified people are to preach God’s Word when they don’t have the love Mary had for Jesus. How many preachers display and live that love? There’s still hope. The message is taught in the summations of each of the gospels. We can find it when we look.
Matthew 28:16-20 NLTse Then the eleven disciples left for Galilee, going to the mountain where Jesus had told them to go. (17) When they saw him, they worshiped him–but some of them doubted! (18) Jesus came and told his disciples, “I have been given all authority in heaven and on earth. (19) Therefore, go and makedisciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. (20) Teach these new disciples to obey all the commands I have given you. And be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”
Matthew repeated and stressed the word disciples. What is the meaning of a disciple? Its a learner, a pupil. This shows how Jesus’ disciples were still in the leaning stage. We can see that when Matthew tells us some still doubted. They were at different stages in their learning process. Did that mean Jesus had one lesson for some, another lesson for others? All we’re told is, Jesus came and told his disciples, “I have been given all authority in heaven and on earth.” Jesus also told them to, “go and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit.” There are three teachers. Each one requires a different process to believe and follow. Most people don’t get past the Father and Son. They believe there’s a God. They go to church. They hear about the Son, but never develop a personal relationship with them. They miss out on the Holy Spirit because like the disciples, they still doubt. Jesus also tells His disciples to, “Teach these new disciples to obey all the commands I have given you. And be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” What are all the commands Jesus is referring to? This seems to be a main point of controversy among Christians. This church claims this is what Jesus told them to teach, another church claims something totally different. Remember one of the Bible Study rules we’ve learned, one of the rules Jesus taught His disciples? It’s to always look back in scripture. When we compare the introduction to the summation, we see the main theme of the chapter. Looking back at the introduction in Matthew 28, we see one command. “I know you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified. He isn’t here! He is risen from the dead, just as he said would happen. Come, see where his body was lying. And now, go quickly and tell his disciples that he has risen from the dead, and he is going ahead of you to Galilee. You will see him there. Remember what I have told you.”
The angle used the word remember so when we get to the end we won’t be tempted to fall into the temptation of looking for unrelated proof text. The angel told the women to, “go quickly and tell his disciples that he has risen from the dead, and he is going ahead of you to Galilee.” There are two parts to the message. First, Jesus is risen. That must be part of the message Jesus commanded His disciples to teach. There is no other choice. The gospel message is lost without this message. The second part is just as important. The angel told them Jesus is going ahead of you to Galilee. Why, for what? Common sense tells us, to teach the disciples everything they need to begin their ministry. Remember, they are still learning. The message Jesus commanded them to teach may seem like a mystery to some who still doubt, but is clear to all who believe. Don’t try to interpret the meaning of all authority in Heaven and earth. That could lead you away from the main point. Summations in the other gospels add some of the details for you.
Mark 16:15-20 NLTse And then he told them, “Go into all the world and preach the Good News to everyone. (16) Anyone who believes and is baptized will be saved. But anyone who refuses to believe will be condemned. (17) These miraculous signs will accompany those who believe: They will cast out demons in my name, and they will speak in new languages. (18) They will be able to handle snakes with safety, and if they drink anything poisonous, it won’t hurt them. They will be able to place their hands on the sick, and they will be healed.” (19) When the Lord Jesus had finished talking with them, he was taken up into heaven and sat down in the place of honor at God’s right hand. (20) And the disciples went everywhere and preached, and the Lord worked through them, confirming what they said by many miraculous signs.
Mark adds some interesting details in his summation. He repeats the word believe three times. This is in contrast to Matthew who pointed out some doubted. The contrast brings up a point to consider. Mark also adds a list of miraculous signs that will accompany those who believe: “They will cast out demons in my name, and they will speak in new languages. They will be able to handle snakes with safety, and if they drink anything poisonous, it won’t hurt them. They will be able to place their hands on the sick, and they will be healed.” How many times have we seen demons cast out, people speaking in new languages, handling snakes, or drinking poison without being effected? If we only looked at these on the physical level we miss the spiritual message. Jesus is talking about the future. He is providing a prophecy. Remember the spiritual fulfillment is always greater than the symbol. Casting out demons in Jesus’ name is a clue. Look at the transformation of Mary. Jesus cast out a number of demons from her. Did scripture dwell on the physical aspects or the spiritual change in Mary? Once we understand the spiritual change, we begin to understand the spiritual fulfillment. Mark agrees in his closing statement. The disciples went everywhere and preached, and the Lord worked through them, confirming what they said by many miraculous signs. We also have to understand the spiritual meaning of the Lord working through us before we can see and understand miraculous signs that confirmed what they taught. Remember the message Jesus gave them to teach was, He is risen. We covered one example in Mary, looking at how she expressed her love for Jesus, how she was able to give far more than she had and how she was one of the first to receive the message. Luke adds more details to help us understand.
Luke 24:49-53 NLTse “And now I will send the Holy Spirit, just as my Father promised. But stay here in the city until the Holy Spirit comes and fills you with power from heaven.” (50) Then Jesus led them to Bethany, and lifting his hands to heaven, he blessed them. (51) While he was blessing them, he left them and was taken up to heaven. (52) So they worshiped him and then returned to Jerusalem filled with great joy. (53) And they spent all of their time in the Temple, praising God.
Luke reminds us how Jesus will send the Holy Spirit. When Jesus sent the Holy Spirit, He expected His disciples to have the same relationship with the Spirit as they had with Him. Jesus performed all the miracles and did all the teaching. Jesus also told His disciples there’s a difference between things from Heaven and those from this world. Jesus told them not to confuse the two. Why did the disciples stay in Jerusalem and spend all of their time in the Temple, praising God? What does that have to do with teaching all over the world? Its the process. Jesus finished His public ministry in the temple court. This is where the disciples began theirs by praising God. As they waited for God’s Spirit, the disciples did what they knew how to do, praise God. They learned to set the example they needed to portray before they began attracting people. This shows how the example you set works hand in hand with God’s message. It also shows how the wrong message will also set the wrong example as well as teaching us if we reverse this simple order, we are doing nothing but wasting our time. We are not following everything Jesus commanded us to do. Notice how Luke repeats the words Heaven and blessing? He established the point, all our blessings come from Heaven. We also see how Luke adds details to Mark’s summation. We often see self proclaimed prophets claiming they have supernatural powers. Luke shows us how they have to first display a relationship with God’s Spirit and know how to praise God before they receive those powers. Once again we see an established order.
John 20:26-31 NLTse Eight days later the disciples were together again, and this time Thomas was with them. The doors were locked; but suddenly, as before, Jesuswas standing among them. “Peace be with you,” he said. (27) Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here, and look at my hands. Put your hand into the wound in my side. Don’t be faithless any longer. Believe!” (28) “My Lord and my God!” Thomas exclaimed. (29) Then Jesus told him, “You believe because you have seen me. Blessed are those who believe without seeing me.” (30) The disciples saw Jesus do many other miraculous signs in addition to the ones recorded in this book. (31) But these are written so that you may continue to believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that by believing in him you will have life by the power of his name.
John also repeated the word believe and adds an example. The main point of the message is, Jesus is risen. How can anyone teach the message when they don’t believe? Thomas was a disciple, a pupil. He was in the learning process at the time and as we see, a few steps behind. Thomas had to see and touch Jesus to believe. How does this relate to the other summations? Matthew repeated the word disciple. We’re all learning. Some fast, some slow like Thomas. Jesus had respect and patients to teach Thomas. A lesson we can’t forget. Mark introduced the word believe and a set of signs Jesus will provide for His disciples. Did Thomas have the faith to produce any of those signs? No one can produce those signs on their own. Thomas was still at the stage of moving from the physical to the spiritual. We all are at our own learning level. Some can see the spiritual, some can understand, and others have to see the physical because that’s where their relationship is. Luke introduced the word Heaven. That’s where Jesus went and where He is. We can’t reach out like Thomas to physically touch Jesus. It has to come from Heaven. But people can see a part of Jesus through us. To see that, we have to have a relationship with Jesus where He is. We have to know Jesus, Heaven, and Jesus’ ministry in the Heavenly Sanctuary. Some how we have to become a physical link for people so they can begin their journey form the physical to the spiritual so they can make their move from this world to the Heavenly. John repeats three words to emphasize this point, disciples, believe, and Jesus. John sums up how to understand the message. How do these points relate to Psalm 30?
Psalms 30:10-12 NLTse (10) Hear me, LORD, and have mercy on me. Help me, O LORD.” (11) You have turned my mourning into joyful dancing. You have taken away my clothes of mourning and clothed me with joy, (12) that I might sing praises to you and not be silent. O LORD my God, I will give you thanks forever!
Looking back, Psalm 30 completes the picture by showing us how Jesus will actually dance with joy when He sees His disciples understand and follow His instructions. Its not hard to figure out Jesus’ joy. He went to the cross seeing how much His disciples missed. Jesus knew it was going to take more than just words and scripture to convince His disciples. Its to sad to see people today claiming to be Jesus’ disciple, but they don’t know Him or His message. They can’t see Jesus on the cross, or feel the emotion. They can’t share His pain, or His joy. They don’t want to reach out and feel the physical and have no chance of experiencing the spiritual aspects of the message. John also points us to a specific day which lead us to a question. How much time did Jesus spend reteaching His disciples? During the forty days after his crucifixion, he appeared to the apostles from time to time, and he proved to them in many ways that he was actually alive. And he talked to them about the Kingdom of God. Once when he was eating with them, he commanded them, “Do not leave Jerusalem until the Father sends you the gift he promised, as I told you before. John baptized with water, but in just a few days you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.” (Acts 1:3-5 NLTse).
Luke tells us Jesus spent forty days teaching the disciples how He fulfilled all of those prophecies. What else would Jesus teach? When we follow the general rule of looking back at previous texts, we are looking back at John chapter 21. What happened in that chapter. Jesus tested Peter. What did Jesus test Peter on? His love. This pulls us right back to the example Mary set. Remember she was one of the first to receive the message, Jesus is risen. Jesus showed us again what it takes to preach this message, the right message. It takes love. Not a simple love passing in the night hanging on until something better comes a long. It takes a real love.
Why did Jesus appear to the disciples from time to time? Why didn’t He stay with them all the time? They only had forty days to learn everything about the prophecies Jesus fulfilled. That meant to cover all the prophecies they would have to review about eight a day. Jesus left them on their own for two reasons. They had to review their own actions, how they reacted while those prophecies were being fulfilled. The disciples had to learn how they missed the signs so they wouldn’t repeat the same mistakes. They also had to learn to listen to God’s Spirit so they could appreciate His full power once He appeared to them. See how the sequence is reversed? The disciples had to first see and feel Jesus before they would believe. With the Holy Spirit they had to believe before they could see and feel. This should be self explanatory for all of Jesus’ disciples no matter what stage they are at in their learning experience. Remember how the priests asked for a sign after seeing Jesus heal so many people? Jesus gave them a sign. Did they believe after seeing the fulfillment of that sign? You have to learn and follow the sequence to advance from one level to the next. Don’t pretend your at a higher level. Your only fooling yourself. Worse yet, your also fooling others and holding them back.
There’s also another important point in Acts we need to look at. It also concerns the learning process. So when the apostles were with Jesus, they kept asking him,“Lord, has the time come for you to free Israel and restore our kingdom?” He replied, “The Father alone has the authority to set those dates and times, and they are not for you to know. But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you. And you will be my witnesses, telling people about me everywhere–in Jerusalem, throughout Judea, in Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” After saying this, he was taken up into a cloud while they were watching, and they could no longer see him.(Acts 1:6-9 NLTse).
We can see how after Jesus’ resurrection they still didn’t understand Jesus’ ministry or the message they were given. The disciples were still stuck on the wrong interpretations of the prophecies Jesus explained. Here is an important lesson we need to look at two ways. First look in the mirror and decide for yourself. Are you going to take the word of the mouth in the mirror, or God’s Spirit? The disciples had to learn to put away everything they were taught by the world before they were ready to meet the Holy Spirit, before they were ready to be witnesses for Christ. Which brings us to the second point. Your wasting your time with anyone who thinks they already know it all and have been taught to rely on what they’ve been told. Those kind of people are the hardest to reach. Remember Jesus left His disciples alone and met with them from time to time. It takes reflection, time alone with self and the Holy Spirit. It’s time for a battle between the two – self and God’s Spirit. It’s a battle we all face, if we want to. Otherwise, we never prepare ourselves to meet God’s Spirit. Look how Israel had to prepare themselves to listen to God talk to them from His mountain and see a glimpse of His power. After witnessing all those miracles in Egypt, they still didn’t get it. They failed to properly prepare themselves. They didn’t reflect on their personal need for God to lead them to the promised land. What was the result? Israels asked Moses to stand between them and God. Its the same mistake repeated today. People want to reply on preachers, elders, conference leaders and even the government to lead them. No wonder the world missed or forgot God’s message. God is second, third, forth, always the last in line when it comes to seeking the truth. So learn from the disciples. Forget what you’ve learned from the world. Open your mind, thoughts, emotions and heart to God’s Spirit. The first letters of heart is HEAR. Learn to listen. He knows how to correct you when your ready and willing. Stop trying to change the world to be like yourself. If that’s your attitude, it won’t be a change for the better. Most of all, learn to love. First Jesus, then the world. Love is the most important factor in receiving the message directly from Jesus.
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