Jesus Has Risen!
On the first day of the week, very early in the morning, the women took the spices they had prepared and went to the tomb. 2 They found the stone rolled away from the tomb, 3 but when they entered, they did not find the body of the Lord Jesus. 4 While they were wondering about this, suddenly two men in clothes that gleamed like lightning stood beside them. 5 In their fright the women bowed down with their faces to the ground, but the men said to them, “Why do you look for the living among the dead? 6 He is not here; He has risen! Remember how He told you, while He was still with you in Galilee: 7 ‘The Son of Man must be delivered over to the hands of sinners, be crucified and on the third day be raised again.’ ” 8 Then they remembered His words.
9 When they came back from the tomb, they told all these things to the Eleven and to all the others. 10 It was Mary Magdalene, Joanna, Mary the mother of James, and the others with them who told this to the apostles. 11 But they did not believe the women, because their words seemed to them like nonsense. 12 Peter, however, got up and ran to the tomb. Bending over, he saw the strips of linen lying by themselves, and he went away, wondering to himself what had happened.
On the Road to Emmaus
13 Now that same day two of them were going to a village called Emmaus, about seven miles from Jerusalem. 14 They were talking with each other about everything that had happened. 15 As they talked and discussed these things with each other, Jesus Himself came up and walked along with them; 16 but they were kept from recognizing Him. 17 He asked them, “What are you discussing together as you walk along?”
They stood still, their faces downcast. 18 One of them, named Cleopas, asked him, “Are you the only one visiting Jerusalem who does not know the things that have happened there in these days?”
19 “What things?” He asked.
“About Jesus of Nazareth,” they replied. “He was a prophet, powerful in word and deed before God and all the people. 20 The chief priests and our rulers handed him over to be sentenced to death, and they crucified him; 21 but we had hoped that he was the one who was going to redeem Israel. And what is more, it is the third day since all this took place. 22 In addition, some of our women amazed us. They went to the tomb early this morning 23 but didn’t find his body. They came and told us that they had seen a vision of angels, who said He was alive. 24 Then some of our companions went to the tomb and found it just as the women had said, but they did not see Jesus.”
25 He said to them, “How foolish you are, and how slow to believe all that the prophets have spoken! 26 Did not the Messiah have to suffer these things and then enter His glory?” 27 And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, He explained to them what was said in all the Scriptures concerning Himself.
28 As they approached the village to which they were going, Jesus continued on as if He were going farther. 29 But they urged him strongly, “Stay with us, for it is nearly evening; the day is almost over.” So He went in to stay with them.
30 When He was at the table with them, he took bread, gave thanks, broke it and began to give it to them. 31 Then their eyes were opened and they recognized Him, and He disappeared from their sight. 32 They asked each other, “Were not our hearts burning within us while He talked with us on the road and opened the Scriptures to us?”
33 They got up and returned at once to Jerusalem. There they found the Eleven and those with them, assembled together 34 and saying, “It is true! The Lord has risen and has appeared to Simon.” 35 Then the two told what had happened on the way, and how Jesus was recognized by them when he broke the bread.
Jesus Appears to the Disciples
36 While they were still talking about this, Jesus Himself stood among them and said to them, “Peace be with you.”
37 They were startled and frightened, thinking they saw a ghost. 38 He said to them, “Why are you troubled, and why do doubts rise in your minds? 39 Look at my hands and my feet. It is I myself! Touch me and see; a ghost does not have flesh and bones, as you see I have.”
40 When He had said this, He showed them his hands and feet. 41 And while they still did not believe it because of joy and amazement, He asked them, “Do you have anything here to eat?” 42 They gave him a piece of broiled fish, 43 and He took it and ate it in their presence.
44 He said to them, “This is what I told you while I was still with you: Everything must be fulfilled that is written about Me in the Law of Moses, the Prophets and the Psalms.”
45 Then He opened their minds so they could understand the Scriptures. 46 He told them, “This is what is written: The Messiah will suffer and rise from the dead on the third day, 47 and repentance for the forgiveness of sins will be preached in His name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem. 48 You are witnesses of these things. 49 I am going to send you what my Father has promised; but stay in the city until you have been clothed with power from on high.”
The Ascension of Jesus
50 When He had led them out to the vicinity of Bethany, He lifted up His hands and blessed them. 51 While He was blessing them, He left them and was taken up into Heaven. 52 Then they worshiped Him and returned to Jerusalem with great joy. 53 And they stayed continually at the temple, praising God.
Luke 24: 1-53
Fact cred: Funology.com
Heads up! This is going to be a long entry, not because I don't know how to summarize (well...), but because I feel that the information matters. :-)
Christmas is so full of wonder, meaning and tradition. But, where did all these things that we now call "Christmas" come from?
The Biblical Celebration
What an amazing picture of Christ's coming to us. As John 1 says, He came to a sin-darkened world, He came as a Sunrise from on High and offered a free gift of salvation and liberation from servitude to the servants of darkness. Actually, John 1 says a lot more than that...worth a complete read.
The True Christmas Story
The Birth of Jesus (Luke 2:1-20)
At that time the Roman emperor, Augustus, decreed that a census should be taken throughout the Roman Empire. 2 (This was the first census taken when Quirinius was governor of Syria.) 3 All returned to their own ancestral towns to register for this census. 4 And because Joseph was a descendant of King David, he had to go to Bethlehem in Judea, David’s ancient home. He traveled there from the village of Nazareth in Galilee. 5 He took with him Mary, to whom he was engaged, who was now expecting a child.
6 And while they were there, the time came for her baby to be born. 7 She gave birth to her firstborn son. She wrapped him snugly in strips of cloth and laid him in a manger, because there was no lodging available for them.
The Shepherds and Angels
8 That night there were shepherds staying in the fields nearby, guarding their flocks of sheep. 9 Suddenly, an angel of the Lord appeared among them, and the radiance of the Lord’s glory surrounded them. They were terrified, 10 but the angel reassured them. “Don’t be afraid!” he said. “I bring you good news that will bring great joy to all people. 11 The Savior—yes, the Messiah, the Lord—has been born today in Bethlehem, the city of David! 12 And you will recognize him by this sign: You will find a baby wrapped snugly in strips of cloth, lying in a manger.”
13 Suddenly, the angel was joined by a vast host of others—the armies of Heaven—praising God and saying,
14 “Glory to God in Highest Heaven, and peace on earth to those with whom God is pleased.”
15 When the angels had returned to Heaven, the shepherds said to each other, “Let’s go to Bethlehem! Let’s see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.”
16 They hurried to the village and found Mary and Joseph. And there was the baby, lying in the manger. 17 After seeing him, the shepherds told everyone what had happened and what the angel had said to them about this child. 18 All who heard the shepherds’ story were astonished, 19 but Mary kept all these things in her heart and thought about them often. 20 The shepherds went back to their flocks, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen. It was just as the angel had told them.
Christian Meaning in Some Ancient Traditions
Some Modern Additions
Poem Author Unknown (but I'd be happy to credit him/her if I knew who wrote it)
Jesus is the gift that perfectly fits every heart,
and it is with His love that all celebration starts.
We rejoice in Him as we remember His birth
and thank God for sending His only Son to earth.
His life led from a manger to a cross on a hill
where He faithfully followed His Father's perfect will.
He freely laid down everything so that we could live,
and there is no greater treasure anyone could give.
Like a scarlet ribbon, His love wrapped around the cross
and He offered it all to us at the greatest cost.
So each time we give gifts, we remember what He has done
and honor the perfect gift, God's one and only Son.
It's Holy Week. One of the most important times of the year (next to Christmas when we celebrate the birth of Jesus). I found this GodTube video earlier...or rather, the Spirit guided me there. It's brilliant because it depicts true accounts in a creative way. It's a bit more than 5 minutes long, but it's worth watching every second. Hope you enjoy this video as much as I do.
God is good! Jesus is love! We are blessed!
If you're anything at all like me, then you've already started thinking about Christmas. The moment we rang in the new year, it was sort of a sinking feeling because yet another Christmas had passed.
For me, Christmas is the celebration of Jesus' birth and a reminder of His gift, His sacrifice. It is also a time of particular love, happiness and warmth. A time when the world feels more at peace...or at least my home town. And this excludes the crazed Midnight Madness shoppers because I'm afraid that some of them have totally lost the spirit of the season...it's in their eyes as they fight for the discount clothes and toys that their kids wanted so badly for Christmas...things that in the long run really don't matter. It's sad to me how at the strike of midnight on December 26, all the good feelings...the joy of the season and all the somewhat unified happiness and peace...seems to melt away as we all sort of return to our "regularly scheduled lives."
So a few things I want to mention as I reflect on Christmas this morning...
I found a great poem on a Christian poems website. It serves as a great reminder of the true spirit of Christmas in a unique way. Hope you love it as much as I do.
PS: What does Christmas mean to you?
Chocolate for Christmas
a beautiful poem by Margaret Cagle
Over in a third world country,
A missionary served God well.
The story of salvation's plan
To many people, she did tell.
She especially loved to teach
Those little children so dear.
She had a burden for the lost,
And she had a great mission here.
One of the little girls got saved.
She witnessed to her brother one day.
He asked, "How can I really know
That Jesus hears me when I pray?"
He said, "One day I tasted chocolate,
And I would like to have some more.
I will pray to Jesus and ask Him
For chocolate like I had before."
This little boy then prayed to Jesus
For some delicious chocolate to eat.
His sister knew chocolate was rare,
So inside she really felt defeat.
In America, in a Sunday School,
Joyfully every lad and every lass
Were busy gathering Christmas gifts
To send to that missionary's class.
One little boy brought a chocolate bar.
He brought a big king-sized one.
The teacher was reluctant to send it,
For chocolate will melt in the sun.
They carefully packed the chocolate
In the very middle of that crate.
Then they sent those Christmas gifts.
They didn't want them to be late.
Christmas came, and all the gifts
Were gladly given to every child.
The little brother opened his gift,
And with joy, he really went wild.
"Look, Sister! Jesus does hear
When I get on my knees and pray.
I have a big piece of chocolate
For my special Christmas gift today!"
Little brother went to the teacher.
He humbly got on his knees to pray.
He asked Jesus Christ to save him.
He received Jesus that very day.
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