In Dallas Willard's helpful guide to kingdom life titled The Divine Conspiracy, he used the phrase, "A Community of Prayerful Love," to describe what life would be like if we applied the Sermon on the Mount in our believing communities. How different our families can "look" and "be" when we practice the teachings of Christ. Church-life can actually be a preview of Heaven when we embrace the abundant life Jesus offers through obedience to Him. At the heart of it all is prayer...
"For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: 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..." 1 Corinthians 15:3-4
Last week we considered the words that other people said to Christ while He was on the cross. This week we'll consider the words Jesus said to others. The contrast is profound. While He was being mocked, He was blessing. While He was being accused, He was caring for others. While the weight of the world's sin was on His shoulders, He was caring for us.
The cross is one of the most recognizable symbols in the world. It has been this way since the third century. It hasn't always been used properly or understood in the way the New Testament writers intended. Nevertheless, we consider it with Paul as a matter for glory...for it was on an old rugged cross that the destiny of mankind was altered forever (See Galatians 6:14).
We've studied the first three parts of the trial of Jesus. The ruling "religious body" known as the Sanhedrin, had declared Jesus guilty of blasphemy. The penalty was death but they could not legally carry out the sentence. They needed Rome to carry out their dirty work and as the Apostles' Creed says, Jesus "suffered under Pontius Pilate."
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This is a sad text but the content of the Bible is more than "Chicken Soup for the Soul." Its writers did not set out to protect us from some of the harsh realities of a broken world. Rather, they remind us that through Jesus Christ we are given hope in these harsh realities. Judas had a tragic end; we don't have to end the same way.
Peter joined John in the courtyard of the high priest. Jesus was in the palace being "convicted" in a kangaroo court. Peter was in no state of mind (or heart) to be this close to such danger but he had disregarded Jesus' words and put himself in a precarious situation.
This may seem far removed from our lives in 2016...but this is a lot closer to where we live than we may recognize on the surface.
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