Saturday, March 26, 2016

The Heart of the Gospel

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"Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion! Shout, O daughter of Jerusalem! Behold, your King is coming to you; He is just and having salvation, lowly and riding on a donkey, a colt, the foal of a donkey.[1]

This week commenced with what we know as Palm Sunday, Jesus’s triumphal entry into Jerusalem. As He rode into the city on the back of a donkey, fulfilling Zachariah’s prophesy, some euphoric townsmen spread their cloaks on the road while others waved palm branches, hailing Him as Messiah, the Prince. When the indignant Pharisees asked Jesus to quiet his disciples He replied, “I tell you that if these should keep silent, the stones would immediately cry out.”[2] Why? Because, this was the day – the day set forth by Almighty God through the angel Gabriel, concluding the second division of Daniel, the prophet’s seventy weeks.[3]

Yet, Palm Sunday also begins a most solemn time for those who believe. Triumph turned quickly to contempt. Some, who just days before, were caught up in the jubilance crying, “Blessed is He who comes in the name of the LORD!' Hosanna in the highest,”[4] now shouted, “Crucify Him!” 
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What happened? Truly, if this account were written by man, the “hero” would have gone on to win over the Pharisee’s, the Sadducee’s, and all the scoffers. But this is not written by man, it’s truth from God Almighty. It was the culmination of the fullness of time,[5] the reason God became flesh and dwelt among us.[6] Jesus Christ, God the Son, was and is the Lamb of God slain from the foundation of the world[7] for us.

But thankfully, it doesn’t end there. Yes, on the cross Jesus died in our place, canceling the unfavorable record of our sin debt.[8] Yet, three days later He did more. He conquered death for us by rising from the dead. He is alive forevermore![9]

But, did you ever think about what life would be like if Jesus had not risen from the dead?

We would be as the atheist – completely without hope. No heaven, no seeing Jesus when we die, no “…well done, thou good and faithful servant…” There would be no reason to live by God’s Word, for doing good, for being kind, for loving our neighbor and our enemy, or for considering others as better than ourselves.[10] Paul said, “…if Christ is not risen, then our preaching is empty and your faith is also empty…And if Christ is not risen, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins. If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men the most pitiable.”[11]

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It seems to me our lives are shaped by Christ’s resurrection, for it is the heart of the gospel. Even non-believers seem to hope in an “afterlife”. Sadly, they are deceived into thinking everyone goes to a better place. Still, just as believers, they hope, because Jesus DID rise from the dead[12] and God has set eternity in our hearts.[13]

So, go out and reach unbelievers with the HEART of the GOSPEL.

“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His abundant mercy has begotten us again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance incorruptible and undefiled and that does not fade away, reserved in heaven for you.”[14]



[1] Zechariah 9:9
[2] Luke 19:40
[3] Daniel 9:20-27
[4] Matthew 21:9
[5] Galatians 4:4
[6] John 1:1, 14
[7] I Peter 1:18-20; Rev. 13:8
[8] Colossians 2:13-14
[9] Revelation 1:18
[10] Philippians 2:3-4
[11] I Corinthians 15:12-19
[12] I Corinthians 15:20
[13] Ecclesiastes 3:11
[14] I Peter 1:3-4

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