Restorations With The Resurrection

The Resurrection was a powerful time when Jesus announced to all Creation that He had taken back what was rightfully His.  As I said in Post #4 those contacts were not accidents and in this post, I will focus on the restorations that occurred in the first glorious hours and then during the rest of the time leading to Pentecost.  Jesus as the Master Healer knew what His followers had just been through, some of them had faired better in their testing than others so Jesus very carefully touched those lives at the point of need.  And that is the first important point, Jesus went to His followers and healed hurts from a traumatic event.  He did not go to the masses of people who had ushered Him into town on a donkey or the ones who marveled at His teaching in the Temple or even to Simon the Leper His dinner host.  He went to specific people in a specific order to manifest the needs in their lives for healing.  After reading and rereading the chapters on the Resurrection I realized that not only did He mean to heal them but that they represented future believers and the needs we would have.

Mary Magdalene

Mary Magdalene is the stunned believer whose paradigm of the world is shattered and is now going on natural instinct and feelings.  She was doing her best and was determined to take care of a body that had risen and no longer needed her help.  In fact, she did not even recognize Jesus at first.  But Jesus called her BY NAME to revive her flame and have her go to others to awaken them from their hurts.

John (the beloved)

John’s tender heart and love for Jesus was crushed as he accepted the responsibility for Mary, Jesus’ mother, and watched his hope die during the darkness of the cross.  He had stopped believing, the words of the women seemed nonsense but he ran to the tomb hoping with each step for a miracle.  The silent emptiness of a tomb was that miracle, it was what he needed to believe but his timidity required someone else to lead the way into his healing.

Peter

Peter, the (little) rock, the professor of the divinity of Jesus, the one who followed Jesus to trial and faced his own trial and failed as he denied his relationship with Him.  He had chosen to separate himself from Jesus but he knew his lie was a lie and he was desperate to find Jesus again.  He ran at the hope of finding Jesus but was left wondering by an empty grave.  Even though Luke and Paul both mention that Jesus met with Peter alone it is not recorded what was said or what happened.  This is as it should be because some things are not to be made public.  But Peter’s fall was so great that it took ridicule from the disciples (implied in Luke) and three more meetings before Peter could answer Jesus’ three questions and accept his calling again to “tend the sheep.”

Cleopus

Cleopus and the other unnamed disciple who identified as part of the group and had associated with them during the hours of the darkest crisis were now going the wrong way.  (Emmaus is the wrong direction from Galilee.)  He was not up to take Judas’ position or one of the “Seven Deacons” but he was around to tell Luke about his story when Luke was doing his research.  This story even made the add-on text at the end of Mark.  Possibly his wife (Mary wife of Clopas) was at the tomb (John 19:25) with the other women.  I guess my point is Jesus took the time to personally talk to him and give him the academic explanation to cure his slow heart.

The Ten

Hiding in a locked room celebrating a Jewish feast we find the handpicked instruments that Jesus was to use to change the world.  I can count but Thomas was not there the first night that Jesus appeared and Judas, if he were alive, would not have been welcomed.  How many were actually there? It could have been twelve or it could have been 120 we do not know.  So I am going to handle this set of people differently.

This group of Eleven had run from Jesus, just three nights before, leaving Him with an angry mob.  Their plans of kingdoms and positions of authority had changed with a Roman cross.  Fear had kept all but two from going to the tomb when their trusted sisters were proclaiming a risen Jesus.  Mary Magdalene and Peter were ignored when they claimed personal visitation.  Still, Jesus’ first words to them were “Peace be with you.”  His fallen leaders needed peace and a good rebuke for their lack of faith so that is what they got but they also were given the assurance that He was alive and not a ghost.  They touched Jesus and ate with Him.  More importantly, He breathed on them the Holy Spirit and a way to have peace – to forgive sins of those that had just offended them.

The other group is the faithful men and women who had walked with and taken care of Jesus.  Maybe some were from the seventy-two He had sent out!  But now it was a whole group of people that had confused frightened leaders and were leaning to old religious customs and not on Jesus.  He had come to give the whole group PEACE.

Thomas

Thomas the future apostle to India was not at Jesus’ first visitation.  He, in true form of the other disciples, refused to believe words that sounded like nonsense.  I hope he was with his family for the beginning of the Feast of Unleavened Bread but the fact is that he had left the group during a time when you might have expected everyone to be together.  So Jesus shows Himself again (during the meal to end the Feast) proclaims “Peace” and sets about to restore a prodigal son and chosen leader.  It must be noted here that they still have not left for Galilee.

The Seven in the Boat

John in his Gospel points out that this was the third time that Jesus had shown Himself to His disciples.  The good news is that at least they were in Galilee.  The seven were Simon Peter, Thomas, Nathanael from Cana, James, John, and two other disciples.  For editorial sake only let us name the “other two” as Joseph and Matthias the men who were selected to take Judas’ place.  Some literature suggests that Peter was not just fishing that day but he was going to make it his profession again.  Not only is the cast of characters important but so is the fact they caught nothing.

It seems that the only one who really recognized Jesus was John.  Peter had not and the others were afraid to ask who He was when they reached the shore.  He met their physical needs by having breakfast ready for them and even though the three questions were addressed to Peter, I will guess all of them were trying to answer those questions.  Jesus will give additional support when it is needed and apparently these guys had to have more quality time with the Lord.

The 500

Paul in 1 Corinthians 15: 6 is the only writer to mention this meeting.  Matthew may refer to it in his gospel but there were probably many unrecorded meetings.  Who could these five hundred have been?  How many had been part of the seventy-two missionaries Jesus had sent out?  Had they been part of the 9000 men who had been fed on those two special days?  Had they followed Him through Nain when He raised the dead son?  This list could go on for a while but several Gospels make the point that people still doubted when they saw Jesus during these forty days of the Resurrection.  Even in this doubt Jesus met with them, fed them, and taught on His Kingdom.

How many of these people joined the Apostles in the Upper Room for prayer and so were counted in the 120 on the day of Pentecost no one records that.  Were the other 380 in the crowd when Peter preached the first post-Jesus sermon?  We do know that people professed to have been there because Paul says most of them were still alive when he wrote to the Corinthians.  So His presence must have healed the doubt and strengthened their lives.

James

This should be His half-brother James, the author of the epistle and the head of the Jerusalem Church.  Jesus knew he had a job to do but the only mention of Jesus’ brothers was of them mocking Him about Passover or being with Mary trying to retrieve her “crazy” son.  Imagine having Jesus as an older brother!  What must the family thought when He turned water into wine and started having crowds of people following after Him to be healed.  This private conversion did the work because in those ten days from the Ascension to Pentecost Mary His mother and His brothers are listed as those present in the upper room constantly praying.  So for those living in the shadows of family members Jesus wants to meet you in the Resurrection and give you a job to do.

Fruit and Nuts – Mark + Almonds

John Mark, the writer of the Gospel of Mark, is our first example of “fruit” from a ministry, that of Barnabas his cousin (Colossians 4:10). Barnabas “the encourager” took him under his wing when he and Paul had a falling out because of Mark (Acts 15:39). We really don’t hear a lot about Barnabas again but Paul tells Timothy to bring him along when he comes to see him (2Timothy 4:11). That is a real turn around for Paul and a line of thought is that change in Mark was because of Barnabas. He also helped Peter in his ministry (1 Peter 5:13).

Barnabas gets credit for the “fruit” but lets look at where the “seeds” got planted. (Warning some of this comes from a very active imagination.)

Jesus himself, I believe, planted the seeds of Mark’s faith, because I think Mark was frequently with the disciples. Many scholars will say that there is a probability that Mark was the young man who “lost” his clothes in the Garden the night Jesus was arrested. Why would he have been with them? The upper room was at his house! Peter went back to Mary’s house (there were several) after the angel let him out of jail (Acts 12:12) this Mary is identified as Mark’s mother.  That would have also put him in the prayer meeting at Pentecost and possibly he was the one carrying the jug that the disciples followed to find the room (Mark 14:13).

Personally, I think that Peter and Andrew were his uncles and James and John were his cousins (Why not?). That would lead into this idea real easy; Mark was the little boy with the five biscuit and two fish lunch. (I warned you.) I actually wrote a short story along that train of thought; he went along for the boat ride when Jesus needed the rest. But can you imagine getting a little boy’s attention for life with that miracle and what could his mother say when he comes home with twelve baskets of leftovers.

See this site for St. Mark http://www.americancatholic.org/Features/Saints/Saint.aspx?id=1364

Now for the nuts – almonds.

The two stories that always get my attention about almonds are the ones in: Jeremiah 1: 11,12 I see a rod of almond; You have seen well, for I am watching over my word to perform it. and Numbers 17:8 were Aaron’s rod produced almonds in the Tent of Meetings.

The almond tree is the first tree to blossom in the spring so it became associated with watchers and the “first one”; the word almond comes from “shaqad” to be alert, sleepless, on the lookout for – hasten, remain, wake, watch. These scriptures are where it is used with these meanings: Watch– Jeremiah 31:28, 44:27, Proverbs 8:34; Wake-Psalm 127:1; Hasten– Jeremiah 1:12.  It is a play on words in Jeremiah 1:12 with the almonds and watching (footnote NIV).

The name Luz (the town that became Bethel) has a reference to almond trees.  This is where Jacob had his dream of the ladder to heaven.

The menorah or lamp had almond shaped cups for the flames. The Macabees received a miracle, the sign to continue the rebellion, with this type of lamp. The oil kept burning for a week instead of a day.

Over the years I have used several reference books to gather this material on almonds but this one had several interesting stories with it http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Almond

For almond pic http://www.rootsofpeace.org/press/press-2009/2009/11/big-buzz-with-afghan-farmers-1.html

For menorah pic  http://www.judaica-mall.com/16307.htm

Be Still and Know God #2

Psalm 46:10 – Be still, and know that I AM God

“Know” is yada it means knowing by observing and reflecting on things or by experiencing it.

I really did not deal with the knowing part of the verse in the first study, mostly because I did not have an idea of how too. But talking before a church service with my Pray Partner Team, more or less on this subject it gave me some direction.

How do you know God and how do you know God was the two questions that came out of that conversion.  No, they really are not the same question. Let me try again.

Do you know God by studying, praying and or fasting?  Then, how do you know God: Savior, Healer, Teacher, the Big Man up stairs, is He my Lord or your Lord or Someone you visit three times a year?

A problem I had with this question was the people that read their Bible cover to cover every year and have read it in several translations and do a lot of good things and Jesus will still say, “Depart from me for I never knew you (Matthew 25:41).” Brother Darwin helped with this question when he stated a difference between logos and rhema words of God. People can have a logos word by reading and that is all they ever have; then there are people who have had a rhema word and it changes them. Rhema words are those special words that speak to your heart and change you in some way.

Back to yada and my questions of “how do you know God?” If you want an answer, you will have to have both, as an example let me use two of my favorite examples – Peter and Paul.  Peter “grew up” with Jesus, he walked and talked with Him, healed, ministered and listened to Him teach – truly a logos experience. Peter also denied Jesus but because Jesus loved him after the denials he had a rhema experience.  Paul also had logos as a Pharisee but tried to destroy the church until he had his rhema experience (Acts 9). He then spent the rest of his life experiencing Jesus as he ran his race.

1 John 4:7

Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God.  Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God.  This is a beautiful statement just as it is but if we do a search in the concordance and replace a few words it deepens the message of love just a bit.

Dear friends, let us actively love (agape) one another, for active love comes from the one true God (theos).  Everyone who loves activity has been born of the one true God and knows the one true God.

On a side note John uses the word born more than any other New Testament writer.

Any look at the word love needs to go to John 21:15; this is where Jesus is asking Peter if he loves Him.  The first two times Jesus ask about Peter’s love he uses the word agape and Peter answers with the word phileo. Phileo means affection or very high regard and though it is related to agape it does not have as deep a meaning.

Rock or chip off of the Block?

Simon, son of John, we know him better as Peter (Cephas) and he is a favorite character in the Bible and one that shows “God-growth” from the beginning to the end of his story.  A meaning of Simon comes from the word for “hearing” and John means “Jehovah-favored” and this may all come from a word that means, “dove” and it is a possible form of Jonah (some Bible translations will use Jonah instead of John).  (Those “Jonah” people and fish, boats and water, sounds like another Bible study to me.) Cephas or Peter means a “piece of rock” or small pebble.

Matthew 16:18 is a verse that I think needs to be looked at a little different. Why would Jesus say that Peter, a “small piece of rock”, would have the church built on him when he used a term for a “large rock” in the same passage?  Lets try it this way; Jesus points at Peter and says he is a “part of the rock” and then gestures towards himself and says but on the “big rock (Jesus)” will the Church be built.

Resources: The New Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible, my brother Luther