God-in-a-Box–Your Inbox… for appreciating God
Get a Cosmic View of Jesus' Life in Small Bytes

Apr
18

Image  Get to know God by meditating on Jesus’ life, 250 words a day, five days a week, Easter to Easter

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Apr
17
It’s Peter’s nature to be impulsive–and he’s been forgiven most so should love Jesus most. The other six bring in the boat and the catch, and find Jesus with a fire, bread, and fish.
“Bring some fish, come and eat,” invites Jesus.
Peter helps drag the net in. When finished, they sit down, in awe. Jesus breaks and distributes bread and fish as usual, but no one asks where He got the fire or food.
They remember the miracle from before when Jesus promised to make them fishers of men. Jesus wants to make sure they know that anyone staying connected with him cannot fail. Regardless of appearances, He will provide.
He also wants to make them sure about Peter. So while eating, Jesus turns to Peter, “Simon, do you love me more than these?” He asks, giving him opportunity to regain the confidence of the others.
Peter had boasted of his greater loyalty in front of them. Now he says simply, “Yes, Lord, you know that I love you.”
Jesus replies, “Feed my lambs.”
It’s quiet, and a few minutes pass. Again, Jesus asks, “Simon, do you love me?”
Peter is free from bravado, “Yes, Lord, you know I love you.”
“Feed my flock,” says Jesus.
A bit later Jesus asks yet again, “Simon, do you love me?”
Peter is sad, thinking Jesus doubts him. Heart aching, he answers, “Lord, You know all things, You know that I love You.”
“Feed my sheep.” Jesus says.
Personal failures can be admitted to God alone; public failure needs public forgiveness and restoration.
John 21:8-17
Apr
16
At the end of Passover week, the disciples gladly head home, exhausted and ready for rest after all the trauma, anxiety, and excitement.
Seven of them are hanging-out, passing time until Jesus’ specified meeting in Galilee. It’s evening when Peter says, “I’m going fishing!” The others eagerly agree, and off they go.
So many memories are connected with this lake: being terrified, Jesus calming storms and fears, Jesus walking on water, (and Peter too), helping feed over ten thousand people with a few loaves and fish.
They are so different now, three years later. Not rich and honored as they’d imagined and hoped, but none-the-less changed. They have been mentored by the greatest teacher ever. They have become refined.
But they still love fishing. And besides, they are in need of food and clothes which a good night of fishing would supply.
As they work, they remember and talk about their memories, but become sad as they question their future. What is going to happen to them? No dreams of glory now.  And all night they’ve caught nothing. Discouragement takes over.
At dawn, they’re a hundred yards out and someone on shore calls, “Friends, do you have any fish?”
When they answer “No,” he says “Try the right side of the boat.” (His side.)
They do it, (without objection or wondering?) and the net is so full they can’t bring it in.
“It is the Lord!” half-whispers John.
Elated, Peter forgets fish, friends, and work, and putting on his tunic–he dresses for Jesus, dives in and swims to Him.
John 21:1-7
Apr
15
When Jesus appeared to the disciples in the upper room, Thomas wasn’t there.
When he hears they have seen Jesus, he is bitterly disappointed, and determined not to believe until he sees Jesus alive for himself. He is wounded that everyone but him has seen his Lord, and broods for a week. He repeatedly tells them, “Unless I see the wounds, and touch his hands and feet and side, I won’t believe.”
Many disciples are using the upper room as their temporary home, and at evening all, except Thomas, gather here.
One evening he determines to meet with them, and that night, though doors are locked, suddenly Jesus is there.
“Peace to you,” says Jesus, just as before, and then turning to Thomas, “Reach out your hand and put your fingers in my scars and on my side, and don’t doubt, don’t choose unbelief, but believe.”
Thomas realizes Jesus came just for him. His heart leaps and he falls at Jesus’ feet, joyfully exclaiming “My Lord and my God!”
“Thomas,” Jesus reproves gently, “you believe because you have seen. Happy are those who believe without seeing.”
If you wait for your doubts to be removed, you could get stuck in unbelief. Thomas chose to be miserable. Doubt trains your brain to look for the negative–the downside of life. And then when confidence and faith are required, you find yourself powerless to believe. You haven’t built in the structures for it.
Start now.  Choose to believe. Choose to see the good. Choice is power.
Luke 24:33-48,  John 20:19-29
Apr
14
The two from Emmaus reach Jerusalem late at night. Knowing the eastern gate is left open on holidays, they hurriedly go to the upper room where the disciples have stayed since Thursday night. These two know that no one will sleep until they find out what has happened to Jesus’ body. They find the doors barred, and  knocking brings no answer or sound.
They give their names and the door is unlocked and opens. Unseen, Jesus enters with them.
Ten disciples overflow with excitement, saying, “Jesus is risen! Simon has seen Him!”
The two travelers, still catching their breath, tell about walking to Emmaus with Jesus, but not recognizing him. They tell how their hearts sparked with hope as he shared scriptures, and how they recognized him.
They’ve just finished, when everyone realizes someone else is in the room with them. No one knocked, no one came in, but they see Jesus, and are startled.
“Peace to you,” He says. They recognize him and his voice, but they are afraid, thinking he’s a ghost.
“Do you have anything to eat?” He asks, showing them his hands and feet. After he eats fish and honeycomb they’re convinced it’s really Him! And celebrating begins.
Then he explains the scriptures speaking of his suffering, death, and resurrection the third day, and he commissions them to receive the  Spirit and share his forgiveness.
We, too, are often afraid Jesus isn’t real; but He will speak peace to us, also, (It’s really Him!) if we open our hearts, and ask, “Stay with me.”
Luke 24:33-48,  John 20:19-23
Apr
11
On the way to Emmaus,  their traveling companion, the “stranger,” shares prophecy after prophecy. Cleopas and his friend look at each other. They can see hope rising in the other. Their hearts are throbbing with it as Jesus talks. Could it be Jesus’ death was supposed to happen? Had been planned before creation?
They reach their home, but Jesus acts as if he will continue; he waits, not assuming he will be invited in.
They beg him to stay with them, pointing out that it will soon be dark and unsafe to travel. Though they don’t yet know him, they love his words, wanting to hear more.
He goes in with them and sits down to share their simple evening meal of bread.
As He raises his hands to bless it, suddenly their eyes clear and they recognize him–especially the wounds from the nails. “Jesus!” they cry.  And He vanishes.
Now they jump up, forgetting all about eating, and their fatigue, “Didn’t our hearts burn as he talked with us on the way?” they say to each other, and they set out for Jerusalem.
Back they go, over the same eight-mile mountain road. It’s dark now and sometimes they slip, not seeing. Once they lose their way and find it again, talking constantly in wonder. All the while, they have an unseen companion, protecting them and enjoying their joy. Their hearts leap with it. The world seems all new.
They can’t get there fast enough! Can’t wait to say we have seen Him! He is alive!
Luke 24:27-33
Apr
10

It’s late Sunday afternoon. Two followers of Jesus are walking the eight miles home to Emmaus after being in Jerusalem for Passover. They’re talking about Jesus death, and their sadness and confusion over the news of the empty tomb.

They are joined by a stranger, but don’t realize that it’s Jesus. They’re intent on their discussion and somehow are kept from recognizing him. He wants to be unrecognized so he can teach them about his mission through the prophecies. If they know him, they will be overjoyed and feel no need of anything more.

He longs to comfort them, and replace their tears with joy, but first he wants them to understand the scriptures pointing to him. So he asks, “What are you discussing that makes you so sad?”

One of them, Cleopas, says, “Are you the only person who doesn’t know what’s happened in Jerusalem?” They tell him about Jesus, a prophet who healed and taught wonderfully, and how they had hoped and believed he was the Messiah.

“But our priests and rulers condemned him and had him crucified. This is the third day and some have seen his empty tomb.”

They see his death as the end of hope, when it’s the opposite. The priests didn’t forget his words; why did they?

“Why are you so slow to believe? And fools when it comes to understanding scripture?” Jesus asks. Now he has their attention! And beginning with Moses he explains all the prophecies concerning himself to show that Messiah’s suffering and death precedes his glory.

Mark 16:11-12, Luke 24:13-27

Apr
09

Later that Sunday, Jesus appears to all the women and says, “My ladies, look, all of you! I am alive! Go tell the disciples, and Peter, to go to Galilee and I will meet them there.”

Jesus first appears to women! They were considered less than men, usually property, and Jesus honors and comforts them by allowing them to be the first to see Him alive.

Take this honor even further–Mary, the former prostitute, who has had demons cast out seven times, was the first to be honored. The sweetness and kindness of God shine through his treatment of women.

And then there is Peter. He has suffered the most of the eleven since Jesus’ death. That pain-filled, forgiving, loving look of Jesus on that awful night is always in his mind. He is tortured by his failure. He has seen the empty tomb. He aches to believe and know he is forgiven.

How comforting sound the women’s words to him! “We’ve seen Him and He said, ‘Tell my disciples, and Peter, to meet me in Galilee’.”

Peter catches the assurance for him, “He really said ‘and Peter’? Really?” His heart sings! He’s alive and I’m forgiven! He chooses to believe them, and gets his own encounter.*

But most of the disciples don’t believe them. They think they are suffering from delusion, never mind how unlikely that they all have had the same one.

They could be rejoicing with all of heaven that Jesus is alive, but they won’t give up their doubt.

Matthew 28:9-10, Mark 16:7-8, Luke 24:9-11, *24:34

Apr
08

Hearing Mary say, “His tomb is open!” Peter and John jump up and run to the tomb. She follows, and John, arriving first, stops at the doorway, but Peter runs inside. They see the folded grave clothes and Peter wonders, but John, in awe, thinks, he said he would rise again.

They walk back to Jerusalem passing Mary, shaking their heads.

She runs to the tomb, this time going in, her heart breaking. Mary sees the angels, and one says, “Woman, why are you weeping?”

“Someone’s taken my Lord, and I don’t know where he is.” She turns away, not even noticing who they are, focused on finding someone who can tell her.

As she goes outside, she sees someone else through her tears who says, “Why are you crying? Whom are you looking for?”

Supposing he is the gardener, she says, “Sir if you have taken him away, (if this rich man needs his grave) tell me where you have put him and I will take him away.” (Thinking of Lazarus’ empty tomb?)

“Mary,” Jesus says.

She recognizes that tone, that voice. She raises her head. It’s Him! And wiping her eyes, she falls at his feet, exclaiming, “Master!”

“I waited for you.” Jesus says, “But I must go, I haven’t seen My Father or heard His approval. Go tell my brothers I’ll see them soon; I’m ascending to My Father and yours.”

She runs to the others, feeling like she’s flying. “He’s alive! I have seen Jesus! I talked with him and he sent you a message!”

John 20:3-17,  Luke 24:12

Apr
07

Very early Sunday morning women are on their way to Jesus’ tomb from different directions. They feel the earthquake and suddenly think of the huge stone doorway, unaware of what’s happening right then, a mile or so away.

Mary Magdalene reaches the grave before the others, and horrified at seeing it open, immediately sets off to tell the disciples. She forgets she’s meeting others, forgets his words about rising again; and takes off running… She obviously didn’t look inside, because angels must be there waiting as they are a few minutes later.

Meanwhile, Mary the mother of James, Joanna, and Salome arrive with embalming spices and find that the stone, they were worried about moving, has been moved! The tomb empty! They see light and notice they’re not alone.

A glowing angel, appearing as a person so he won’t frighten them, says, “Don’t be afraid. I know you are looking for Jesus. He isn’t here, come and see.”

They go inside and see another angel, who says, “Remember what he said to you, that the Son of Man must be crucified and rise again the third day? Go quickly and tell his disciples and Peter.”

The women look at the folded grave clothes, too stunned to say thank you, they turn to go, saying to each other, “He is risen! He is risen!”

They are afraid to tell the disciples saying, “They won’t believe us women.” But Mary has already gotten to them and told them about the empty grave.

“Where is Jesus?” is on every mind.

Matthew 28:1, 5-10, Mark 16:1-8, Luke 24:1-9, John 20:1-2

Apr
04
Shocked that Jesus’ resurrection is real, the priests began fearing for their own lives. Satan goads them with fear of the people, prodding them to spread lies.
They can bribe the soldiers. They can even silence Pilate, but many had heard the resurrection story before the soldiers were gagged by the priests. And God provides other voices they can’t silence!
Certain dead people come to life with Jesus and speak to their loved ones and many others, giving credibility to his resurrection. They were those who had lost their lives for him–perhaps John the Baptist was one? No wonder Jesus didn’t rescue him! Lazarus has to stay on earth and die again, but John gets to go to heaven! Sometimes what seems unfair to us is God having a better idea.
Jesus, and those risen with him, were represented by the wave sheaf that was presented the day after Passover Sabbath–the first fruits of the harvest; this Passover–the harvest from earth. The voice that cried “It is finished!” had pierced the walls of rocks and graves near Jerusalem, and woke up his “sleepers” to be his witnesses.
But at his second coming, all those everywhere who have died in harmony with God will hear Jesus’ voice and come out to glorious everlasting life.*
To the believer, death is nothing to fear. It is a moment of silence–“sleep” as Jesus called it. Jesus gives immortality. We don’t naturally have it. As he said, “I AM the resurrection and the life.”** God is the source of life, only maintained by His presence.
Matthew 27:52-53,   *Isaiah 26:19,  1Thessalonians 4:13-18,  **John 11:25