John’s Revelation on Patmos

John’s Revelation on Patmos

What Happened

During Nero’s reign (54-68 AD), Christians were under heavy persecution, as Nero demanded worship for himself. His successors, Vespasian (69-79 AD) and Domitian (81-96 AD) were equally as hostel to Christians.

The Apostle John was exiled to the Island of Patmos and is widely credited with authorship of the last book in the Bible, Revelation.

This final book of the Bible was probably written around 95 AD. John sees a vision and writes down what he saw and heard.

The writer tells of the triumphant return of Jesus and shares Jesus’ moral admonitions for the seven churches in Asia minor. As much as the letters to these churches deal with events to come, they also deal with the state of faith among the believers there at the time, as well as the state of believers around the world today.

At the time, the Romans were persecuting the church and, as a result, many would turn away from the faith. But the book chronicles the victory of God over Satan and the Antichrist.

The end of time, as we know it, will come, as God establishes His Kingdom, with Jesus on the throne.

Why it matters

Revelation is a conclusion to the story that God wanted to share. Christians are encouraged to keep the faith, and in doing so, reap the benefits of eternity in God’s house.

We are given the promise of closure, the ultimate victory of good over sin and evil.

Bible Verse

17 When I saw him, I fell at his feet as though dead. Then he placed his right hand on me and said: “Do not be afraid. I am the First and the Last.

18 I am the Living One; I was dead, and now look, I am alive for ever and ever! And I hold the keys of death and Hades. 19 “Write, therefore, what you have seen, what is now and what will take place later.

Revelation 1:17-19

Why it matters to you

God does not waste words. He shares insights into events that will occur in the future, not to fill the pages or confuse the reader, but to objectively warn us about the pitfalls of life, things to avoid and give us encouragement to put our trust and faith in His plan.

We are given a glimpse of Jesus, not as Lamb of God, a gentle Rabbi, but as the King of kings and Lord of lords, in His full glory.


John most likely understood very little of what he was seeing. Like the prophets before him, John was inspirited to write down the account of what he saw, making no attempt to interpret.

Inspired by God, John transcribed what Jesus said about the churches.

What you may not know

Revelation is a classic example of apocalyptic writing. It is highly symbolic and the book can be very difficult to interpret or understand. It is the final piece in a truly remarkable book, not only signifies the end of time, but the beginning of eternity.

From the beginning, to the promise of a Messiah, to the prophecies about Jesus, to His birth, life, crucifixion to His resurrection, the Bible maps out a pathway to God.

Of the Apostles, John was the only one who died of old age, as the rest were executed. Of the original 12, John was the last one left.

Paul Writes to the Romans

Paul writes to the Romans

What Happened

Paul wrote his letter the church in Rome likely during his third missionary journey, probably around 57 AD. Paul explains God’s grace and fleshes out the reality of God’s wrath towards both Jews and Gentiles.

Paul draws on Old Testament scriptures to remind us that the righteous live by faith, and further explains that we live by faith so that we can’t boast of being righteous in our own strength. He was writing to a small community of believers both Jews and Gentiles. There were also other Jews in Rome, but not necessarily believers in Jesus.

He talks about the new Israel, with both Jews and Gentiles brought together by a common faith. Jesus’ statement that he had come to fulfill the law and the prophets comes to life in this letter, as the new nation of Israel is a nation of Christ followers, not necessarily a land.

Why it matters

Ever since Moses was given the law and the Jewish faith was established in the centuries after, people tried to live by the law, but failed to uphold all of the righteous requirements. They tried to follow the law, and in so many cases thought they had, only they hadn’t.

They offered sacrifices, but God wanted their hearts not so much their willingness to make sacrifices. Paul gives us a different way of looking at the law—it is intended to point us to the Messiah, the one who fulfilled the law.

Romans can either be a liberating force, or if Christ is rejected, an illustration of man’s failure to follow God’s law.

Bible Verse

21 But now apart from the law the righteousness of God has been made known, to which the Law and the Prophets testify. 22 This righteousness is given through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference between Jew and Gentile,

23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, 24 and all are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus. 25 God presented Christ as a sacrifice of atonement, through the shedding of his blood—to be received by faith. He did this to demonstrate his righteousness, because in his forbearance he had left the sins committed beforehand unpunished—

26 he did it to demonstrate his righteousness at the present time, so as to be just and the one who justifies those who have faith in Jesus.

Romans 3:21-26

Why it matters to you

Paul explains the difference between a personal relationship with God and religion. Religion is about what man can do to be acceptable to God. The personal relationship centers on what God did to make man acceptable to Him.

By recognizing our own shortcomings and insufficiency, we turn to God, put our trust and faith in His gift to us, the Lord Jesus Christ, and live by faith. Romans offers freedom of the soul.


Paul covers a lot of ground in this letter, and discusses the spiritual condition of people everywhere. Paul does not separate Jews and Gentiles, but explains that both are sinners and in need of salvation through Christ.

There had been previous discussions about living under the law, as the Apostles still held to their Jewish traditions. Paul writes about living in the Spirit, because the flesh cannot withstand the temptations of sin. He further explains that what the law was incapable of doing, God did through Christ.

What you may not know

This letter may well be Paul’s crowning theological achievement, as he explains the Gospel and God’s grace completely and effectively.

He was writing to the church in Rome in anticipation of his planned visit, which he made in 59 AD. Romans is an excellent guide of what Christians need to know.

Paul’s First Missionary Journey

Paul's first missionary journey

What Happened

Paul and his associate, Barnabas, set out on their first missionary journey to reach the Gentile world. They traveled from town to town and preached the good news to the people. They went into synagogues to speak to the Jewish people as well.

Paul and Barnabas were a good team, but had disagreements. Barnabas wanted to have John Mark join the team, but Paul disagreed.

Barnabas would then take his young protege with him, and Paul selected Silas to continue his missions. Later a young man named Timothy joined Paul.

Paul’s first missionary journey began in 46 AD and ended in 48 AD (Acts 13). His second trip was from 49AD to 52 AD (Acts 16) and the third was from 53 AD to 57 AD (Acts 18). He went to Rome, his final journey, in 59 AD where he stayed until his execution in 60 AD.

First Trip: 46-48 AD

Paul, Barnabas and John Mark traveled to Cyprus to visit synagogues. They encountered a false prophet named Bar-Jesus who worked for the proconsul (Roman overseer). Paul rebuked the false teacher.

The proconsul ordered that Paul and Barnabas be brought to him so that he would hear more about Jesus. There the false prophet tried to turn the proconsul away.

Paul was filled with the Spirit and Bar-Jesus was blinded. This caused the proconsul to see the power of God. He converted to Christianity.

Then they went to Perga in Pamphylia. John Mark decided to go back to Jerusalem. Paul and Barnabas went from there to Pisidian Antioch. The Jewish authorities were not amused and out of jealousy removed them from the city.

They moved on to other cities, starting churches. Paul healed a crippled man while in Galatia and some people thought the two missionaries were gods. The two proclaimed Jesus Christ to correct the wrong statements.

Second Trip: 49-52 AD

Paul and Barnabas had planted churches during their first missionary journey. Upon his return there were men preaching that Gentiles must first be circumcised in order to serve with church leaders. Paul and Barnabas traveled back to Jerusalem, first, to get this matter settled.

Paul’s troubles were not over, as he and Barnabas had a disagreement over whether or not to have John Mark accompany them on the trip.

John Mark was with them on the first tour, but left them and Paul was not happy about it. It was decided that Barnabas would take John Mark on their own trip, and so Paul invited Silas to go with him.

The purpose of this trip was to follow up on these new churches and support the ministries of the leaders.

The churches in Galatia, Corinth, Phillipi, Thessalonica and Ephasis, would be the inspiration of support letters that would later be included in the New Testament.

Third Trip: 53-57 AD

By the time Paul set out on his third missionary journey, he had already established many churches. His purpose was to shore up these churches and encourage the members. Much of his time was in Ephesus.

He had visited Antioch, so Paul went through Galatia and Phrygia, with the intent of strengthening his brothers and sisters in Christ. His third missionary journey lasted from 53 to 57 A.D. and is found in Acts chapters 18:23-21:14.

Why it matters

Paul was inspirited and was guided by God to preach to the Gentile world. Everywhere Paul went he established churches. He would stay for a while, preach the Gospel and teach the faith.

He would follow-up with leaders of the churches by sending letters. These letters would be copied, read aloud in the churches, and given to others.

These letters, called the epistles, make up much of what would later become the New Testament and are still used to teach, encourage and bring people closer to God.

Paul’s missionary trips are reported in the Bible in the book of Acts, and are important because they bridge the movement from a small, Jewish community of believers, to the hugely expanded Gentile Christian church.

Bible Verse

For this is what the Lord has commanded us:

“I have made you a light for the Gentiles,
    that you may bring salvation to the ends of the earth.”

Acts 13:47

“Therefore I want you to know that God’s salvation has been sent to the Gentiles, and they will listen!”

Acts 28:28

Why it matters to you

Paul, the once murderous Pharisee, who wanted to arrest and kill every Christian, was now the most influential voice in the movement, bringing the message of salvation to the Gentiles.

He spoke with kings, the intellectual elites and the general public. His teachings have been influential in every culture and every time period since they were first written.


Paul did not immediately set out for other countries to preach the Gospel. Rather he took time to study and learn, preparing himself for what would be a difficult challenge.

After preparing himself, he then set off to reach others. Like Jesus, Paul and Barnabas were a threat to the Jewish leaders, as the news of Jesus of Nazareth was very upsetting to the religious elites.

What you may not know

Unlike the other Apostles, Paul was a Roman citizen. Because of that he could not be abused or summarily jailed without a proper trial.

He was given the opportunity to reach out to not only the Jewish authorities, but the secular authorities as well.

Because he was a scholar, Paul was able to converse with the intellectuals in each place. He understood their religions and their beliefs. He had the good sense not to challenge those beliefs, but to share his own. He was a master communicator.

The John Mark mentioned in their first trip and was the author of the Gospel of Mark.

Peter Preaches to the Gentiles

Peter preaches to the gentiles
Peter Preaches to the Gentiles

What Happened

Prior to Paul’s conversion the Apostles stayed in Jerusalem. Jesus had told them to go out and proclaim the Gospel, the Good News, to every nation.

But the Apostles went nowhere. Paul, then called Saul, assisted as religious Jews murdered a young man named Stephen for boldly speaking out against the actions of the Jewish authorities.

That event led to the Apostles leaving town and spreading out. God gave Peter a vision that essentially tore down any division between Jews and Gentiles.

Emboldened by the Holy Spirit, Peter spoke publicly and stood up to the authorities. Not fearing prison, or execution, Peter went out and spread the news of Jesus, the Messiah.

Why it matters

Jesus did not come to put up barriers between people, but to unify and build a community. Jews and Gentiles did not associate with each other. Jews had strict laws about what foods to eat and how to live.

God showed Peter that all of that was no longer necessary. The vast majority of the world was Gentile, so to do the work that Jesus called him to do, Peter had to associate with the gentiles and accept them as brothers and sisters. In Christ there is no jew or gentile, only believers.

Bible Verse

34 Then Peter began to speak: “I now realize how true it is that God does not show favoritism 35 but accepts from every nation the one who fears him and does what is right.

36 You know the message God sent to the people of Israel, announcing the good news of peace through Jesus Christ, who is Lord of all.

37 You know what has happened throughout the province of Judea, beginning in Galilee after the baptism that John preached

38 how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and power, and how he went around doing good and healing all who were under the power of the devil, because God was with him.

Acts 10:34-38

Why it matters to you

People are reluctant to talk about matters of faith, for fear that they will be rejected, or worse yet, laughed at. Peter was too afraid to speak out, and too immersed in his Jewish heritage to fully understand what Jesus wanted him to do.

We all have doubts.

Jesus broke down the barriers for Peter and gave him freedom to speak out. The man who denied Jesus three times would become a bold and powerful Apostle. This same man was transformed into a powerful force for Jesus and the Kingdom.

He would not longer fear the Romans, the Jewish authorities and like Jesus, would give up his life for the Kingdom.


Peter had denied Jesus three times after He was arrested and bound over for trial. Fearing for his life, he denied being a disciple, or even knowing Jesus.

With the city in an uproar over the rial and crucifixion, and fearing Roman reprisals for any public display of faith, Peter and the rest of the disciples hid away.

But after receiving the Holy Spirit, Peter was no longer afraid and spoke boldly to Jews and gentiles alike about Jesus and the kingdom of God.

What you may not know

Jesus said that he would build his church upon this rock, referring to Peter. Actually, Peter more correctly translated, means pebble.

Three hundred years later, when the Roman emperor Constantine converted to Christianity, the headquarters of the church was moved to Rome, and thus the Roman Catholic Church was established.

Centuries later it was decided that Peter was the first pope, even though there was no formal church when he lived. As time went on after Jesus left the earth, the church would slowly form and traditions and practices would come about.

Peter did not say mass, or go to catechism. Also interestingly, Peter was Jewish not Roman.

Saul’s Conversion

Saul's conversion

What Happened

Saul of Tarsus was a prominent pharisee who took it upon himself to stop the Apostles from spreading the Gospel of the Lord Jesus to the community, outlying areas and the rest of the nation.

Saul believed that the message of Jesus was heresy and that this new movement had to be obliterated to ensure the continuation of the Jewish tradition.

He went to the Jewish authorities to ask their cooperation in allowing him to travel north to Damascus to deliver letters to the synagogues in an effort to uncover anyone there who might be followers of “The Way,” as they were called. Saul would take them prisoner and return to Jerusalem for trial.

On his way to Damascus a light from heaven flashed around him and he fell to the ground. Saul heard a voice “Saul, Saul why do you persecute me?” Saul asked who it was. “I am Jesus whom you are persecuting,” the voice replied.

Saul was taken to Damascus and cared for by a man named Ananias, whom had been told by God to attend to the pharisee.

God changed his name to Paul and he became a devoted follower of Jesus for the rest of his very difficult life. He is one of the most influential voices in all of Christianity even to this day.

Why it matters

It is one thing to change a man’s mind by force, or get him to bend to the will of another. But it is very different to change a man’s heart.

Saul had murdered and persecuted followers of Jesus, but on his way to Damascus, to do even more evil, God not only stopped him from doing what he had set out to do, God changed his heart and molded him into a great Apostle of Christ and a prolific writer.

Bible Verse

9 Meanwhile, Saul was still breathing out murderous threats against the Lord’s disciples. He went to the high priest 2 and asked him for letters to the synagogues in Damascus, so that if he found any there who belonged to the Way, whether men or women, he might take them as prisoners to Jerusalem.

3 As he neared Damascus on his journey, suddenly a light from heaven flashed around him. 4 He fell to the ground and heard a voice say to him, “Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me?”

5 “Who are you, Lord?” Saul asked. “I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting,” he replied. 6 “Now get up and go into the city, and you will be told what you must do.”

Acts 9:1-4

Why it matters to you

If God can take a murderer and turn him into a loving, gentle spokesman for the Kingdom, then God can take anybody to do His will and make them effective. Not everybody is going to be a priest, or pastor, or an elder, a deacon or a chaplain, but God uses everyone to be a part of His Kingdom.

God calls everyone to become a member of His family, even murderers and thieves. God is the one who administers justice and only God can take an evil man and convert him into one of His most powerful evangelists.

Paul wrote two thirds of the New Testament, and the Gospel of Luke and the Acts of the Apostles were largely influenced by Paul’s working relationship with Luke.

Paul would bring out the heart of the Gospel, emphasizing that man is saved by the grace of God, through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ and not by man’s own actions.

The salvation of man is to the glory of God. Man cannot boast of his accomplishment. Paul learned the hard way, that it is all God.


The incident on the road to Damascus was witnessed by Saul’s companions. They heard the entire conversation, but saw nothing, other than Saul on the ground.

Saul was blinded by the light, so the men took him by the hand and led him to Damascus. There he went to a house and was greeted my a disciple named Ananias.

It was not surprise that Ananias was not thrilled with the idea of dealing with Saul, as he told the Lord that he had heard of all the evil things the man had done. But God told him to go and help Saul, because God had chosen Saul to preach to the gentiles and to their kings and before the people of Israel.

God took the most dangerous enemy of new faith and turned him into its chief advocate. God would change his name to Paul and send him out to minister to the very people he set out to murder.

What you may not know

Saul described himself as a “pharisee.” He was well versed in the law, the writings and the prophets, but had seen this through the eyes of the Jewish authority. God would illuminate the Hebrew scriptures to his new Apostle, making him a very powerful voice for the Kingdom.

As an intellectual, Paul could converse with scholars and philosophers. He was able to make strong connections to the learned men wherever he went, because he understood their religions, their values and their culture.

His intellectual approach to the faith came through in the letters he wrote and to this day are studied by theologians and scholars.

The Holy Spirit Comes at Pentecost

Holy Spirit comes

What Happened

The disciples, now Apostles, were together in Jerusalem. They needed to select a replacement for Judas Iscariot, who betrayed the Lord and subsequently killed himself. The choice was between Barnabas and Mathias, both had been with Jesus. Mathias was chosen.

As they gathered, God’s Holy Spirit came to them, just as Jesus had promised. They heard a sound like a blowing wind that filled the entire house where they were meeting. Things that looked like tongues of fire came and rested on their shoulders. Each of them was filled with God’s Holy Spirit.

Suddenly they were all able to speak in other languages, as the Spirit enabled them. The Apostles would travel out of the city and share the good news.

Why it matters

The coming of the Holy Spirit opened a new chapter in the lives of believers, as God was now personally available to anyone who needed wisdom, guidance and comfort. Jesus promised a counselor and He made good on His promise.

The work of the Holy Spirit, through the Apostles, would cause exponential growth in the faith. When Jesus was crucified, His real followers were few, but through the Apostles, the whole world would hear the story, a story that is still being told today all around the globe, in hundreds of languages.

Through the guidance and encouragement of the Holy Spirit, men and women have been able to create a written language for people who never had their own words written before. People still hear the word in their own tongue.

Bible Verse

“‘In the last days, God says, I will pour out my Spirit on all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy, your young men will see visions, your old men will dream dreams. 18 Even on my servants, both men and women, I will pour out my Spirit in those days, and they will prophesy.

19 I will show wonders in the heavens above and signs on the earth below, blood and fire and billows of smoke. 20 The sun will be turned to darkness  and the moon to blood before the coming of the great and glorious day of the Lord. 21 And everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.’”

Acts 2:17-21

Why it matters to you

Because of the resurrection of Jesus, man’s relationship with God has been changed forever. It is now personal and intimate. Not a distant, angry, foreboding God, but our Father in heaven who loves us and wants the best for us.

The Holy Spirit, the counselor that Jesus promised, is a wonderful teacher. The Spirit brings illumination to things you may never have understood, or gives you ideas or thoughts that you otherwise would ignore.

The same Holy Spirit that Jesus called upon for help is available to all of us today.


The Apostles were badly shaken at the crucifixion, amazed at the resurrection and both saddened and troubled when Jesus ascended to Heaven. Still afraid of being arrested or killed, they were living out of the public eye, not doing what they were charged to do by Jesus before He left.

But Jesus had promised a counselor and that is what happened in that house to all of the Apostles on that day.

From then on, a new boldness would take over and they would begin to preach the Gospel to all nations, beginning in Jerusalem. Peter spoke to a crowd of people, from many nations, people who spoke many different languages, but each hear in his own language.

Peter spoke, likely in Aramaic, but each person heard in his own tongue. It was like each person had their own, personal interpreter.

What you may not know

People marvel at the miracles of Jesus and they should because healing the sick and all that happened during His ministry was of supernatural power. However, Jesus, while here on earth, was fully man.

He gave up His divinity and power to live a human life, subject to all the limitations of the human condition. His power came from the Holy Spirit. It was the Holy Spirit that healed the sick and raised Lazarus from the dead.

Jesus was always obedient to the will of His Father and all that was accomplished was done in accordance with His Father’s will.

The Holy Spirit is widely misunderstood and there are some who believe that the Holy Spirit is not at work today. That is not true, because it is the work of the Holy Spirit to guide, inspire, educate, encourage and at times rebuke the followers of the Lord Jesus Christ.

Sometimes people say a singer or preacher is anointed. We talk of “God-given” abilities That is the work of the Holy Spirit.

The Ascension

The Ascension of Jesus
The Ascension of Jesus

What Happened

After Jesus walked out of the tomb, he appeared before many people throughout the area. He instructed his disciples to go back to Galilee and await Him there.

It was in there, on the shores of the Sea of Galilee, that he first met them. It had been forty days since Jesus had come back to life and left His tomb.

The final meeting took place where at all began at the Sea of Galilee. Jesus charged them with going out beyond the immediate boundaries of Israel to spread the Gospel throughout the known world.

Then Jesus went back up to heaven, where He sits on the right hand of God. Jesus was still with His disciples and He is still with us.

Why it matters

There had to be an eye witness to the resurrection of Christ, and it was especially necessary for Jesus to show Himself before his disciples. With their own eyes, they saw the risen Savior.

Bible Verse

16 Then the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain where Jesus had told them to go. 17 When they saw him, they worshiped him; but some doubted. 18 Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.

19 Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”

Matthew 28: 16-20

4 Later Jesus appeared to the Eleven as they were eating; he rebuked them for their lack of faith and their stubborn refusal to believe those who had seen him after he had risen.

15 He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation. 16 Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned.

17 And these signs will accompany those who believe: In my name they will drive out demons; they will speak in new tongues;

18 they will pick up snakes with their hands; and when they drink deadly poison, it will not hurt them at all; they will place their hands on sick people, and they will get well.”

19 After the Lord Jesus had spoken to them, he was taken up into heaven and he sat at the right hand of God. 20 Then the disciples went out and preached everywhere, and the Lord worked with them and confirmed his word by the signs that accompanied it.

Mark 16:4-20

Why it matters to you

People actually saw Jesus alive and well after the crucifixion. But it was hard to believe. After all, people coming back from being dead is a very rare occurrence. Today we hear stories about people who make miraculous recoveries in hospitals, but not after taking a brutal beating and dying on a cross.

It matters because it is God’s way of showing the whole world that He will do what He says. God wants man to trust Him and to follow Jesus.


When Jesus finished his talk with the disciples, He was taken up into heaven, according to the Gospels. Jesus had told his disciples that he would return to the Father, to sit at the right hand of the throne of God.

His rightful place is with His father, where He has always been before and after taking human form. All told, Jesus appeared to people over a 40 days period before going back home.

What you may not know

Jesus had a glorified body after the resurrection. He could appear here and there, and effortlessly go from place to place and not have any of the worries of human life.

Shortly after the resurrection, he appeared to two men on the road to Emmaus, which was near Jerusalem, and taught them about the events that people had seen and had been talking about.

The two men, once they realized who was talking to them, immediately went back to Jerusalem to tell the disciples. The disciples did not believe Mary Magdalene when she came back from the tomb, as they found the account unbelievable.

Only 11 disciples went to Galilee. Judas Iscariot committed suicide shortly after betraying Christ to the Jewish authorities. He never got to enjoy his 30 pieces of silver. Matthias was later chosen to join the group.

Jesus’ Resurrection

Jesus' Resurrection

What Happened

Jesus has risen: After being crucified on the cross, Jesus died after a few hours, while the two thieves executed with him, lingered in agony. Because of the Passover, not wanting any trouble from the bulging population of Jerusalem, the Romans opted to bring a quick death to the three convicted men.

The Roman guards broke the legs of the two thieves, which took away their ability to leverage themselves to take a breath. They died of asphyxiation.

When they came to Jesus, they saw he was already dead, not surprising considering that he had taken a brutal beating at the hands of Pilate before even being tried. The Roman guards did not break his legs and that fulfilled a prophesy that foretold that no bone in His body would be broken. To make sure he was dead, they thrust a spear into his side.

They ask for Jesus’ body

A wealthy man Joseph of Arimathea, a disciple of Jesus, asked Pilate for the body. He was accompanied by Nicodemus, a preeminent Rabbi, who had visited with Jesus previously. Joseph had a burial tomb and the two men wrapped Jesus in cloth and anointed his body with herbs and spices, as was the Jewish custom. It was the Jewish day of preparation.

Meanwhile, the Jewish authorities had gone to Pilate to demand that a guard be placed at the tomb. Now that Jesus was dead, the authorities wanted Him to stay dead, and wanted to make sure that nobody took the body to claim that he had risen.

“After the Sabbath, at dawn on the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went to look at the tomb. There was a violent earthquake, for an angel of the Lord came down from heaven and, going to the tomb, rolled back the stone and sat on it.

“His appearance was like lightning, and his clothes were white as snow. The guards were so afraid of him that they shook and became like dead men. The angel said to the women, “Do not be afraid, for I know that you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified. He is not here; he has risen, just as he said. Come and see the place where he lay.”

Jesus than met both Mary’s on the road and told them not to be afraid, and to go and tell His disciples that He had risen from the dead.

Why it matters

This is the single most important event in human history. Everything that was told, all of the prophesies, all of the writings, point to this remarkable occurrence.

By supernatural power, Jesus is brought back to life, in human form, but in a glorified body, one that will never grow old, get sick, or die. Jesus was the first to be raised from the dead, a promise that God gives to all who believe.

Bible Verse

1After the Sabbath, at dawn on the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went to look at the tomb. 2 There was a violent earthquake, for an angel of the Lord came down from heaven and, going to the tomb, rolled back the stone and sat on it.

3 His appearance was like lightning, and his clothes were white as snow. 4 The guards were so afraid of him that they shook and became like dead men.

5 The angel said to the women, “Do not be afraid, for I know that you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified. 6 He is not here; he has risen, just as he said. Come and see the place where he lay.

7 Then go quickly and tell his disciples: ‘He has risen from the dead and is going ahead of you into Galilee. There you will see him.’ Now I have told you.”

8 So the women hurried away from the tomb, afraid yet filled with joy, and ran to tell his disciples.

9 Suddenly Jesus met them. “Greetings,” he said. They came to him, clasped his feet and worshiped him. 10 Then Jesus said to them, “Do not be afraid. Go and tell my brothers to go to Galilee; there they will see me.”

Matthew 28:1-10

Why it matters to you

Simply stated, if Jesus Christ did not rise on the third day and walked out of the tom. The prophets are all wrong, the New Testament is a myth and the Bible is a hoax. Without the resurrection, there is no hope for salvation and eternal life.


The Jewish authorities went to the Romans and demanded that a guard be placed on the tomb. They knew the prediction of Jesus rising from the dead and they wanted to squash that story.

The guards that were posted to the tomb were completely overwhelmed by the stone being rolled away. They were terrified and they knew that an empty tomb would mean their deaths.

Then they ran to the Jewish authorities, who told them to tell a lie about being attacked by the disciples. The guards were paid. The disciples were not anywhere near the tomb, too afraid to go out in public.

The Jewish authorities did not want the news of Jesus rising to get around. It would prove that He was right and they had missed His message. It would not have been good for them politically.

What you may not know

Mary Magdalene was the first person to declare the risen Christ. She ran back and met with the disciples, who were in hiding, and said “He is risen.”

The disciples did not believe her. Later Jesus appeared to them and at that point John was convinced. After Jesus let him touch His wrists and side. Thomas cried out, “My Lord and my God!”

Jesus has risen: The Jewish authorities had the most believable story for the Romans to swallow. Jesus’ body was stolen. But who could have taken it? Who ever did had to overcome the Roman guards, who were charged with killing anyone who dare to try.

The Romans guarding the tomb were no match for the earthquake that shook the stone lose and opened the tomb. Witnessing the awesome power of God, they took off like scared rabbits.

The least likely to have anything to do with the disappearance of Jesus were the disciples, who were in hiding.

The truth is, Jesus rose. And ss fantastic as that sounds, it is certainly consistent with everything that had happened between man and God since Adam and Eve.

Jesus’ Betrayal, Trail, Crucifixion

Jesus' Crucifixion

What Happened

Jesus took his disciples into the upper room of a house where he would share with them a ceremonial last supper. He would predict once again his death.

It was at this meeting that Judas Iscariot would make a hasty departure to inform the Jewish authorities where Jesus would be later that night. Jesus knew this was going to happen.

He took the group to the Garden of Gethsemane, just outside the city. Jesus prayed, as his disciples slept.

The guards came, Judas identified Jesus and he was arrested. Jesus was taken several places, before the Sanhedrin, the Jewish leaders. The chief priest Ciaphas asked him directly if he was the Christ and Jesus “Yes, it is as you say.” Ciaphas was enraged, tore his clothes and called Jesus a blasphemer.

The authorities wanted Jesus killed. They handed him over to Pilate, the governor. Pilate questioned him, asking if he was the King of the Jews. Jesus affirmed this. Pilate found no criminal gilt in him, but the pressure from the Jewish authorities and the crowd that had gathered was great.

At first he ordered that Jesus be scourged, a brutal whipping that usually resulted in death. That did not satisfy the Jews. They wanted Him crucified. Pilate ordered the execution and Jesus was taken outside the walls of the city to be crucified.

He was executed along with two convicted criminals.

Why it matters

People read the account of the arrest and the trial and wonder how anybody could have found Jesus guilty of anything. But public opinion and political agenda can be very powerful.

Jesus was an inconvenient truth for the Jewish authorities, who had to protect their turf. Pilate didn’t want any trouble during the Passover, so he gave into the masses and let the crowd have its way.

All of the powerful Jews assembled at the trial of Jesus hated Him, because they believed that He was a threat to their authority. Jesus could perform miracles that they couldn’t explain. Jesus could discuss any religious issue with them with perfect reasoning. That’s why they wanted Him executed.

Jesus did not fight this because he knew that the only way to fulfill His Father’s plan of salvation was to offer his own life. He also knew that on the third day He would rise from the grave, and had actually predicted this to the authorities in the temple.

Bible Verse

32 Two other men, both criminals, were also led out with him to be executed. 33 When they came to the place called the Skull, they crucified him there, along with the criminals—one on his right, the other on his left. 34 Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.”

Luke 23:32-34

Why it matters to you

Ever since Adam and Eve sinned in the Garden of Eden, God had a plan for how he would reconcile man to Himself. Sin entered the world through man, and sin would be defeated by man.

Jesus, fully man and fully God, was sent by His Father to pay the penalty for sin. Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth and the life. Nobody comes to the father except by me.” This selfless act of love is a gift, which cannot be purchased, earned or in any way deserved.


It was a bogus, kangaroo court. The arrest of Jesus was illegal. The trial was illegal, even under Jewish law. His crucifixion was a complete miscarriage of justice, yet his crucifixion is the single most loving act God had ever done for man.

Jesus willingly went to to the cross, in obedience to God, to offer his own life in sacrifice. Jesus paid the price that man could not, nor ever could pay himself. Jesus, just before he died, said “It is finished.” In the original Greek, the word used was “telelesti” which is a term used in commerce, meaning “paid in full.”

What you may not know

Crucifixion was a Roman form of punishment, designed to inflict maximum pain and suffering, as well as public humiliation. It was intended as a severe deterrent to any crime.

The person was nailed and tied to the cross, but a small foot plate was attached to give the person an opportunity to stretch and breathe. It would sometimes take days for a man to die, usually when he could no longer use his legs to get some relief. The man would die from lack of oxygen. He would suffocate.

The Roman guards broke the legs of the two thieves on either side of Jesus to expedite their deaths, due to the Passover. It was a way to control the people. When a Roman soldier thrust a spear into Jesus’ side, he was already dead. Water had built up in his lungs and came pouring out of the wound.

When Jesus died, the curtain in the temple that separated the Holy Place from the Most Holy Place, was torn top to bottom. The curtain was woven and rather thick, so it would have taken supernatural power to tear it like a piece of paper.

While on the cross, one of the thieves sentenced to die mocked Jesus and said that if He were the Christ to save himself and the other two. The other thief rebuked the man and turned to Jesus and asked him to “remember me when you enter your kingdom.” Jesus promised that the man would be with Him in paradise that very day.

The man who asked Jesus to remember him, had never attended a synagogue, was never baptized, never given any money. He just acknowledged who Jesus was. By asking to be remembered, he acknowledged that Jesus was who He said he was. He was also acknowledging that Jesus had the authority to save him and had hope and trust that this would happen.

It was a very powerful, albeit short conversation, but it encapsulates the message that Jesus brought to the world, that “whosoever believes Him shall not perish, but have everlasting life.” The thief on the cross was saved by the grace of God, through faith in Jesus.

Jesus Promises the Holy Spirit

Jesus Promises The Holy Spirit

What Happened

During the last week of His earthly life, Jesus knew that he would be betrayed, arrested, tried and crucified. It was all a part of His Father’s plan to reconcile man to Himself. The Gospel of John contains a very long dissertation, in which Jesus talks to His disciples about things that are to come.

Jesus knew His time was short, but He also understood that the disciples would not fully understand. They had grown attached to Him. But Jesus wanted them to know that when He had gone, they would have a counselor to teach and guide them.

Why it matters

God does not leave His people high and dry. Jesus was with His disciples for a short period of time, but he did not abandon them. The third person of the Trinity, the Holy Spirit, was sent to believers to guide and comfort.

Filled with the Holy Spirit, the disciples became Apostles and spread the good news throughout the known world.

Filled with the Holy Spirit, people today continue the ministry of Jesus, doing that which they never imagined they were capable of doing, or making decisions to serve mankind, rather than pursuing a life of comfort and prominence.

Bible Verse

“All this I have told you so that you will not fall away. 2 They will put you out of the synagogue; in fact, the time is coming when anyone who kills you will think they are offering a service to God. 3 They will do such things because they have not known the Father or me.

4 I have told you this, so that when their time comes you will remember that I warned you about them. I did not tell you this from the beginning because I was with you, 5 but now I am going to him who sent me. None of you asks me, ‘Where are you going?’ 6 Rather, you are filled with grief because I have said these things.

7 But very truly I tell you, it is for your good that I am going away. Unless I go away, the Advocate will not come to you; but if I go, I will send him to you. 8 When he comes, he will prove the world to be in the wrong about sin and righteousness and judgment: 9 about sin, because people do not believe in me; 10 about righteousness, because I am going to the Father, where you can see me no longer; 11 and about judgment, because the prince of this world now stands condemned.

12 “I have much more to say to you, more than you can now bear. 13 But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all the truth. He will not speak on his own; he will speak only what he hears, and he will tell you what is yet to come.

14 He will glorify me because it is from me that he will receive what he will make known to you. 15 All that belongs to the Father is mine. That is why I said the Spirit will receive from me what he will make known to you.”

John 16:1-15

Why it matters to you

Followers of Jesus receive the Holy Spirit and, just as Jesus said, the Spirit guides and informs. The Spirit helps people to understand God’s Word. The Spirit brings illumination and meaning to the information in the Bible.

The Spirit helps people discern information and cast aside misinformation. The Holy Spirit comforts and encourages. The Holy Spirit is the gentle hand of God that guides and protects as we follow Jesus.


Jesus spent a great deal of time teaching his disciples personally, to prepare them for the task of carrying on His ministry.

The promise of the Holy Spirit was an essential piece in their preparation, as Jesus encouraged his followers to look ahead, look to the benefit of others, and trust that God would always be there for them and assist in their efforts.

What you may not know

The Holy Spirit had always been involved throughout history. Long before synagogues and churches, long before the written word, long before any formalized practice of faith was established, people had an innate sense that God was there we them and in control.

What prompted and guided Noah when he built the ark? What was it that guided Abram out of his home to a land that God had chosen for him?

Who informed the prophets to make prediction of events that would not happen until centuries after their deaths?

The Holy Spirit was at work from the beginning and in all things of God.