Stations of the Cross

During Lent, many denominations that stem from European Liturgical Christianity will focus on the stations of the Cross. It is common for churches to have the stations of the cross permanently displayed on the walls, one of the most striking being the stations depicted at Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris, currently under repair after a devastating fire.

But believers from non-Catholic, Anglican, Lutheran, Baptists, Evangelicals, or Methodist backgrounds may not be familiar with these:

The First Station: Pilate Condemns Jesus to Die

The Second Station: Jesus Accepts His Cross

The Third Station: Jesus Falls the First Time

The Fourth Station: Jesus Meets His Afflicted Mother

The Fifth Station: Simon Helps Jesus Carry the Cross

The Sixth Station: Veronica Offers Her Veil to Jesus

The Seventh Station: Jesus Falls the Second Time

The Eighth Station: Jesus Speaks to the Women

The Ninth Station: Jesus Falls the Third Time

The Tenth Station: Jesus Is Stripped of His Garments

The Eleventh Station: Jesus Is Nailed to the Cross

The Twelfth Station: Jesus Dies Upon the Cross

The Thirteenth Station: Jesus Is Taken Down from the Cross

The Fourteenth Station: Jesus Is Placed in the Sepulcher

Liturgy is beautiful

It had been some time since I have attended a Stations of the Cross service, so I visited a Charismatic Episcopal church where my friend and former colleague Fr. Dennis Kubena was presiding. Another dear friend, Deacon Ralph Modgeska, was assisting.

This was a service heavy with liturgy and it immediately reminded me of the diversity of worship within the Christian church. Personally, I like liturgy, as it was something I grew up with Fr. Kubena read from a script. There was a lot of repetition, as the congregation was invited to participate in response.

The final hours of Jesus’ life before His death and Resurrection

The stations are recalling events in the final hours of Jesus’ life. We are reminded of His suffering. Evangelicals remember the events, but not in a ritualistic sense. It’s just different. The first nine stations are about Jesus on the way to the cross. The last five are at the cross. The Catholic Church developed the liturgy in the times of the Crusades, so it is a long established tradition.

Fr. Kubena’s church has a crucifix above the alter, whereas Evangelical churches have a cross. The distinction here is that Jesus is not on the cross, but at the right hand of God the Father, awaiting instructions to return to earth as King of Kings and Lord of Lords. Jesus is very much alive. He rose on the third day and walked out of the tomb.

Both ways are fine just different

There is no right and wrong here, just a difference in the way people worship. I recall standing at the back of a Catholic mass at a race track. It was a Sunday morning before an Indy Car race. I was standing next to a Methodist chaplain. He nudged me with his elbow and said, “I see you love the liturgy too.”

The priest was Fr. Phil DeRay, a lifelong friend of Mario Andretti. Fr. Phil once counseled a group of race car chaplains from various denominations. They were discussing how their organization could best serve the race car community.

He drew a cross on a piece of paper and asked, “Can we all agree on this?” Everyone agreed. “Good,” he said, “then we’re done.” I thought this to be a brilliant response. Jesus is the beginning and the end. There is nothing else we need to focus on.

Jesus is ALIVE!

When we go through the stations of the Cross, we must reflect on what happened, but understand why it happened and what it means for the world. Jesus died for our sins on that terrible Friday. BUT, Sunday came and He was ALIVE!

Baptism Not Just a Ritual

A story by CBS News about baptism caught my attention recently. The piece, written by Natacha Larnaud , tells of a Catholic priest who made a verbal mistake while performing baptisms.

It states, “A Catholic priest in Phoenix has resigned from his position after a church investigation found he had been incorrectly performing baptisms over his 20-year career — rendering the rite invalid for thousands of people, according to Bishop Thomas Olmsted of the Diocese of Phoenix.” It seems he said “We baptize you…” instead of “I baptize you…”

Jesus was baptized

So what’s the big deal? This is an example of legalism run a muck. According to the Bible, baptism has nothing to do with salvation and does not wash away sin. People who follow Christ are baptized out of obedience.

Jesus, Himself, was baptized by His cousin John. He had no sin to wash away, but He did it to “fulfill all righteousness.” Jesus did not expect His followers to do anything He would not do. Baptism is a public pronouncement of faith.

For the vast majority of Catholics, baptisms are for infants. The parents present their child for baptism. But it’s more about the parents and their willingness to raise a child in the faith. As for a baptism being invalid, the Bible shows us that believers are baptized. That can be performed at most any age, but the individual makes the decision to be baptized. It is a public declaration of faith.

Verbal mistakes don’t matter

Non-baptized people can go to heaven and if a priest makes a verbal mistake, that is not going to undo the will of God.

The thief on the cross is an example. He turned to Jesus and said “Remember me when you enter your Kingdom.” In that statement, the thief acknowledged who Jesus was. He understood that He had authority to “put in a good word” for the condemned criminal.

The thief never went to synagogue, was never baptized and never gave any money to a congregation. He merely expressed his faith. Jesus replied, “Truly I say to you this day you will be with Me in paradise.”

Religion can distract from the truth

Religion takes a simple thing like wanting to declare faith through baptism and turns it into a ritual that distracts from the truth.

Baptism is a wonderful observance. Unfortunately, an infant has nothing to do with it, other than being used as a prop.

Now if parents want to present their child and ask for the blessing of the faith community, this is something different. It is the parents who ask for the blessing. As for baptism, if there is any argument about a baptism being invalid, it should be noted that no infant has ever made the decision to go through with it.

How can man invalidate baptism?

One more small point…how can man invalidate an ordinance of God by making a verbal mistake? Does God not have something to say about this? God is present, is he not? I truly believe God would not be offended by a wrong word. Especially if that word choice was just a force of habit and not intended to subvert the occasion.

As for thousands of baptisms being invalid, remember that at the end of the day there are only two kinds of people. Those who follow Christ and those who do not. Millions of people who were baptized as an infant, have been baptized as adults. They choose to be baptized once they have made their choice to be a Christ follower.

God is in control. Man’s mistakes will not change God’s will.

The Coming of Christ Foretold

Christ was foretold

The Coming of Christ Foretold: The Bible is often referred to as the inspired word of God. That is really a very simple way of describing God putting words in the writer’s head and the writer scratched them down on the scroll.

Throughout the Bible, God makes sure that His most important points are repeated often and this is especially important in the prophesies concerning the coming and return of the Lord Jesus Christ.

We are told 176 times that Jesus the Messiah will come. The story is told in the Hebrew Bible (Old Testament) in the writings of the prophets, but also in the Psalms more than 500 years before His birth.

Told in detail about the crucifixion of Christ

Take for example Psalm 22, which is not a prophesy of the coming of Christ, but a very accurate description of His crucifixion. Another interesting passage is in Isaiah 43, which likewise describes the happenings on that day. But God then tells his writers 257 times that Jesus will come back, not as a child, but as King of Kings and Lord of Lords.

But there has always been disagreement on who the Messiah would be. Jewish scholars were looking for a military leader, who would crush the Roman occupation of Israel.

A mild, soft-spoken craftsman from Nazareth was not their idea of the person who would fit that job description. The disagreement rages on. Jews very much believe in the Messiah, just not Jesus.

Some Jews accept Jesus as the Messiah

Some Jews, however, accept Jesus as Lord and Savior, while still holding tightly to their Jewish traditions, so are they Jews or are they Christians? The answer in the opinion of this writer is that they are both. Christianity is just an extension of Judaism, and this is brought out nicely in the television series “The Chosen,” that depicts Jesus as being very Jewish.

Jesus said that he did not come to abolish the law and the prophets, but to fulfill them. I think we’ll all know everything when He returns.

176 Prophecies on First Coming

257 Prophecies on Second Coming

433 Total Prophecies about Jesus the Messiah

Much debate about Jesus/Yeshua

Scholars have debated the prophesies of the coming and return of Christ for centuries. Jewish scholars have laid our their case for why Yeshua/Jesus could not be the Messiah, which has been argued and discussed down through the ages.

Christians find it difficult to believe the people don’t see that all of the Prophesies point to Jesus, but if it is impossible to prove the existence of God, it is likewise impossible to prove the deity of Jesus.

Faith is key to belief

That gets us back to a familiar and all-important point: FAITH. God wants us to accept His word by faith. Intellectuals will dissect every sentence, Theologians will examine every possible interpretation and some regular people will just believe what they want to believe.

The proper balance of knowledge and faith is essential. One should always know what they’re talking about. The evidence is there. Sometimes people just end up with opposite conclusions. What is really sad is people will sometimes know something is true, but they ignore the truth. They just don’t want to believe it.

Everything points to Jesus the Christ

The bottom line here is that everything in Scripture hinges on one essential and unavoidable question– what is the true identity of Jesus of Nazareth? The prophesies must point to a conclusion. The evidence is all there.

If Jesus is not the one the prophesies point to, then was there another, or when will Messiah come? Christians believe it all falls on Jesus. The rest of the world challenges that claim.

Jesus and the Sower… Some Believe, Some Don’t

Jesus and the sower

Jesus was a great story teller. During His earthy ministry He told stories, parables, to illustrate important points in a way that would help people to relate to the message and understand its significance.

One of the parables is that of the sower, whom in this case was Jesus Himself. He knew, of course, that there would be some who were attracted to His message, but others would either listen and then lose interest, while others would reject it entirely. Here is the parable that Jesus shared in Matthew 13:1-9

That same day Jesus went out of the house and sat by the lake. Such large crowds gathered around him that he got into a boat and sat in it, while all the people stood on the shore. Then he told them many things in parables, saying: ‘A farmer went out to sow his seed. As he was scattering the seed, some fell along the path, and the birds came and ate it up. Some fell on rocky places, where it did not have much soil. It sprang up quickly, because the soil was shallow. But when the sun came up, the plants were scorched, and they withered because they had no root. Other seed fell among thorns, which grew up and choked the plants. Still other seed fell on good soil, where it produced a crop—a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown. Whoever has ears, let them hear.’”

For anyone who has ever tried to share the Gospel with someone else, you know that it’s sometimes a challenge, especially when the message is rejected. We tend to take it personally. Our egos are bruised. But it isn’t about us at all, it’s about God’s business.

Jesus was never in a hurry

That is why Christians today learn about ways to evangelize, so they can best communicate with any person. We want to get to the punchline and get people to accept Jesus as Lord and Savior, but it doesn’t work that way.

Jesus was never in a hurry and He always met people where they were at. People for the most part liked him, that is except for the Pharisees, who saw him as a troublemaker and a threat to their authority. They accused him of blasphemy. Little did they know that it was He who inspired the Scriptures.

Some have a harden heart

The pathway in the parable represents those with a hardened heart. They will never receive the good news or turn to God for salvation. The rocky places are those to hear the message and it appeals to them, but they haven’t completely bought in to the message, so at the first sign of conflict, they fall away.

The thorny ground tells us about people who receive the Gospel, but they have other things getting in the way, like their job, money, social standing, etc. God’s truth doesn’t grow in them because there isn’t room enough to allow it to flourish.

The good soil, as it’s description implies, talks of people that allow the Word of God to take root in their soul. They share their love of God with others, they study, they associate with other believers and this is exactly what Jesus wanted.

Hard ground will not bear fruit

The parable illustrates the condition of the heart of man. One can argue whether or not those who are less than the “good soil” are going to heaven. But that is a discussion for another day.

The hard ground clearly is not going to bear any fruit, any belief, or any kind of life change.

The others represent various degrees of belief. How much belief, how much faith is necessary for salvation?

It is the opinion of this writer that wherever a person is on the spectrum, God will spare them. Even those with true belief/faith, however fleeting or childlike in nature. Only God knows the depth of the human heart. This is exactly why all of us need to open up to Him and allow Him to take root.

A simple message

Jesus brought us a simple message. He expressed it in multiple ways, so various kinds of people would hear it. The Apostle Paul, the evangelist to the gentiles, followed Yeshua’s lead and likewise altered his style and approach. A great deal of thought and effort went into communicating a simple message, just so we can understand it.

Keeping It Simple… The Gospel isn’t complicated

The Gospel isn’t complicated. It’s easy to understand. Children can grasp it. Still, the good news that God shares with us in the Bible will be rejected by more people than those who will accept it.

People like to complicate

Left to their own devices, many people will complicate any topic. The Israelites took 10 commandments from God and created 613 rules and regulations. Every aspect of life came under the Law of Moses. The prophets came along and added to the mix. Religion was born.

Now there is nothing wrong with having religion. Certainly not. But religion and the Gospel are two different things. Religion dictates what man must do to be acceptable to God. The Gospel is what God did to make man acceptable to Him.

Those 613 laws were boiled down to one statement–

For God so loved the world that he gave His only begotten son that whosoever believes in him shall not parish but have everlasting life.” (John 3:16)

Jesus offered a clarifying statement when he said,

I have not come to abolish the law and the prophets, but to fulfill them.” (Matthew 5:17)

He told the people that all of the law was still very much in force, but He was the one who would fulfill all of the righteous requirements of the law, so people who put their trust and faith in Him would be forever accepted into God’s family.

When I was a small child, I received a vaccination for polio. My parents didn’t know anything about the years that went into the development of the vaccine, or the science behind it, but they trusted that it would prevent the dreaded disease.

The law is impossible to follow. Every living human being has broken a commandment. The trouble is, Jesus said if you break one, you’ve broken them all. Breaking a commandment is sin, and the Apostle Paul wrote that

the wages of sin is death.” (Romans 3:23)

So what’s the point? The point is simple– the law, the 10 Commandments, points us to Christ. Jesus did not sin. He paid the full price. That is an amazing statement. He fulfilled all of the requirements so that anyone who believes in Him will be guaranteed heaven. We can’t, He can.

It’s simple, straight forward and easy, at least on the surface. Paul said “all have sinned,” which can be a sticking point for some, who do not believe in sin and do not believe they have committed any transgression worthy of an eternal punishment. But he adds,

the GIFT of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” (Romans 6:23).

Those who acknowledge their sinfulness, big or small, and accept the gift of life through faith in Jesus, are welcomed with open arms, no strings attached. Jesus said,

I am the way the truth and the life. Nobody goes to the Father except by me.” ( John 14:6 )

In other words, there is no back door into heaven and no other way to satisfy God. It’s simple enough, yet so many choke on the idea that they have sinned. Call it pride, or maybe they just don’t understand, I have known some that seem incapable of understanding the simplest things of God. They scoff, they mock and completely dismiss the entire message of the Bible.

The Gospel offers salvation by grace and faith

There are many religions, but only one offers salvation by grace through faith. Christianity stands alone, completely alone. Judaism is the closest, and many Jewish people have accepted Jeshua (Jesus) as the Messiah, much to the chagrin of the Jewish leadership. It was the same during the time of Christ.

Sometimes it’s hard to believe in the simple things. If you make up a religion and make it complicated, you just may find some followers. But God and the Gospel offer you a simple, straight forward invitation. Believe in My Son. Jesus gave Himself so you could live. He paid your debt in full… Simple.

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.