PARTNERS WITH THE HOLY SPIRIT: PART XCVII
Jesus promised John the Baptist that “the deaf hear and the dead are raised up” (Matthew 11:5). These simple words open the door to a life everlasting with immensely huge blessings or curses, depending how a person responds to the voice of Jesus here on earth. Please read Jesus’ words in red letters, for they are the most important words spoken in the Bible! Here is the first and most important promise Jesus made.
Truly, truly, I say to you, the hour is coming, and now is, when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God, and those who hear will live. For as the Father has life in himself, so he has granted the Son also to have life in himself, and has given him authority to execute judgment, because he is the Son of man. Do not marvel at this; for the hour is coming when all who are in the tombs will hear his voice and come forth, those who have done good, to the resurrection of life, and those who have done evil, to the resurrection of judgment (John 5:25-29).
LIFE IS ETERNAL AND DOES NOT END WITH THE DEATH OF THE BODY
Life began with God the Creator in eternity — and not with man at conception or birth! Life is God’s Spirit! And God, the Creator, put God’s Breath in man and woman, as well as in the universe itself (Genesis 1:2). Man is endowed with the seed and the woman with the egg and at their fusion life enters the flesh and thus the fusion becomes a new human being. And at the end of the earthly life, God wants that life and spirit back. Man, in this life, has to decide where he/she wants to spend eternity, whether with God or without God. Life (the spirit-soul) is eternal! The spirit-soul does not die! Jesus became the way and the truth into eternity. And therefore, Jesus went back to eternity to prepare a place where He wants to spend it with his loved ones (John 14:1-7).
We are blessed in and with Jesus the Son of God! Jesus also was the Son of Man! And Jesus opened the “Window of Eternity” for us! For Jesus was sent to earth to disclose for us our eternal dwelling place. Jesus guaranteed that there is eternal life in heaven. And Jesus has made this “Life in Heaven” possible for us. Our soul does not die, but it can exist on earth without Jesus and God. Thus to get back into heaven, one must become “One with Jesus.” And it because of sin that God will not let man back into heaven without Jesus.
Jesus answered them, “Do not murmur among yourselves. No one comes to me unless the Father who sent me draws him; and I will raise him up at the last day. It is written in the prophets, ‘And they shall all be taught by God’ Every one who has heard and learned from the Father comes to me. Not that any one has seen the Father except him who is from God; he has seen the Father. Truly, truly, I say to you, he who believes has eternal life. I am the bread of life. Your fathers ate the manna in the wilderness, and they died. This is the bread which comes down from heaven, that a man may eat of it and not die. I am the living bread which came down from heaven; if any one eats of this bread, he will live for ever; and the bread which I shall give for the life of the world is my flesh” (John 6:43-51).
“I have said this to you in figures; the hour is coming when I shall no longer speak to you in figures but tell you plainly of the Father. In that day you will ask in my name; and I do not say to you that I shall pray the Father for you; for the Father himself loves you, because you have loved me and have believed that I came from the Father. I came from the Father and have come into the world; again, I am leaving the world and going to the Father” (John 16:25-28).
WHILE JESUS WAS ON EARTH — JESUS HAD POWER OVER LIFE AND DEATH
Jesus, Himself, declared that He would lay down His Life and take it back (John 10:18). Jesus allowed men to crucify Him as a human being. Also, Jesus disclosed His Power when He awakened one girl from sleep, a young man from a coma, and brought Lazarus back from physical death. And of course, Jesus healed many, who would have prematurely died.
Jairus, a ruler of a synagogue came and knelt before Jesus, begging him to save his daughter from dying. Jesus decided to go and heal the child, but a woman with a twelve year long blood flow needed Jesus first. While Jesus healed her, servants from Jairus’s home reported that the child had died and there was no further use for Jesus’ service. Jesus encouraged Jairus not to believe that his child was dead and he went to his home.
But ignoring what they said, Jesus said to the ruler of the synagogue, “Do not fear, only believe.” And he allowed no one to follow him except Peter and James and John the brother of James. When they came to the house of the ruler of the synagogue, he saw a tumult, and people weeping and
Wailing loudly. And when he had entered, he said to them, “Why do you make a tumult and weep? The child is not dead but sleeping.” And they laughed at him. But he put them all outside, and took the child’s father and mother and those who were with him, and went in where the child was. Taking her by the hand he said to her, “Tali-tha cumi”; which means, “Little girl, I say to you arise.” And immediately the girl got up and walked; for she was twelve years old. And immediately they were overcome with amazement. And he strictly charged them that no one should know this, and told them to give her something to eat (Mark 5:36-43).
Soon after Jesus went to a city called Nain, and his disciples and a great crowd went with him. As he drew near to the gate of the city, behold, a man who had died was being carried out, the only son of his mother, and she was a widow; and a large crowd from the city was with her. And when the Lord saw her,, he had compassion on heer and said to her, “Do not weep.” And he came and touched the bier, and the bearers stood still. ANd he said, “Young man, I say to you, arise.” And the dead man sat up, and began to speak. And he gave him to his mother. Fear seized them all; and they glorified God, saying, “A great prophet has arisen among us!” and “God has visited his people!” And this report concerning him spread through the whole of Judea and all the surrounding country (Luke 7:11-17).
Now when Jesus came, he found that Lazarus had already been in the tomb four days. Bethany was near Jerusalem, about two miles off, and many of the Jews had come to Martha and Mary to console them concerning their brother. When Martha heard that Jesus was coming, she went and met him, while Mary sat in the house. Martha said to Jesus, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died. And even now I know that whatever you ask from God, God will give you.” Jesus said to her, “Your brother will rise again.” Martha said to him, I know that he will rise again in the resurrection at the last day.” Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life; he who believes in me, though he died, yet shall he live, and whoever lives and believes in me shall never die. Do you believe this?” She said to him, “Yes, Lord; I believe that you are the Christ, the Son of God, he who is coming into the world” (John 11:17-27).
Then Jesus, deeply moved again, came to the tomb; it was a cave, and a stone lay upon it. Jesus said, “Take away the stone.” Martha, the sister of the dead man, said to him, “Lord, by this time there will be and odor, for he has been dead four days,” Jesus said to her, “Did I not tell you that if you would believe you would see the glory of God?” So they took away the stone. And Jesus lifted up his eyes and said, “Father, I thank thee that thou has heard me. I knew that thou hearest me always, but I have said this on account of the people standing by, that they may believe that thou didst send me.” When he had said this, he cried with a loud voice, “Lazarus, come out.” The dead man came out, his hands and feet bound with bandages, and his face wrapped with a cloth. Jesus said to them, “Unbind him, and let him go.” (John 11:38-44).
HOW DID JESUS DIE? IT WAS BY HIS OWN WILL!
Jesus died by offering Himself up, on His own, and not by man. Rome had not authorised the Jewish authorities to take the life of a Roman citizen. Jesus, too, was born under the Roman rule. The Jewish leaders had invited the Romans to protect them against Egypt and Syria, and Jesus’ parents had to go to Bethlehem and pay their taxes to Caesar Augustus (Luke 2:1-7). The Jewish leaders, by their own admission, declared themselves as subjects of Caesar. And Pilate, himself, had to have evidence that Jesus was the right king, who could make trouble for Caesar. The Jewish leaders made it appear that Jesus was a threat to Caesar, and they demanded that Pilate sentenced Jesus to death. In a sense, Jesus also died for the sins of his accusers, hopefully to some avail (Luke 23:34). Therefore, Jesus informed the governor that it was heaven and not Rome that gave Pilate the mandate to execute the “Lamb of God,” whose sacrifice would free many souls from their sins (Mark 10:45).
Then Pilate took Jesus and scourged him. And the soldiers plaited a crown of thorns, and put it on his head, and arrayed him in a purple robe; they came up to him, saying, “Hail, King of the Jews!” and struck him with their hands. Pilate went out again, and said to them, “Behold, I am bringing him out to you, that you may know that I find no crime in him.” So Jesus came out, wearing the crown of thorns and the purple robe. Pilate said to them, “Here is the man!” When the chief priests and the officers saw him, they cried out, “Crucify him, crucify him!” Pilate said to them, “Take him yourselves and crucify him, for I find no crime in him.” The Jews answered him, “We have a law, and by that law he ought to die, because he had made himself the Son of God.” When Pilate heard these words, he was the more afraid; he entered the praetorium again and said to Jesus, “Where are you from?” But Jesus gave no answer. Pilate therefore said to him, “You will not speak to me? Do you not know that I Ihave power to release you, and power to crucify you?” Jesus answered him, “You would have no power over me unless it had been given you from above; therefore he who delivered me to you has the greater sin.”
Upon this Pilate sought to release him, but the Jews cried out, “If you release this man, you are not Caesar’s friend; every one who makes himself a king sets himself against Caesar.” When Pilate heard these words, he brought Jesus out and sat down on the judgment seat at a place called The Pavement, and in Hebrew, Gabba-tha. Now it was the day of Preparation for the Passover; it was about the sixth hour. He said to the Jews, “Here is your King!” They cried out, “Away with him, away with him, crucify him!” Pilate said to them, “Shall I crucify your King?” The chief priests answered, “We have no king but Caesar.” Then he handed him over to them to be crucified.
So they took Jesus, and he went out, bearing his own cross, to the place called the place of a skull, which is called in Hebrew
Golgo-tha. There they crucified him, and with him two others, one on either side, and Jesus between them. Pilate also wrote a title and put it on the cross; it read, “Jesus of Nazareth, the King of the Jews.” Many of the Jews read this title, for the place where Jesus was crucified was near the city; and it was written in Hebrew, in Latin, and in Greek. The chief priests of the Jews then said to Pilate, “Do not write, ‘The King of the Jews,’ but, “This man said, I am King of the Jews’” Pilate answered”What I have written I have written” (John 19:1-22).
After this Jesus, knowing that all was now finished, said (to fulfil the scriptures), “I thirst.” A bowl full of sour wine stood there; so they put a sponge full of the wine on hyssop and held it to his mouth. When Jesus had received the wine, he said, “It is finished”; and he bowed his head and gave up his spirit.
Since it was the day of Preparation, in order to prevent the bodies from remaining on the cross on the sabbath (for that sabbath was a high day), the Jews asked Pilate that their legs might be broken and that they might be taken away. So the soldiers came and broke the legs of the first, and of the other who had been crucified with him; but when they came to Jesus and saw that he was already dead, they did not break his legs. But one of the soldiers pierced his side with a spear, and at once there came out blood and water. He who saw it has borne witness—-his testimony is true, and he knows that he tells the truth—-that you also may believe. For these things took place that the scripture might be fulfilled, “Not a bone of him shall be broken.” And again another scripture says, “They shall look on him whom they have pierced” (John 19:28-37).