Jesus Bootcamp

A devotional based on the Gospel of Luke

Jesus Bootcamp Update

Hi friends,

I just want to remind you I am taking some time off  for several weeks, but I intend to study the book of Acts afterwards. so if you are interested just keep following and I’ll let you know when I am back.

In the meantime you can read devotionals you have missed in the past here, or visit my main blog where you can watch videos and read about Christianity at www.onetruthonegod.wordpress.com. 

God bless you!

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Saved For a Purpose

soul winning

And He led them out as far as Bethany, and He lifted up His hands and blessed them. Now it came to pass, while He blessed them, that He was parted from them and carried up into heaven. And they worshiped Him, and returned to Jerusalem with great joy, and were continually in the temple praising and blessing God. Amen. (Luke 24: 50-53)

How many people do you know that live without a purpose? Most people, even Christians live their lives not knowing what the purpose of their lives is. The truth is, God made His purpose very clear to us a long time ago. When He saved us, He gave us a purpose; a goal to attain that would bring satisfaction and happiness to our lives, and glorify His name. The first Christians knew their purpose, and we can see the results:  joy, and a rich spiritual life; they were continually in the temple praising and blessing God.

Jesus said, You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit”.

He gave us the Holy Spirit to help us to fulfill our purpose: “You shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.”

The purpose of our lives is to proclaim His name. This is reflected in Jesus’ prayer:

“Father…Glorify your Son, that your son also may glorify you, as you have given Him authority over all flesh that He should give eternal life to as many as you have given Him. This is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent.  Sanctify them by your truth. Your word is truth. As you sent me into the world, I also have sent them into the world. I do not pray for these alone, but also for those who will believe in me through their word, that they also may be one in us, that the world may believe that you sent me.”  

The mission He gave us was not an afterthought, but a central part of God’s plan from the beginning. We have found life in Christ and our mission is to help others to find it as well. In doing so, we’ll find that our lives are worthy, full of meaning, motivation and conviction. It is a most worthy cause.

Are you fulfilling your purpose?

We have been saved to proclaim the praises of Him who called us out of darkness into His marvelous light!

 

 

Evidence that Brings Forth Faith: Evidence to Die For

jesus appeared thomas

Now as they said these things, Jesus himself stood in the midst of them, and said to them, “Peace to you.” But they were terrified and frightened, and supposed they had seen a spirit. And He said to them, “Why are you troubled? And why do doubts arise in your hearts? Behold my hands and my feet, that it is I myself. Handle Me and see, for a spirit does not have flesh and bones as you see I have.” When He had said this, He showed them His hands and His feet. But while they still did not believe for joy, and marveled, He said to them, “Have you any food here?” So they gave him a piece of a broiled fish and some honeycomb. And He took it and ate in their presence. Then He said to them, “These are the words which I spoke to you while I was still with you, that all things must be fulfilled which were written in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms concerning me.” And He opened their understanding, that they might comprehend the Scriptures. Then He said to them, “Thus it is written, and thus it was necessary for the Christ to suffer and to rise from the dead the third day, and that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in His name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem. And you are witnesses of these things. Behold, I send the Promise of My Father upon you; but tarry in the city of Jerusalem until you are endued with power from on high.” (Luke 24: 36-49)

How would you react if a family member or a friend would rise from the death after three days? I bet you wouldn’t believe it! Jesus’ disciples were confused and terrified. They couldn’t believe Jesus had resurrected, even when the women, the two disciples who walked with Him, and Peter told them Jesus was alive.

Many people think that faith is nothing more than wishful thinking, that it is based on hope and not facts, but this passage clearly contradicts that idea. Jesus proved to them He was alive: He talked to them, showed them His wounds and ate before them, so they would believe. Jesus showed them proof in the Scriptures that the Gospel was God’s plan to save us. He also promised them the Holy Spirit, who would make them bold and wise to proclaim His message.

Like them, we can doubt, fear and refuse to see the evidence, or we can trust the testimony of Jesus’ life, the testimony of prophecy in Scripture, and the testimony of Jesus’ disciples. By the way, do you know that Jesus’ disciples were not the only ones who saw Him alive? More than 500 people saw Jesus resurrected, and this was recorded so you and I can be assured of our faith as well.

The Lord cares about our conviction. He is willing to help us see, understand and be convinced about our faith. He was alive then, and is alive today. They saw Him and talked to Him and even when it was hard for them to trust what they saw and heard, in the end they were so convinced, that they were willing to die for this very truth:

Jesus is no ordinary man. He conquered death. He is the Son of God.

“For we cannot but speak the things which we have seen and heard.” -Peter

A Close Up On Jesus

ojo

Then they drew near to the village where they were going, and He indicated that He would have gone farther. But they constrained Him, saying, “Abide with us, for it is toward evening, and the day is far spent.” And He went in to stay with them. Now it came to pass, as He sat at the table with them, that He took bread, blessed and broke it, and gave it to them. Then their eyes were opened and they knew Him; and He vanished from their sight. And they said to one another, “Did not our heart burn within us while He talked with us on the road, and while He opened the Scriptures to us?” So they rose up that very hour and returned to Jerusalem, and found the eleven and those who were with them gathered together, saying, “The Lord is risen indeed, and has appeared to Simon!” And they told about the things that had happened on the road, and how He was known to them in the breaking of bread. (Luke 24: 28-35)

After Jesus announced He had to go, His disciples insisted that He stayed with them for the night. At the table, a very familiar scene took place; Jesus took the bread, blessed it and broke it. At that very moment, at the breaking of the bread, His disciples realized, it was Him…

Jesus had drawn out so many spiritual lessons from bread: The bread from heaven was so satisfying that if anyone would eat it, they would never be hungry again. Such bread would be enough to sustain their lives and they would need nothing else. This bread was offered for free. No money, no sacrifices, nothing was necessary to give in exchange for it. The bread represented Jesus’ life; His body given as a sacrifice, as a payment for our sins; as a way to obtain forgiveness. Furthermore, at the last supper Jesus had commanded them to remember His sacrifice while eating bread. That is why, at the sound of the breaking of bread, all these images rushed into their minds and hearts. This man was no other than Jesus!

Everything made sense now. Every experience lived, every miracle witnessed, every word He talked, every prophecy about Him. His life, His love, His suffering, His death, His resurrection! Like a camera lenses that closes around the subject and focus in one main thing, every testimony came together and made them realize one single truth: That man was Jesus, the Savior of the World, the Messiah promised in the Bible, the Son of God, and the only hope they would ever have. He is the Only Way to heaven and the only one who can take away our sins, and reconcile us with God.

Jesus, such a short name, such a glorious meaning: He is the Savior of the World. Our Savior

Has all that you know about Jesus come together within your heart already? Have you given up all your good intentions, works and sacrifices to gain the glory? Do you understand that the one thing you need is Him?

And Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life. He who comes to me shall never hunger, and he who believes in me shall never thirst.

The Most Amazing Portrait of Jesus

Painting of Jesus

That very day two of them were going to a village named Emmaus, about seven miles from Jerusalem, and they were talking with each other about all these things that had happened. While they were talking and discussing together, Jesus himself drew near and went with them. But their eyes were kept from recognizing him. And he said to them, “What is this conversation that you are holding with each other as you walk?” And they stood still, looking sad. Then one of them, named Cleopas, answered him, “Are you the only visitor to Jerusalem who does not know the things that have happened there in these days?” And he said to them, “What things?” And they said to him, “Concerning Jesus of Nazareth, a man who was a prophet mighty in deed and word before God and all the people, and how our chief priests and rulers delivered him up to be condemned to death, and crucified him. But we had hoped that he was the one to redeem Israel. Yes, and besides all this, it is now the third day since these things happened. Moreover, some women of our company amazed us. They were at the tomb early in the morning, and when they did not find his body, they came back saying that they had even seen a vision of angels, who said that he was alive. Some of those who were with us went to the tomb and found it just as the women had said, but him they did not see.” And he said to them, “O foolish ones, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken! Was it not necessary that the Christ should suffer these things and enter into his glory?” And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he interpreted to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning himself. (Luke 24: 13-27)

Jesus walked for a while with His disciples and the passage tells us that “He interpreted to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning Himself”. Like and artful master painter, the Lord unveiled before them every detail about Him that was known by the prophets. Jesus’ presence is evident throughout the Bible and as we uncover little pieces of His life, we cannot do less than praise God for giving us the Scriptures.

Jesus was in the beginning, “All things were made in Him, through Him and for Him”. He was there when Adam and Eve sinned. God promised that one day Jesus (the seed of the woman) would crush the head of the serpent (Satan). We find Him again in the animal sacrificed by God to make tunics for Adam and Eve. The shedding of blood covered their sin and brought forgiveness.

Jesus was the spotless lamb of Exodus, the High Priest of Leviticus, and the cloud who guided the Jews in the book of Numbers. He was the promised Messiah of Deuteronomy and the courageous leader in Joshua. Jesus is the Redeemer in Ruth and the faithful friend in Samuel; the Prince of Peace in Kings and the Temple in Chronicles. Our Lord restores in Ezra and He is the “perfect light” (Urim and Thummim) of Nehemiah. He is the deliverer in Esther and Job recognizes Jesus as His resurrected Redeemer.

His personal life was artfully depicted by the prophets: Isaiah knew Jesus would be born of a virgin and worshiped by the magi. Micah knew the place of His birth and Hosea prophesied His family’s flight to Egypt. Jeremiah knew about the infanticide of the Jewish babies by Herod, and Daniel prophesied His kingdom would have no end. Isaiah prophesied God’s voice coming from heaven during Jesus’ baptism, the beginning of the Lord’ ministry, and the very first time He would preach in His hometown!

It was also Isaiah who knew something as personal about Jesus as His temperament. He knew He would be meek and gentle. David, on the other hand, portrayed His righteous zeal for His Father’s house.

Of all the prophets, it was probably Isaiah the most favored by God, since He knew many details about Jesus; His tender love for little children included. Reciprocally, it is David who tells us about the children worshipping Jesus in return!

The Bible tells us that people were amazed by Jesus’ words and deeds, a fact that was known by Isaiah, who also knew that people would turn their backs on Him. He saw Him as the Lamb that was slaughtered, while David prophesied the betrayal of Jude and the payment he received from the Jews.

Zachariah saw Jesus’ disciples scattered and abandoning Him. David knew Jesus would be falsely accused. His last words at the cross were recorded by him as well. Isaiah knew Joseph of Arimathaea would provide a tomb for Jesus’ burial. God gave the privilege to these two men to prophesy Jesus’ glorious resurrection and His joy for having finally fulfilled God’s purpose at the cross.

Our God has knit within the pages of the Bible all that there is to know about His Son. With every brush stroke, the beauty and majesty of God’s plan is revealed to have one purpose only: that all people be saved and come unto the knowledge of the Truth. That’s what I call a Masterpiece!

Jesus Boot Camp Give Away!

When I started this blog one year ago, I doubted I was fit for the task.  The Lord showed me that, “the base things of the world and the things which are despised God has chosen, and the things which are not… that no flesh should glory in His presence.”  I can say like the people of Israel, “the Lord helped me up to this point”

We are approaching the end of the Gospel of Luke, and I am considering the possibility to continuing with the book of Acts, since Luke wrote both books himself, but I’m still thinking about it. I might take some weeks off, for studying two or three themes from the Bible that really interest me, before I start with Acts. You might consider continuing to following my blog if you are interested in studying it. In the meantime, I encourage you to visit “the other side” of this blog; that is onetruthonegod.wordpress.com  There, you will find many videos covering a variety of subjects that’ll help you to grow more. Also I have posts about my spiritual life and things the Lord has taught me through the years. I am sure you’ll find it helpful. Don’t forget that we still have one more chapter of Luke to study, so don’t give up on me.

I want to give away the book The Gospel’s Power and Message by Paul Washer, It is a precious book, filled with profound teaching, backed up exclusively by the Bible. I will give away 2 of these books. The only thing I ask from you, is that if you ask for it, you make sure you want to actually read it. This way it won’t be a “collecting dust” at your home, and will benefit your spiritual life.

To receive one of these books, you only need to do 3 things:

Tell me your name, why you would like to have this book, and what are your goals as a Christian for the future. By the way, you don’t have to be a Christian to ask for this book. Just let me know your reason in asking for it. That’s it. Depending on how many of you respond, I’ll decide if I need to do a raffle, or just choose two of you.

One more thing. I’ll cover the cost to send it to your home (or the place of your preference) if you live in the United States, but I am afraid that if you live somewhere else, you might have to cover the cost of the shipping. It might be too expensive for me!

God bless you!

The Resurrection

Now on the first day of the week, very early in the morning, they, and certain other women with them, came to the tomb bringing the spices which they had prepared. But they found the stone rolled away from the tomb. Then they went in and did not find the body of the Lord Jesus. And it happened, as they were greatly perplexed about this, that behold, two men stood by them in shining garments. Then, as they were afraid and bowed their faces to the earth, they said to them, “Why do you seek the living among the dead? He is not here, but is risen! Remember how He spoke to you when He was still in Galilee, saying, ‘The Son of Man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men, and be crucified, and the third day rise again.’” And they remembered His words. Then they returned from the tomb and told all these things to the eleven and to all the rest. It was Mary Magdalene, Joanna, Mary the mother of James, and the other women with them, who told these things to the apostles. And their words seemed to them like idle tales, and they did not believe them. But Peter arose and ran to the tomb; and stooping down, he saw the linen cloths lying by themselves; and he departed, marveling to himself at what had happened. (Luke 24: 1-12)

I have chosen to do things a little differently this time. The resurrection of Jesus is a passage of utmost importance and I am by no means an expert on it. So, this time I’ll let the experts talk to you about it. The next video is part of a talk that Greg Koukl gave at Saddleback Church; called “Two Miracles” (The Death and Resurrection of Jesus). I know you will enjoy and learn a great deal watching it. May the Lord bless you through the teaching of one of the greatest apologists of our time.

Could Jesus Have Survived His Crucifixion?

nails

Now behold, there was a man named Joseph, a council member, a good and just man. He had not consented to their decision and deed. He was from Arimathea, a city of the Jews, who himself was also waiting for the kingdom of God. This man went to Pilate and asked for the body of Jesus. Then he took it down, wrapped it in linen, and laid it in a tomb that was hewn out of the rock, where no one had ever lain before. That day was the Preparation, and the Sabbath drew near. And the women who had come with Him from Galilee followed after, and they observed the tomb and how His body was laid. Then they returned and prepared spices and fragrant oils. And they rested on the Sabbath according to the commandment. (Luke 23: 50-56).

Have you ever heard the absurd idea that Jesus didn’t die? Ahmadiya Muslims affirm that after the crucifixion, Jesus was alive and fled to India! You can read it in the Koran. In the 19th century some others suggested that Jesus only fainted on the cross because of exhaustion. They say that someone gave him a “potion” that made him appeared to be dead, but he woke up later, aided by the cool air in the tomb. Could this be true?

With the help of the excellent book, “The Case for Christ”, by Lee Strobel, we will look at the medical evidence to see if Jesus could survive such an atrocious death. My hope is that at the end, your faith will be strengthened. A word of caution, the descriptions are striking.

If you have followed this blog, you know by now that at Gethsemane Jesus suffered the well-known medical condition called hematidrosis, which caused him to sweat blood. This condition affected Jesus’ skin, making it extremely fragile.

Later, Jesus was flogged. Roman whips were made of braided leather thongs with metal balls and pieces of sharp bone woven into them. The balls caused Jesus deep bruises. As the flogging continued, the sharp bones would cut through the flesh severely. Roman punishment was brutal. The historian Eusebius describe it this way, “The sufferer’s veins were laid bare, and the very muscles, sinews, and bowels of the victim were open to exposure”.  Many died before being crucified, just because of the flogging. So, what do you think so far? Was it possible for someone in this condition to survive? Well, some did. Let see what awaited Christ.

Jesus lost blood at a very rapid rate because of hypovolemic shock. His heart raced trying to pump more blood, but he had not enough, so His blood pressure dropped. This is what caused Jesus to collapse in His way to Calvary. His kidneys would stop producing urine to retain as much fluids as possible, and He became very thirsty. Do you remember Jesus asking for water on the cross? It was result of the hypovolemic shock. Jesus was in critical physical condition even before being crucified.

We’ve talked enough about Jesus crucifixion before, so, I won’t’ tell you much more. I don’t want you to faint on me! Nevertheless, there are some more details you need to know in order to draw your own conclusions. When the Lord finally arrived at Calvary, the Romans made him lay down and nailed His hands to the horizontal beam first. Nails between 5 to 7 inches long ended in a sharp point were driven through Jesus’ wrists. The images we have seen in movies of nails going through Jesus’ palms are just not real.

The nails went through the wrist, because otherwise the flesh in Jesus’ hands would tear and he would fall from the cross. The nails would crush the largest nerve of the hand, producing a pain so unbearable that it was necessary to invent a new word to describe it. That’s how the word “excruciating” was invented. It means “out of the cross”.

Since the vertical beam was permanently attached to the floor, the Romans raised Jesus (already nailed to the other beam), using ropes. Then, they would nail his feet too. Immediately both shoulders would dislocate and His arms would be stretched about six inches more!

Okay. I think this description which by the way is just part of what actually occurred; will give you a good hint about Jesus’ physical condition and His possibilities of survival. You can learn more reading Lee Strobel’s book.

All things considered, it was impossible for any man to survive such a punishment, as it is attested by the experts in the medical field. Jesus was definitely dead at the time of His burial. The question is, do you think He really rose again?

He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities; the chastisement for our peace was upon Him, and by His stripes we are healed. (Isaiah 53: 5)

Darkness

 

cross 1

Now it was about the sixth hour, and there was darkness over all the earth until the ninth hour. Then the sun was darkened, and the veil of the temple was torn in two. And when Jesus had cried out with a loud voice, He said, “Father, ‘into your hands I commit my spirit.’” Having said this, He breathed His last. So when the centurion saw what had happened, he glorified God, saying, “Certainly this was a righteous Man!” And the whole crowd who came together to that sight, seeing what had been done, beat their breasts and returned. But all His acquaintances, and the women who followed Him from Galilee, stood at a distance, watching these things. (Luke 23: 44-49)

According to Matthew Henry’s commentary, it was 12 o’clock at noon when the darkening of the sun occurred. The last three hours in the life of our Savior were hours of darkness; hours of indescribable pain. Darkness was destined to us, but Jesus took even that upon Himself (2 Peter 2: 17).

The light of the sun was shadowed, because The Light of the World was in agony. An earthquake occurred and the rocks split. The earth groaned in pain and indignation at the suffering of Him who sustains all things with the power of His word. The tombs of the saints were opened and many of the dead became alive, because it is Christ who gives life to all.

The veil of the temple, a veil 60 feet high and about 4 inches thick was torn by God. According to Josephus, if someone had tied horses to both sides of the veil and tried to pull it apart it had been impossible! The Old Covenant of the Law had finished, giving way to the new covenant of Grace. Now, the way into the Holy of Holies, the very presence of God, was open for all who believe in Christ.

At the foot of the cross, the Centurion beheld and pondered in reverence at the events surrounding the death of Jesus: His love for His enemies, His consolation and promise to the dying thief, and His tender love for His mother. The centurion experienced the darkness and the earthquake. He heard about the sudden opening of the tombs and the unlikely news that the veil of the temple had been torn from top to bottom suddenly.

The last moments in Jesus’ life impressed him much. After the soldiers offered vinegar to Jesus, he heard the Savior exclaiming, “It is finished”, as if Jesus had planned everything since the beginning. Then the Christ cried with a loud voice, “Father, into your hands I commit my spirit”, and expired. The centurion had heard Jesus at the peak of his distress, asking God why He had forsaken him. Yet later with a peaceful expression in his face He had committed His spirit to God, calling Him “Father”.

The centurion could not conclude other than this, “Certainly Jesus was a righteous man. He was the Son of God” (Mark 15: 33-41)

There is no better way to show the light than in darkness. It is then that its brightness and glory are best displayed. The Lord hung on that cross surrounded by darkness for three long hours. I bet all that were present had nothing to look at, but Jesus on that cross.

The centurion turned his eyes to Jesus and the Lord helped him come out of the darkness of his preconceptions and his sin, and he went home forgiven. The others went home in great distress, probably wondering, “What if this man was really who He said He was? What if Jesus was the Son of God?” but they did nothing about it.

How about you? What if your preconceived ideas about God are wrong? What if He is the ONLY way to heaven?

I have come as a light into the world, that whoever believes in me should not abide in darkness. (John 12: 46)

Living Proof of God’s Purpose

thief

Then one of the criminals who were hanged blasphemed Him, saying, “If you are the Christ, save yourself and us.” But the other, answering, rebuked him, saying, “Do you not even fear God, seeing you are under the same condemnation? And we indeed justly, for we receive the due reward of our deeds; but this man has done nothing wrong.” Then he said to Jesus, “Lord, remember me when you come into your kingdom.” And Jesus said to him, “Assuredly, I say to you, today you will be with me in Paradise.” (Luke 23: 39-43)

We witness in this story an almost instantaneous conversion, and amazingly interwoven in it, we find all the hallmarks of true conversion:

The consequences of his sinful life brought back whatever the thief knew about God, and quickened in him an unexpected fear of God. “Don’t you fear God?  he asked to the other thief. This man begun to realize God was righteous, but he was not.

He understood his sinfulness, and knew there was a price to pay for it. He said, “We receive the due reward of our deeds”.

The thief saw in Jesus much more than a moral teacher, He saw in Christ the face of God. He recognized “Jesus had done nothing wrong”.

He called Him “Lord”, recognizing  Jesus’ divine power and authority, and dared to ask the impossible, “Remember me when you come into your Kingdom”. This man put His trust in Jesus, believing that He was able not only to forgive his sins, but to give him a place in His Kingdom.

The now converted thief rushed into heaven at the very last moment, taking hold of every truth of God contained in the Bible: The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge (Proverbs 1: 7)The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked” (Jeremiah 17:9) “The wages of sin is death” (Romans 6: 23) “Godly sorrow produces repentance leading to salvation” (2 Corinthians 7: 10) Christ committed no sin, nor was deceit found in His mouth” (1 Peter 2: 20) “Jesus came not to call the just, but sinners to repentance” (Luke 5: 32) For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved. (John 3: 17) “But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. (Romans 5: 8) Having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ” (Romans 5: 1) and I could continue on and on…

Every time a sinner is forgiven, redeemed, restored and changed, thousands of biblical truths are confirmed again and again. We Christians are, in a way, living proof of God’s love and mercy, of His saving power, of His hate for sin and His love for righteousness. Have you ever thought about it?

“You are our epistle written in our hearts, known and read by all men; clearly you are an epistle of Christ, ministered by us, written not with ink but by the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets of flesh, that is, of the heart.(2 Corinthians 3: 2-3)

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