GODSPIRATION

 

Godspiration is an arts outreach organization dedicated to bringing high quality and culturally diverse performances, workkshops, and projects to schools, seniors, communities, and special needs populations throughout Maryland, the District of Columbia and Virginia. GODSPIRATION Ministry - We believe that we are each called to respond to God's love by serving God's people.

 

 

Easter - the Resurrection of Jesus

Matthew 28, Mark 16, Luke 24, John 20-21, Acts 1

 

The Tomb Is Empty!

Jesus' body was hastily placed in a tomb on Friday afternoon. There was no time to properly prepare the body for burial with spices and ointments according to Jewish customs. No work could be done on the Sabbath, so that task had to wait until Sunday.

Early Sunday morning, Mary Magdalene and several other women went to the tomb with the spices they had prepared. When they arrived, they found the tomb had been opened already. When they went in, they did not find Jesus' body, and they wondered what had happened.

Suddenly, two angels in dazzling white clothes were there. The women were terrified, but the angels said to them, "Why do you look for the living among the dead? He is not here; He has risen! Remember how He told you that He would be turned over to sinful men, be crucified, and rise again on the third day!"

The women ran back to tell Jesus' apostles what they had seen. Peter and one other apostle went to the tomb to see for themselves. They looked in and saw the linen cloths that Jesus' body had been wrapped in but nothing else. Then they went home, amazed and confused.

Jesus Appears to Mary Magdalene

When Peter and the other apostle went home, Mary Magdalene stayed outside the tomb crying. Suddenly she saw Jesus standing there, but she did not recognize Him at first. Jesus said to her, "Woman, why are you crying? Who are you looking for?" Mary thought He must be the gardener and said, "Sir, if you have taken Him away, tell me where, and I will take Him!" Jesus said, "Mary!" Then she recognized Him and exclaimed, "Master!"

Jesus said, "Don't hold on to me, because I have not yet returned to the Father. But go to my disciples and tell them, 'I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.'"

Then Mary Magdalene went and said to the disciples, "I have seen the Lord!", and she told them everything that had happened.

Jesus Talks with Two Disciples on the Road to Emmaus

Later that same Sunday, two of Jesus' disciples, Cleopas [KLEE uh pas] and another man, were walking along the road to a village called Emmaus [em MAY us], which was about seven miles (11 km) from Jerusalem. All day they had been talking and wondering about all the things that had happened.

Suddenly, Jesus was there with them, but they did not recognize Him. "What are you talking about as you walk along?" He asked. The two disciples looked sad. Cleopas asked, "Are you the only one in Jerusalem who doesn't know the things that have happened there in the last few days?" "What things?" Jesus asked. "The things about Jesus of Nazareth, who was a great prophet before God and all the people, and how our chief priests and leaders handed Him over to be crucified. We had hoped that He was the one to redeem Israel. Yes, and besides, it is now the third day since all of this happened. And now, some women of our group amazed us. They went to His tomb early this morning, but they did not find His body there. They came back and told us that they had seen angels there who said He was alive. Some of those who were with us went to the tomb and found it just as the women said, but they did not see Jesus." Then Jesus said to them, "Oh you are so foolish, and slow of heart to believe in all that the prophets have spoken! Wasn't it necessary for Christ to suffer those things and enter into His glory?"

As they came near the village of Emmaus, the two disciples said to Jesus, "Stay with us, because it is late and the day is now nearly over." So Jesus went in to stay with them. As they were eating, Jesus took bread, blessed it and broke it, and gave it to them. Suddenly they recognized Him as Jesus, and He vanished from their sight.

The two disciples quickly returned to Jerusalem and found the eleven apostles and some of Jesus' other followers gathered together. The apostles told them, "It's true! The Lord has risen and has appeared to Peter." Then the two disciples told everything that had happened on the road to Emmaus.

Jesus Appears to the Apostles

That same Sunday evening most of the apostles were together. They had locked themselves in a room in fear that the religious leaders would want them crucified next. Suddenly, Jesus was there among them. He said, "Peace be with you." Jesus showed them the wounds from crucifixion in his side and hands. The apostles were overjoyed to see Jesus alive again. Jesus said again, "Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, so I send you."

The apostle Thomas was not with the others when Jesus appeared to them. So the others told him, "We have seen the Lord." But Thomas said, "Unless I see the nail marks in His hands, and put my finger in the nail holes and my hand in the wound in His side, I will not believe it."

A week later the apostles were again locked in the same room, and Thomas was with them. Jesus again came and stood among them and said, "Peace be with you." Then Jesus said to Thomas, "Put your finger here and look at my hands. Put your hand in my side. Don't doubt it any more. Believe!" All Thomas could say was, "My Lord and my God!" Jesus said to him, "Have you believed because you have seen? Blessed are those who have not seen but have come to believe."

Jesus Ascends to Heaven

Jesus remained on earth for 40 days after He was resurrected from the dead on that Sunday morning (Acts 1:3). He appeared again to the apostles at the Sea of Tiberias (Sea of Galilee) and on a mountainside in Galilee. He also appeared to more than 500 others (1 Corinthians 15:6).

Jesus' parting words to His disciples were,

All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything that I have commanded you. And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age. (NRSV, Matthew 28:18-20)

When it was time for Jesus to return to heaven, He led His disciples out to a place near Bethany, a village on the slopes of the Mount of Olives about 2 miles (3 km) from Jerusalem. Jesus lifted up His hands and blessed them. Then He ascended to heaven, and the disciples lost sight of Him in a cloud.

Questions

What Is Easter?

Easter Sunday is the most holy day of the year for Christians. It commemorates the resurrection of Jesus. Early Christians celebrated Jesus' resurrection on or near the date of the Jewish Passover, and there is no mention of a separate Easter celebration in the Bible.

Due to the use of different calendar systems over the years, the dates of Passover and Easter have drifted apart. Western churches now celebrate Easter on the first Sunday after the full moon that comes on or after the vernal equinox marking the beginning of Spring. That date may be anywhere between March 22 and April 25.

Why Did the Disciples Have Trouble Recognizing Jesus After He Rose from the Dead?

Mary Magdalene had been crying (John 20:11), and the tears in her eyes could explain why she didn't recognize Jesus at first.

We could infer from Luke 24:16 that God prevented the two disciples on the road to Emmaus from recognizing Jesus at first. But Mark 16:12 suggests Jesus' appearance was somehow different after He rose from the dead. These two disciples were not part of Jesus' inner circle, and they may not have been very familiar with Jesus' face and voice.

A natural reluctance to believe anyone could rise from the dead (John 20:24-25) may have made it difficult for the disciples to believe they were really seeing Jesus again.

Why Wasn't Jesus in the Tomb "Three Days and Three Nights" as Had Been Prophesied?

We would think of "three days and three nights" (Matthew 12:40) as meaning three whole 24-hour periods. But "day and night" was actually a figure of speech from that time in history that could mean any part of a day (Esther 4:16, 5:1, 2 Chronicles 10:5, 10:12). Jesus was in the tomb on parts of three days - Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

Lessons

The death and resurrection of Jesus are the central events of the Christian faith. The miraculous resurrection gave assurance to Jesus' disciples, and to Christians of all times, that Jesus really is the Son of God. It verified His prophesies (Matthew 16:21, Luke 18:31-33) and gave authority to His teachings.

Jesus defeated the power of sin and death. If God could raise Jesus from the dead, then we, too, have reason to hope that we will be raised to live eternally in God's presence.

THE SIXTH WORD

Gospel of John 19:29-30

They put a sponge soaked in wine on a sprig of hyssop and put it up to his mouth.

When Jesus had received the wine, he said, "It is finished;" and he bowed his head and handed over the spirit.


Good Friday - The Crucifixion of Jesus

Matthew 26-27, Mark 14-15, Luke 22-23, John 11-19

Jesus Is Tried by the Sanhedrin

After Judas betrayed Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane, the mob took Jesus to the house of Caiaphas [KY uh fuhs], the high priest. Peter had vowed he would never desert Jesus. But Jesus said to him, "Before the rooster crows, you will deny me three times." All of Jesus' disciples ran away in fear when Jesus was arrested. But Peter followed at a distance and came to the courtyard of the high priest. Three different people recognized him as one of Jesus' disciples, but Peter strongly denied it each time. Then a rooster crowed, and Peter remembered what Jesus had said. He felt very ashamed and began to cry.

The high priest, all the chief priests, the elders and the scribes were waiting at the high priest's house. This was an informal late-night meeting of the Sanhedrin [SAN hee drun], the Jewish ruling council. They had come together to put Jesus on trial, but it was not to be a fair trial. The religious leaders were looking for evidence that would justify putting Jesus to death, but they could not find any. They called many witnesses against Jesus, but the witnesses did not agree with each other.

Finally, the high priest demanded of Jesus, "Tell us if you are the Messiah, the Son of God." Jesus replied, "I am, and you will see me, the Son of Man, sitting at God's right hand and coming back on the clouds of heaven." Then the high priest said, "You have just heard His blasphemy! Why do we need any more witnesses? What is your verdict?" They all shouted, "He deserves death!" Then they spat in Jesus' face and started beating Him.

Jesus Is Tried by Pilate

In their mock trial, the religious leaders had agreed that Jesus should be put to death. But they did not have authority to put anyone to death under Roman law. So, as soon as morning came, they took Jesus to the Roman governor, Pontius Pilate [PON chus PIE lat]. They falsely accused Jesus of treason against the Roman Empire for claiming to be the king of the Jews and for urging people not to pay their taxes.

Pilate saw that Jesus was not really guilty of anything and wanted to let Him go. But Pilate did not want trouble with the religious leaders. He asked Jesus, "Are you the king of the Jews?" Jesus replied, "My kingdom is not of this world. If it were, my followers would have fought to prevent my arrest by the Jewish leaders. But my kingdom is from another place."

It was the governor's custom to release one prisoner at the Passover Feast - anyone the people wanted released. The Jewish leaders knew this and had persuaded the crowd of people gathered around Pilate's house to call for the release of a criminal named Barabbas [buh RAB bas] and to demand that Jesus be crucified.

Pilate asked the crowd of people, "Which do you want me to release, Barabbas or Jesus?" The crowd yelled for Barabbas to be released. Pilate asked, "Then what should I do with Jesus?", and the crowd yelled "Crucify Him, Crucify Him!" So Pilate ordered the Roman soldiers to crucify Jesus.

Jesus Is Crucified

Crucifixion was a cruel form of death reserved for criminals and slaves. First, Jesus was beaten by Roman soldiers. Then he was made to carry His cross to the place of execution. Jesus must have been too weak from the beating to carry His cross all the way; the soldiers forced a man named Simon of Cyrene to carry it the rest of the way.

The cross was placed between two other men who were being crucified that day. The soldiers nailed Jesus to the cross and left Him to die. They put a sign on the cross to mock Jesus that said, "Jesus of Nazareth, the King of the Jews."

About noon, strange things begin to happen. Darkness came over the land for three hours. Then Jesus cried out, "Father, into your hands I commend my spirit," and then He died. The curtain of the temple was mysteriously torn in two, and there was a great earthquake.

It was Friday afternoon, and the Sabbath would start at sundown. It was also a very special Sabbath because it was Passover. The Jewish leaders wanted all the bodies buried before the Sabbath started because they were not allowed to do any work on the Sabbath.

One of Jesus' followers, a man from the town of Arimathea named Joseph, went to Pilate and asked for Jesus' body. He took Jesus' body and hastily put it in a new tomb that had been carved in rock. He rolled a large stone in front of the tomb to seal it.

Questions

Why Did Jesus Have to Die?

Jesus' death was an essential part of God's plan for our salvation. It may seem strange to us today, but animal sacrifices for atonement (reconciliation between God and humans) were very common in Jesus' time. Lambs and other animals were routinely sacrificed in the temple to atone for sin. God accepted the death of the sacrificial animal as a substitute for the death that the sinner deserved.

Jesus was the ultimate sacrifice to atone for the sins of all people. Through His death, we are freed from the deadly grip of sin. Although we do not fully understand the how or why of Jesus' sacrificial death, it offers us a chance for salvation, and that is the central belief and hope of Christianity.

Who Was Responsible for Jesus' Death?

The professional religious leaders - the chief priests, elders and scribes - were the driving force behind the death sentence. Judas, Pilate, the crowd of people who called for Jesus to be crucified, and the Roman soldiers all played a part.

But death on the cross was Jesus' destiny. Once the right time had come, Jesus did what was necessary to be sure it happened as planned. He angered His opponents with a bitter denunciation (Matthew 23). He offered no resistance when the chief priest's mob came to arrest Him. He refused to defend Himself before Pilate. Jesus, Himself, said those responsible for His death were doing God's will, even though they didn't know it (Matthew 26:53-54, Mark 10:33-34, John 12:24-28, 18:11, 19:10-11).

In describing the religious leaders, the Gospel of John sometimes uses the unfortunate shorthand "the Jews" instead of the longer "chief priests, elders and scribes." This has been used many times over the centuries as a pretext for persecuting Jews, but it is only a pretext to hide the true motives of prejudice and hatred. The first-century Jewish people as a whole were not responsible for Jesus' death, and their modern-day descendants certainly do not bear any guilt.

Why Was the Curtain of the Temple Torn When Jesus Died?

The curtain of the temple closed off the most holy room of the temple. Only the high priest could enter, once a year, and stand in the presence of God. The tearing of the curtain was a symbol that the death of Jesus had opened the way for all of mankind to approach God.

What Does "INRI" Mean?

The letters "INRI," sometimes shown on the cross, are an acronym for the Latin phrase Iesus Nazarenus Rex Iudaeorum. They stand for "Jesus of Nazareth, King of the Jews." This was the inscription put on the cross by Pilate to mock Jesus. Here was the supposed "king" hanging on the cross like a common criminal. Little did His executioners realize Jesus was really the greatest king of all time!

Where Was Jesus Crucified?

The Bible says Jesus was crucified at a place called Golgotha [GOL gah thuh] (Matthew 27:33, Mark 15:22, John 19:17), which means "Place of the Skull." Luke 23:33 calls the place simply "The Skull." The word "Calvary" (Luke 23:33, in the King James Version), was adapted from the word in old Latin Bibles, calvaria, which means "skull." Golgotha was somewhere outside the walls of Jerusalem, but no one is sure exactly where.

Why Is the Day Jesus Died Called "Good Friday?"

No one is sure. It is called Holy Friday in many other languages. Some say it was originally "God's Friday" in English and somehow got changed into "Good Friday."

 

 

 

Our purpose is to bring the Gospel to the poor, vulnerable and excluded people in our society. Our mission is to carry out Jesus Great Commission, to spread the truth of Jesus, to educate Christian disciples and with them gather the harvest. Through the Arts, we celebrate the redemptive love of God, model the servant hood of Christ, and awaken the transforming passion of the Holy Spirit - the God in us. 

 

 

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                    Confess Jesus Christ as Your Savior


God loves us; in fact, He is in love with you, and me too. He loves us so much that He gave to us the best that Heaven had to offer: His son, Jesus!

John 3:16….For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.

God's love is not like human love. It's an AGAPE (an unconditional, universal good will) love. That means that He is a forgiving God and His love for you and I never changes. What a love!

God knows that we would never be able to measure up to His standard. "All have sinned and come short of the glory of God."

But He cared so much that He decided to reach down to us. Would you like to reach back to God today? You can, by saying this prayer:

Heavenly Father, I come to you confessing that I am a sinner. I repent from my sins and ask you for your forgiveness. I believe in my heart that Jesus Christ is the Son of God and that You raised him from the dead. I confess that Jesus is my Lord and Savior. I believe that through His shed blood, I have eternal life. Please come into my heart and fill me with Your Holy Spirit. Lead me and guide me so that my soul can reach heaven. Father, I pray this prayer in Jesus name, Amen!

If you prayed this prayer in earnest, you are SAVED! Your sins have been forgiven and you are now one in the body of Christ.