Victory Vitamin Blog – John 12:17-18

“Now the crowd that was with him when he called Lazarus from the tomb and raised him from the dead continued to spread the word. 

-John 12:17-18 NIV

 

Which are greater, words or actions?  Jesus once told a parable about a father who asked his two sons to do some work for him.  One son said “Sure!”, but never did it.  The other said, “Nope.”, but later went and did the work.  Words or actions?  One of the things that made Jesus popular with the people of His day was the fact that he didn’t just talk, He acted.  The verse above tells us that the people who were there when Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead continued to spread the word about it.  He didn’t just talk about raising Lazarus, He did it!  Many of the people who rallied around Jesus on Palm Sunday were there because they hear about His great deeds.  Perhaps they wanted to see more?  They soon would, as Jesus willingly entered Jerusalem, gave His life on the cross, and rose from the dead.  Our God is a God of ACTION!  Because we could not save ourselves from our sins, He became human, suffered, and died to earn forgiveness and eternal life for us.  ACTION!  Now it’s our turn.  Jesus acted on our behalf, now we act on His behalf to bring His love and forgiveness to a world that needs it badly.  What action will you take on God’s behalf today?

Victory Vitamin Blog – John 11:23-26

“Your brother will rise again.” Martha answered, “I know 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 will live, even though he dies; and whoever lives and believes in me will never die.”

-John 11:23-26 NIV

 

One of the cornerstone beliefs of Christianity is the resurrection of the dead on the day of Christ’s return.  We know of 3 people that Jesus personally brought back from the dead in Bible times, and apparently it was a widely held belief that on the last day, people’s bodies would come out of the grave to live again.  In the verse above, Martha’s brother Lazarus had died and she said to Jesus, “I know he will rise again in the resurrection at the last day.”  Jesus doesn’t argue with her, or correct her, He simply points to himself as the source of that life after death.  God created us with physical bodies.  For some reason, He desires that we have not just a soul, but a physical body both here on earth, and for eternity.  God knows best.  He’s earned our forgiveness and eternal life through the death and resurrection of His Son, Jesus.  Likewise, we will one day die, our souls will go immediately to be with Christ in heaven, and on the last day, our bodies will rise restored, to join our souls and live eternally in the perfection and peace of heaven.  Through faith in Jesus, death has got no power over you.  Live fearlessly for Christ!

Victory Vitamin Blog – 2 Peter 1:16-18

“We did not follow cleverly invented stories when we told you about the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but we were eyewitnesses of his majesty.”

-2 Peter 1:16-18 NIV

 

I have to think the followers of Jesus heard it all.  They were likely mocked and ridiculed for believing what they did, and following Jesus for so long.  But consider their confidence.  When people mocked them, they could say, “Think what you want.  I saw it with my own two eyes.”  In the words above, Peter is talking about the Transfiguration of Jesus, when Jesus let His divine glory shine through His human form.  Peter, James, and John saw this glory, and they heard the voice of God Himself speak from heaven.  No one could tell them Jesus wasn’t God.  They saw it.  They heard it.  They saw Jesus alive after He was dead.  They saw Jesus float up from earth to heaven.  They heard Jesus say He was coming back. The disciples were willing to die for what they knew was true.  Do you think they would die for a lie?   Haters are gonna hate.  Unbelievers are gonna unbelieve.  I believe the eyewitnesses.  I believe that God inspired the words in the Bible to be written.  I believe they are inerrant.  I believe that God is love, and that the death of Jesus paid for my sins.  I believe that I will spend eternity with Christ in heaven.  There is a strong case for confidence.  Live boldly, die boldly in faith.

Victory Vitamin Blog – Matthew 5:39

“If someone strikes you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also.” 

-Matthew 5:39 NIV

 

Well, that certainly would be different.  The norm would likely be retaliation of some sort.  Jesus encourages us to be different?  Rather than do what is expected, do the unexpected.  Don’t retaliate, be patient.  Don’t be stingy, be generous.  Don’t whine about being inconvenienced, go the extra mile for someone else.  Rather than hate your enemies, love them. Pray for them.  Be radically unselfish with your rights and your property.  Be different!  To what end?  So that others will notice how different you are.  Different like Jesus, who was patient, generous, and loving throughout His life, and as He hung on the cross paying the price for sins we’ve committed.  He hung there, bleeding, dying, and asked God to forgive the people who were killing him.  Someone noticed.  After Jesus died, a centurion stationed at the cross said, “Surely this man was the Son of God.”  People are watching.  Your actions matter.  All of your sins and failures are forgiven so you are free to be radically different.  Different in the right way.  Different like Jesus.

Victory Vitamin Blog – Matthew 5:22

“You have heard that it was said to the people long ago, ‘Do not murder, and anyone who murders will be subject to judgment.’  But I tell you that anyone who is angry with his brother will be subject to judgment.”

-Matthew 5:22 NIV

 

Jesus does a scary thing in this verse.  He equates thoughts with actions.  He’s saying, “If you’re angry, you’re guilty of murder.”  Later He says, “If you look at someone lustfully, you’ve committed adultery.”  As if we weren’t guilty before, now our thoughts condemn us!  We’re sinners, and the wages of sin is death.  If we learn one thing from this verse, it’s that there is no chance of us getting into heaven based on the quality of our actions.  We’re sunk.  Thank God for grace!  Grace means God gives us something we don’t deserve.  What we don’t deserve is forgiveness and eternal life.  We get both however, because Jesus lived a perfect life and offered it on the cross as payment for our sins.  The wages of sin is death, and Jesus paid it.  The good news is this: “it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast.”  Ephesians 2:8-9 NIV  Jesus died and rose so that you and I could have what we don’t deserve.  You are forgiven.  Eternal life is yours through faith in Jesus.  Live in God’s grace.  Live in peace.