25 Devotions – Day Five

The Native: More Than A List Of Names

Day Five…

Matthew 1:4
And Aram begat Aminadab; and Aminadab begat Naasson; and Naasson begat Salmon;

Have you ever noticed the two lists, one in Matthew, and the other in Luke? They are genealogies. According to Scofield, Matthew lists Joseph’s lineage, and Luke lists Mary’s family. Luke mentioning Joseph because he was her husband.

Some may wonder why The Lord took time to recite them all. Others may have wanted it to be filled with information about the Infant Christ. The wonderful thing is, God intentionally made a place for what others may think as just a register.

To Him, this is more than a list of names. These were living, breathing members of His family. Men and women that He had walked with, people who committed their lives to God. He would no more forget them than He would ignore us. They are an illustration of His promise, I will never leave thee nor forsake thee.

This Christmas, a lot of people are suffering, it’s been a wonderful year, but incredible doesn’t always mean easy. Whatever battles you’ve faced this year, whatever trial you’re dealing with, remember this. He never forgot the names of friends long gone, those covered in the dust of history, so He will remember us.

You and I don’t know much about Aram, but God can tell you what were his greatest dreams, and hardest battles. Every tear that others ignored, The Savior collected. Just like you and I, He carried those tears from a wooden manger to a timber cross. The God who always remembers, made it possible to forgive, and forget all of our sins at Calvary. Casting them, as The Bible says, as far as the east is from the west.

Malachi 3:16-17
16 Then they that feared the Lord spake often one to another: and the Lord hearkened, and heard it, and a book of remembrance was written before him for them that feared the Lord, and that thought upon his name.
17 And they shall be mine, saith the Lord of hosts, in that day when I make up my jewels; and I will spare them, as a man spareth his own son that serveth him.

Four hundred years separated The Old Testament and The New Testament, but time didn’t weaken God’s memory. Centuries didn’t destroy God’s promise, nor circumstances alter it. If armies couldn’t stop it then, they can’t silence your hope now.

He remembers you as much as He remembers them. He recalls, He cares, and He will cause you to give birth to your promise. One day, as He did in Matthew and Luke, He will read our names out of The Lamb’s Book Of Life. He loves you and I so much, He wrote down our names! Merry Christmas!

25 Devotions- Day Four

The Native: His First Words

This is the continuing celebration of The Native, in words and pictures.  

Matthew 3:15
And Jesus answering said unto him, Suffer it to be so now:for thus it becometh us to fulfil all righteousness. Then he suffered him.

A child’s first words are huge. I would guess that every parent remembers them. We don’t know what The Lord Jesus’ first words were, each Gospel chooses a different phrase to introduce us to The Master’s Voice. In Matthew, He is talking to John The Baptist. Suffer in the original means allow. Jesus is saying, Allow this now, for we are called to fulfill all righteousness.

Mark 1:14-15
14 Now after that John was put in prison, Jesus came into Galilee, preaching the gospel of the kingdom of God,
15 And saying, The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand:repent ye, and believe the gospel.

The verse before it is very important as well. The catalyst of this setting is John’s imprisonment. In the Hebrew John means “Jehovah Has Graced”, or the Grace Of God. Man had sinned, and fallen into despair and degradation. For us, the possibility of Salvation was non existent before Calvary. That was when The Lord Jesus walked into the center of the world preaching The Gospel.

In Mark He mentions fulfillment again.”The time is fulfilled, The Kingdom Of God is here, repent, and believe the Gospel. ” In other words, Grace is here, it’s time to make a choice, discard your sins, and believe.

Luke 2:49
And he said unto them, How is it that ye sought me? wist ye not that I must be about my Father’s business?

Luke gives us the earliest words of Jesus, at twelve years old. This is not the bearded face of The Carpenter, this is Christ in transition from boy to teen, the age that began the journey from child to man.

Sought: g2212. ζητεω zeteo; of uncertain affinity; to seek (literally or figuratively); specially, (by Hebraism) to worship (God), or (in a bad sense) to plot (against life):— be (go) about, desire, endeavour, enquire (for), require, (x will) seek (after, for, means).

He made statements in Matthew and Mark, in Luke and John He asks a question. Jesus uses a word, sought. He had experienced it’s meaning, in both a positive and a negative way. The Shepherds and The Wise Men sought to worship Him. Herod sought to kill Him. Every one will seek in some way. Either to join Him, or to attempt to destroy Him out of their life.

The Lord Jesus second sentence clarifies our options. If you seek Me, then it’s going to be about the work of God, the work of Redemption. Everything else is secondary. Jesus later said “Seek ye first The Kingdom Of God, and His righteousness …” Prior to saying it, He lived it.

John 1:38
Then Jesus turned, and saw them following, and saith unto them, What seek ye?– They said unto him, Rabbi, (which is to say, being interpreted, Master,) where dwellest thou?
39 He saith unto them, Come and see. They came and saw where He dwelt, and abode with Him that day:for it was about the tenth hour.

In the fourth Gospel, He is followed by two disciples of John. They were Andrew and John. His simple question, “What Seek Ye?” The answer, was, where you dwell, or abide. Jesus’ response to them is His answer to us all. “Come and see.” His life, death, and resurrection made it possible for us to be with Him. Something that was impossible until a child cried in Bethlehem.

When you combine the message of all four of “His First Words”, you see The Kingdom’s Mission Statement. The Lord Jesus allowed Himself to go through all that He suffered so that He could impart His righteousness to man. He made it possible for us to choose Heaven as a future. To leave all our sin, and all our past at an altar. To join Him in the work of The Gospel. Asking others in pain, like we were, what are you seeking? When they ask if this is really an option? We can smile with the hope of Heaven, “Come and see.”

25 Devotions- Day Three

The Native: In The Order Of His Course

Luke 1:5-8
5 There was in the days of Herod, the king of Judaea, a certain priest named Zacharias, of the course of Abia: and his wife [was] of the daughters of Aaron, and her name [was] Elisabeth.
6 And they were both righteous before God, walking in all the commandments and ordinances of the Lord blameless.
7 And they had no child, because that Elisabeth was barren, and they both were [now] well stricken in years.
8 And it came to pass, that while he executed the priest’s office before God in the order of his course,

He was “of the course of Abia”. This is something that I had skipped most of my life. However, as we have been taught, The Word Of God has a reason for everything within it’s pages. Years before, King David separated the Levites into twenty four courses, one under Abia. This family of priests, showed no record of returning from Babylon in the captivity.

In Nehemiah’s days, the remaining families of Priests were separated to fulfill the twenty four courses. This meant that Zacharias was a substitute for a family that no longer had a record of existing. It may not seem like much, until you view it this way. God appointed a man to serve at His altar in a substitute capacity for someone who no longer had rights to the altar.

Aren’t you glad that God sent a High Priest to intercede at the altar when sin had cost us our place? The difference is this, there is no record of Abia’s family ever returning.

The Lord Jesus didn’t come to Earth to adapt to our sinful ways, but to graft us in to Him through His blood. So that we could triumphantly enter with Him into glory one day. The name Abia means My Father Is God. We can come before the altar because God has adopted us into His family. That is what makes the next verse so rich as well.

8 And it came to pass, that while he executed the priest’s office before God in the order of his course,

The word order in Luke 1:8 comes from the Greek word taxis. It means a fixed succession, observing a fixed time. It’s no coincidence that this was when God chose to reveal the coming of Zacharias’ son. Zacharias was the son of a priest, who had been the son of a priest, and so on.

So many times, I allow myself to become overwhelmed by my current problem that I forget all the answers to the ones behind me. Zacharias longed for a child, and it didn’t seem possible. Then again, it doesn’t seem possible that a nomadic people who were slaves in Egypt could be liberated. It doesn’t seem possible that a people who were given a promised land by God, and lost it due to sin, could ever have come back to it.

How often we forget that our God is The God Of The Impossible! That, just as ordinary is common for us, impossible is His daily routine. What is amazing about our God isn’t that He performs the impossible. It’s that for thirty years on Earth, He would choose to limit Himself to the ordinary.

When you view God through this thought, giving an old couple a baby isn’t hard for Him. After all, that’s how this people started to begin with. How often we forget Abraham when we’re facing a trial. Isaac was just the first of many children of Israel produced in a miraculous way.

James 1:4
4 But let patience have [her] perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing.

Notice, Patience is referred to as a female, and it references maturity. Much like the picture of a Mother giving birth to a baby. Tribulation worketh patience, just as contractions produce a child. Trials are the contractions of a Christian. They are used to give birth to the Ministry that God has placed in us, for a specific time.

Our Lead Pastor, Pastor Livingston, from Point Of Mercy in Nashville recently shared an incredible message on Hannah. In it, he brought out a life altering point, Samuel was given at exactly the right time. Years earlier, and he would not have been in time to anoint and train two kings, one of those kings was David.

Hannah had to wait for an appointed time. Zacharias and Elisabeth also had to wait to have John when they did. Years earlier, and he could not have been the forerunner. He would have missed the very purpose of his existence, had he have been born sooner.

Whatever battle you face today, ignore your clock. We look at second hands, and panic. God takes His hand and stops time to bring His people out of a valley. It’s all done when we serve, before God in the order of His course.

25 Devotions – Day Two

In The Days Of Herod/Hero

This is our second post in our Bible Study “The Native”. We hope that you enjoy, and follow along with us, as we explore the greatest birth in the history of the world.

Luke 1:1
1 Forasmuch as many have taken in hand to set forth in order a declaration of those things which are most surely believed among us,

This verse both refreshes and energizes me. It contains three words that are lacking from many parts of our culture. The phrase, “most surely believed among us,” reflects the conviction of the New Testament Church. Sadly, “most surely believed”, is noticeably absent from much of the modern world.

Politicians have their opinions, focus groups, and pollsters. Their position seems to shift with the wind. Sadly, many religious organizations are doing this as well. Some things can be debated, others argued, but core beliefs should be held to fiercely, and never compromised.

The word believed, in this passage, comes from a Greek word, plerophoreo. Meanings for this word include to bear or bring full, to fulfill the ministry in every part. It also means, to fill one with any thought, conviction, or inclination, and to make one certain.

As we begin our study of “The Native” Of Bethlehem, we must be reminded that His very existence was due to conviction, a Heavenly one. A heartfelt commitment that man, though unworthy, sinful, and fallen since the Garden, would receive an opportunity for redemption.

Luke 1:1, 5
1 Forasmuch as many have taken in hand to set forth in order a declaration of those things which are most surely believed among us,

5 There was in the days of Herod, the king of Judaea, a certain priest named Zacharias, of the course of Abia: and his wife [was] of the daughters of Aaron, and her name [was] Elisabeth.

Luke 2:1
1 And it came to pass in those days, that there went out a decree from Caesar Augustus, that all the world should be taxed.

For a moment, let’s compare Luke 1:1 with Luke 2:1. Many people can quote the beginning verses of the second chapter, but few can quote the beginning verses of the first. One is a declaration of belief from a simple Christian, the other is a command from the head of an empire. The difference is this, the Christian is part of a living, breathing, active Kingdom of light. The emperor is a forgotten relic of a long dead government covered in the dust of history.

Often, we get discouraged when we see injustice. To hear us talk, you would think that sin would continue to rule unchecked indefinitely, but how quickly we forget. God is not intimidated in the face of evil. When the ungodly rule, it is an invitation for a change orchestrated by The Hand Of God. Such was the case in both Luke 1:5 and 2:1, “There was in the days of Herod”, and “a decree from Caesar Augustus”, two totalitarian rulers with blood on their hands. It was in this atmosphere of despair that two babies would be born.

People’s names in The Bible are important, their meaning is not by chance, or insignificant. We know this when we’re discussing a prophet. If his name means God is glorified, we point to his ministry. If however, the person is a wicked and harmful person, we only pay attention to their name if it is a negative. It is the times that either a wicked person has a good name, or a good person has a wicked name which confuses us. This brings us to “the days of Herod.”

Any Bible scholar knows the wickedness of Herod the Great. His long list of crimes include the murder of the innocents. Herod’s name however, reflects a different image. It is a compound of two words, heroes and eidos. Eidos means the external or outward appearance, form figure, and shape. Together they form the word heroic, but if you look at the compound, it is a reflection of Herod, he appears a hero.

Herod wanted people to look at him as a hero, a champion of his people. He feigned himself a seeker of The Messiah in front of the Wise men. Herod had a smile on his face, and murder in his heart. Our reputation must reveal our hearts, and not reflect a façade that we hide behind. Otherwise, our relationship with Jesus will go from seeking Him, to attempting to extinguish Him from our lives completely.

5 There was in the days of Herod (Heroic), the king of Judaea, a certain priest named Zacharias (Remembered By Jehovah), of the course of Abia (My Father Is Jehovah): and his wife [was] of the daughters of Aaron (Light-Bringer), and her name [was] Elisabeth (Oath Of God).

Setting aside Herod’s character for a moment, how exciting is the statement on face value? Look not at the names, but their meanings. Without taking the Scripture out of context, let’s view it this way. In the days of the heroic, a certain priest was remembered by Jehovah. God had not forgotten them, and He has not forgotten us either.

25 Devotions – Day One

In celebration of our Christmas Bible Study Devotional, we will share a devotion from The Native.  The Native is a very special combination of words and pictures, inspired by The Lord Jesus.  Today is our introduction to The Native …

It examines the miraculous plan of God. The fact that the First Citizen Of Eternity became a citizen of Earth. He, whose innocence was so foreign to man, became The Son Of Man. We call it simply “The Native”.

It will look at a combination of Scriptures. These include the first two chapters of Matthew and Luke, and the first chapter of John. Also the prophecies of His birth in The Old Testament, and Paul’s reference to Christ’s birth in Hebrews.

In your mind, walk with me as we catch up with some travelers on a desert road. What’s that they are looking at? In their hands is a Star Chart. Ancient and yellowed by time, it is a map of more than the stars, it’s a treasure map. It tells how a group of men held onto a promise, older than time itself, and found it fulfilled in a small baby, newly born.

We’ll meet these wise men, a group of shepherds, an old man, and a couple whose sole purpose is to protect a newborn Savior. PruittWrites is very excited about this project, and we hope that you will join us for the study of “The Native”.

25 Devotions – Day Twenty Five

The Native: The Native Rex

John 19:19-20
19 And Pilate wrote a title, and put it on the cross. And the writing was, Jesus of Nazareth the King of the Jews.
20 This title then read many of the Jews: for the place where Jesus was crucified was nigh to the city: and it was written in Hebrew, and Greek, and Latin.

Iesvs Nazarenvs Rex Ivdaeorvm was written over the cross. We know it as Jesus of Nazareth, The King of the Jews, and we know that it means so much more than a monarch of a single people. What fascinated me, was the use of the word Rex, an especially Roman word.

Before there were emperors in Rome, there were kings, known by the title Rex. Yes it’s Latin for king, but it’s a title specifically identified with Rome. To me, it reflects the very poignant fact that, before Rome was, before God walked in flesh, He spoke worlds into existence, and He continues long after Rome is just a memory.

The I Am, who said He would walk in flesh to die for me, also said He would get back up in three days, and He did just that. We rejoice at the cross, not that He suffered, but that even in His grief, He was in control. Only Christ could turn a place of heartache and agony, into a command center.

For if you read the words from the cross, the soldiers react when He speaks, the people are astonished at the events of the weather, because of His death. Nature itself shakes in grief, because her King, Her Rex Eternal, had paid a miraculous price for man’s salvation, and it was finished, but He wasn’t!

Just as the cross recognized who was on it in its title, written in Hebrew, Greek, and Latin. We know Him as the King of Kings, and The Lord of Lords, Savior to every race, nation, and culture. We rejoice today, because we also know something the Romans learned over 2,000 years ago. They saw Kingship in His eyes.

The Champion ripped asunder the transgressions of mankind, the thing that separated God from His creation, and eliminated every barrier to eternity. The last one being death itself, for even it bowed it’s knee to the King Of Eternity, The Lord Jesus!

25 Devotions – Day Twenty Three

The Native: Jesus Christ To The Strangers

“…Jesus Christ, to the strangers…”

1 Peter 1:1
Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ, to the strangers scattered throughout Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia,

I included both references so you would see the complete verse, but today, those five words stuck out to me. The Message translates it as, “I, Peter, am an apostle on assignment by Jesus, the Messiah, writing to exiles scattered to the four winds…”

Both versions are beautiful, but what struck me was the dual meaning of those words. Now, we are citizens of another kingdom, one not of this world, but there was a time when we were a different type of strangers.

Because of sin, we were strangers to the commonwealth of Israel. A sinless, spotless God was foreign to us. Even to Israel, sin was a barrier. Then God did the unthinkable, He went from reaching out to strangers to entering a strange world.

The One who created Earth, became a stranger in it. He walked the streets of our world, and yet people treated Him like an unwelcome stranger, and He allowed it for our sakes. He endured more than the pain of the cross, knowing everyday how His creation viewed Him.

Introducing Himself to strangers, hoping they would take the time to accept His friendship. Jesus is still introducing His kindness, mercy, and salvation to a hurting and painful world. Are we doing the same?

When we meet someone we don’t know, is any part of our mind on introducing ourselves to them? Or are we only thinking about our coffee, groceries, and what what we need? Even when Jesus was tired, hungry, and thirsty, He put the needs of the people He met above His own.

Do we do that? Sure, it’s on our minds on Sunday, but what about Thursday? Simon Peter said He was on assignment from Jesus, to communicate with strangers. What if we started to view every chance encounter as a scheduled meeting by God.

I don’t mean to get super spiritual and let them know it. I only mean, to stop, take a breath, and be focused on them. To be kind on purpose, not wanting anything, just intent on reflecting Jesus.

Strategically listening, caring about their problems, and following up at every opportunity. This will create friendships, and that means you’re no more strangers. Then, like friends do, we can introduce our new friends to our best friend.

The only friend that can forgive, free, and forge a new life for those who are introduced to His mercy. Then, they can go from the verse we began with, to this one.

Ephesians 2:19
19 Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellowcitizens with the saints, and of the household of God;

25 Devotions – Day Twenty Two

The Native: Paul’s Nativity

Hebrews 1:6
6 And again, when he bringeth in the firstbegotten into the world, he saith, And let all the angels of God worship him.

The Apostle Paul covered many subjects. One he spoke very little on, was Christ’s birth in Bethlehem. Except for this verse, and I had passed over it for years.

There’s only one event in The New Testament it could be referring to. Like Hebrews, it involved The Christ, angels, and shepherds. I like to think of this verse as Paul’s Nativity.

Luke 2:13-15
13 And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying,
14 Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.
15 And it came to pass, as the angels were gone away from them into heaven, the shepherds said one to another, Let us now go even unto Bethlehem, and see this thing which is come to pass, which the Lord hath made known unto us.

They say Francis of Assisi started the first Nativity scene in 1223. He did this, after a visit to Israel, where he saw Bethlehem. He wanted to encourage the worship of Christ.

The same as the Apostle Paul did here. He was speaking to the Jews about what he had received, just as the shepherds had in Luke 2. After receiving, they visited the Christ child, and shared the announcement with everyone.

In Paul’s conversion, Christ spoke to Him, and conversation led to transformation. The troubler of churches, became the Apostle to the Gentiles. The same message that Gabriel announced years before, brought Paul peace on earth.

According to the book of Revelation, a Pastor is called the Angel of the local Church. He is both a minister and a shepherd, sharing the vision of Heaven, and caring for the flock. To Paul, as it should be to us, it was more than a Christmas story.

Whether it’s on a plain in Bethlehem, a Roman prison house, or your local assembly, Angels still announce the good news. Bethlehem is more relevant today than it has ever been before.

God did arrive, born of a virgin, to save a lost and hurting world. Angels, we have heard on high, not in glowing robes, but suits and jeans. The message alters all it touches, from the messenger to it’s recipients.

That transformation doesn’t stop at conversion. It continues from the day you experience it, until the day the angel announces His return. He doesn’t offer a shallow reassurance, but a concrete hope.

There are real problems today, just as then. Only unlike Him, we don’t face a murder plot in the first two chapters of our lives. Some would have stood against all who attempted the attack. Instead, He chooses a redeemed murderer to share the Gospel.

Paul knew firsthand the limitless power of the message of Jesus. He voluntarily went from jailer to jail cell, because He believed. Paul believed enough to be born again. Whether you’re a believer, or a skeptic, I challenge you to revisit it today, reading with an open heart.

Hear the angel, see the shepherds, and meet The One who came to Bethlehem, knowing its road would lead to Calvary. Christ believed in us enough, to be born to die. Shouldn’t we believe enough to allow Him in our hearts?

25 Devotions – Day Twenty One

The Native: More Than You Ever Dreamed

Matthew 2:9

9 When they had heard the king, they departed; and, lo, the star, which they saw in the east, went before them, till it came and stood over where the young child was.

It’s amazing how people at Christmas time view The Nativity. Many never stop to read the events, and base them on memories and perception. This week was an example of that.

A program wrongly attempted to say that the wise men had questions when they left because they found a child instead of a king. I try to keep an open mind, and I listened to their argument, but two verses contradict their theory.

They knew they were seeking a child born King of the Jews, and they were confused at first. They arrived in Jerusalem, expecting Him to be born into a palace. They may have been puzzled up until they bowed at His feet, but that ended at the feet of Jesus.

Readily they opened their treasures, and gave Him gifts reflecting His Divinity, kingship, and sacrifice. That to me is proof enough, but it’s not my primary argument. If you doubt they were convinced in the presence of God Himself, then I point you to this verse.

Matthew 2:12

12 And being warned of God in a dream that they should not return to Herod, they departed into their own country another way.

If any doubt attempted to hide in the caverns of their mind, this eclipsed it through The Light. As Paul said in Timothy, He was manifest in the flesh, and justified in The Spirit.

By accepting the child, they experienced a conversation with God on another realm. There would be much they didn’t get to talk with Him about, even if He was two years old at the time of their journey as scholars think. Yet, for their sacrifice, they still received a message from Heaven.

We are not given the details of the dream, just the message. For years I viewed it as only a warning about Herod, but it was a confirmation of all they saw. Can you imagine experiencing God, not once, but twice on their trip?

God will always give you more than you seek, or expect. The wise men hoped to see Him once, and to bow at His feet. They rejoiced at this, but did not expect to walk into the Heavenly realm where God spoke as they rested.

This Christmas, in the middle of all the hustle and bustle, spend some time at His feet. No matter how many years you’ve followed Him, I guarantee from experience, you’ll receive more than you ever dreamed.

25 Devotions – Day Twenty

The Native: The Three Wisemen Of Calvary

The following is a message I was privileged to preach at Point Of Mercy in Nashville, Tennessee.  I’ve added it to The Native Bible Study because I feel it fits into the theme of the study.

John 19:38-39

38 And after this Joseph of Arimathaea, being a disciple of Jesus, but secretly for fear of the Jews, besought Pilate that he might take away the body of Jesus: and Pilate gave him leave. He came therefore, and took the body of Jesus.
39 And there came also Nicodemus, which at the first came to Jesus by night, and brought a mixture of myrrh and aloes, about an hundred pound weight.

Among the many interesting things about the Burial of Our Lord is these two men. Jesus needed no help to die, or to rise again, but of necessity someone would carry His body to the tomb. He was carried in, but He would walk out of His own accord.

I believe that every event in The Bible has a specific purpose, so I believe that these men’s involvement was no accident. The Lord and these two men went together into the tomb. They were hand selected for the job, they were wise men, and friends. I mention they were all wise men, so today lets call them The Wisemen Of Calvary.

You must start with Jesus, who was so much more than a man. His resurrection would write not just a new law, but a new covenant. This wasn’t just anyone, this was The Savior.

His entire mission was about relationship. It was more than only the forgiveness of sins, it was about a life of working together. Jesus’ goal was to wash away our sins, and to walk with us through the highways and byways as we reach others.

1 Peter 2:5-6
5 Ye also, as lively stones, are built up a spiritual house, an holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ.
6 Wherefore also it is contained in the scripture, Behold, I lay in Sion a chief corner stone, elect, precious: and he that believeth on him shall not be confounded.

That’s why I love about this part of that day. It is the unique aspect of Calvary, Jesus knew that not just any men could do the job. They were doing more than burying a body, they were laying The Spiritual Cornerstone of the Church. The men that carried His body had to meet certain requirements, the first goes back to a conversation Jesus had with one of them in John 3.

John 3:16
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.

They had to be believers. They didn’t have to understand everything going on. They could be like us, they could have fears, and questions about certain things, but they had to be believers. Nicodemus first words in John 3:22 to Jesus confessed his belief, and our text reflects Joseph’s belief as well. Their faith in Him was the very reason they had volunteered for this task.

Our Savior doesn’t expect us to get everything, just to trust Him. If you have questions, ask with the right attitude. He will answer the relevant ones. When He doesn’t answer the others, trust that His Grace is sufficient. I didn’t know what I was facing this week, when I got the call about Mom’s heart attack, but I trusted that no matter what, God was in control. I was terrified, but I knew He wasn’t, and that was enough.

If you’re going to do anything for Jesus, you must believe the words of our Pastor’s (Pastor Denny Livingston) song, that “He is Greater Than The Need, and Bigger Than The Problem.” They didn’t understand why this had happened, they couldn’t predict the events of Sunday, but through it all, they had a firm grip on The Lord Jesus. In one sense, they were carrying Him, but their love for Him, was carrying them through this.

If you’re going through something, if the events of your life are shaking you, grasp The Savior a little tighter. He will carry you from the sorrow of your heartache to the shouts of an empty tomb. You see, these men had a relationship with Jesus, and that will produce life out of death, joy out of sorrow, and hope in a hopeless situation.

The second man was Joseph of Arimathea. Both he and Nicodemus were rulers of the Jews, members of the Sanhedrin, which was like a religious senate of the Jews. They were secret disciples, but the events of Calvary converted their silence into action.

It was Joseph’s tomb, he had it built for himself. Like many do, he placed a garden outside of it. They say men would do this so they could go there, and remind themselves of their own mortality. David said, teach me to know my end, so he would know how frail he was.

Here is the thing that always puzzled me, why Calvary for a graveyard? The Scriptures say that His burial place was in the same area as His Death. The way I read John 19, this was a place that had been used as a execution place before. Why there?

I understand that it fulfilled prophecy, let’s not forget, we view things on this side of Calvary, but on that side, what was Joseph’s thinking originally? Was it to remind this successful man that we all enter and exit this world in the same manner?

Did he realize there was a reason that he didn’t understand, but knew there was a higher purpose? If so, even without knowing everything he listened. Be sensitive to God’s leading in your life, and if you’re uncertain, seek council. Pray about it, talk to the Man Of God that He has placed to watch for our souls. God placed Pastors in my life and yours because they know where God wants to take us.

God had a plan for the piece of land Joseph had. Matthew said that Joseph had built the tomb for himself, and John said it was in the same place where Jesus was crucified.

Joseph built the tomb, and had the garden planted, and cultivated. God will plant, and cultivate things in you before its ever time to harvest. Joseph’s tomb and garden had a great future, but they started with rock, dirt, and seed. You’ll have some hard knocks, and some things will have to be dug out, but He has a wonderful future ahead.

Perhaps it was an inherited piece of land? Maybe an ancestor had been assigned it in the day of Joshua’s, and the family had reclaimed it after the return from Babylon. After all, who would want a place like this. Scholars say it is probable that the reason it was called the place of the skull was that it was famous for the skulls of condemned prisoners beheaded there.

Can you imagine that being your inheritance? The place of anguish and sorrow, and your family handing you the deed? It’s yours now, good luck, it was my problem first, now it’s yours. How many have hand me down horrors you inherited?

Jesus forever transformed the way we view Calvary. Now we look at it, not as a place of execution, but exoneration! No matter what you’ve inherited, He can make you new. He can transform whatever your situation and give you a much better inheritance!

The last man was Nicodemus. I wonder if the memory of that first meeting with Jesus echoed through his mind the way the outside light bounced off the sides of the cave? As he wrapped the body of Jesus with myrrh and aloes, did He remember The Master saying “You must be born again?”

As they entered the cave did he think about his own question, “How can a man enter the second time into his mother’s womb?” As he wrapped the side of Jesus with clothes covered in myrrh and aloes, did he remember the words of Jesus?

John 3:5
5 Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.

When the Roman soldier had pierced Jesus’ side, out ran blood and water. This pointed back to the night time conversation, and ahead to Baptism and the Infilling Of The Spirit. Did verses fourteen and fifteen of John 3 dance through his thoughts?

Jesus hinted at Nicodemus’ conversion conversation about the last time we would see Nicodemus in Scripture. He was essentially saying “Nic, you’ll carry me in, but I’ll bring you out!” Nicodemus and Joseph both refused to follow their colleagues when they plotted against Jesus. They knew the Jews had it in for Jesus. Perhaps they even tried to warn Jesus, not that He didn’t already know. When He went to raise Lazarus, the disciples said Master the Jews recently sought to kill you. I’m sure it wasn’t hard to figure out, but maybe Joseph and Nicodemus had told them.

Either way, Nicodemus had a 100 pound combination of myrrh and aloes ready. There was no Jerusalem mart, or judea.com with same day delivery. When it was time for it, He was equipped to complete the task. When God calls you, He will equip you with what you need, when you need it.

This whole message has brought us to these three points. First, (1) your journey should reflect your conversion. As a Christian, we must never get too far from our first trip to the altar. That was Christ’s whole message to the seven Churches of Revelation, when you meet Me here, I’ll keep you there, as long as wherever you are, you stay connected to here.

The second event we see Nicodemus at in Scripture was in John 7. The Pharisees were attacking Jesus verbally, Nicodemus defended Him. The second point of the Message is, (2) Your commitment will compel you to action. Pastor preached a masterpiece of a message about the Three Tables Of The Church, and I believe that all of us can serve the needs of others.

These Sanhedrin members essentially became grave diggers for their love of Jesus. Jesus reputation was attacked, Nicodemus’ commitment compelled him to act then, and at Calvary. On the day of the preparation for eating the Passover, when no one wanted to touch a dead body, because of being considered unclean, these men were committed to Christ.

That brings us to the third and final point, (3) From conversion to completion, it will result in caring for Christ’s body. That wasn’t just the physical earthly body of The Savior they were carrying, it was symbolic of The Church.

These men aren’t remembered for their riches, their power, or their importance. They were remembered for ministering to the need of The Savior. Jesus said when you do for others, you’re doing for Me. He will never forget what those men did for Him, or what you do for others, because He views it as what you’ve done for Him.

Jesus’ name means Jehovah Is Salvation, Joseph means He adds, and Nicodemus means Victory of the people. That day, God brought into the tomb of death, Salvation, addition, and victory. He washed our sins away. Jesus added an exit from death into an abundant life, and provided victory for all people.

He did this so we would have the opportunity to be converted. Knowing that our commitment to Him would compel us to action. An the end result would be caring for the body of Christ. When you carry a love for Jesus, it will change you, the place you’re in, and everything thing you touch. That relationship with Jesus, that love and commitment will make us all witnesses and Wisemen, thanks to Calvary.