Saint Peter

How to reap the benefits of God’s leadership in your life?

Icon of Jesus Christ

Icon of Jesus Christ (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

A college professor laid out his teaching philosophy on the first day of class: “If you allow me, I will teach you as much as I can in these few short weeks, but if you defy me, I guarantee that you will learn nothing. You will not like everything I tell you, but if you follow my instructions, you will leave these class much better thinkers than when you came in.”

The professor was a task master who demanded perfection from his students. Many students who were too lazy to put forth the actual effort, lost interest and complained about the strict grading and disparaging comments. The few extremely dedicated ones, found their professor to be one of the finest they ever had, and they valued his opinion above all others. This man helped them become better than they thought possible.

God offers us the same deal. If we are open to His leadership, He will help us achieve our full potential. However, if we resist His help, we can never hope to achieve that goal. Wise men and women get to be smart by listening and trying to improve themselves. They are never satisfied with whom they are today, but they always look forward to what they can become tomorrow. Proverbs 9:9 say it best: “Instruct the wise and they will be wiser still;  teach the righteous and they will add to their learning.”

So Let no one deceive himself brethren. If anyone among you seems to be wise in this age, let him become a fool that he may become wise. For the wisdom of this world is foolishness with God. For it is written, “He catches the wise in their own craftiness”; and again, “The Lord knows the thoughts of the wise, that they are futile.” Therefore, let no one boast in men. For all things are God’s: whether Paul or Apollos or Cephas, or the world or life or death, or things present or things to come—all are God’s. And you are Christ’s, and Christ is God’s” (1 Corinthians 3:18-23).

The Tomb Is Empty, Jesus Is Risen!

Jesus resurrected and Mary Magdalene

Jesus resurrected and Mary Magdalene (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

John 20:1-29

New International Version (NIV)

The Empty Tomb

Early on the first day of the week, while it was still dark, Mary Magdalene went to the tomb and saw that the stone had been removed from the entrance.  So she came running to Simon Peter and the other disciple, the one Jesus loved, and said, “They have taken the Lord out of the tomb, and we don’t know where they have put him!”

So Peter and the other disciple started for the tomb.  Both were running, but the other disciple outran Peter and reached the tomb first.  He bent over and looked in at the strips of linen lying there but did not go in.  Then Simon Peter came along behind him and went straight into the tomb. He saw the strips of linen laying there,  as well as the cloth that had been wrapped around Jesus’ head. The cloth was still lying in its place, separate from the linen.  Finally the other disciple, who had reached the tomb, first, also went inside. He saw and believed.  (They still did not understand from Scripture that Jesus had to rise from the dead.)  Then the disciples went back to where they were staying.

Jesus Appears to Mary Magdalene

Now Mary stood outside the tomb crying. As she wept, she bent over to look into the tomb  and saw two angels in white, seated where Jesus’ body had been, one at the head and the other at the foot.

They asked her, “Woman, why are you crying?”

“They have taken my Lord away,” she said, “and I don’t know where they have put him.”  At this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing there, but she did not realize that it was Jesus.

He asked her, “Woman, why are you crying? Who is it you are looking for?”

Thinking he was the gardener, she said, “Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have put him, and I will get him.”

Jesus said to her, “Mary.”

She turned toward him and cried out in Aramaic, “Rabboni!” (Which means “Teacher”)?

Jesus said “Do not hold on to me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father. Go instead to my brothers and tell them, ‘I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.’”

Mary Magdalene went to the disciples with the news: “I have seen the Lord!” And she told them that he had said these things to her.

Jesus Appears to His Disciples

On the evening of that first day of the week, when the disciples were together, with the doors locked for fear of the Jewish leaders, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you!”  After he said this, he showed them his hands and side. The disciples were overjoyed when they saw the Lord.

Again Jesus said, “Peace is with you! As the Father has sent me, I am sending you.”  And with that he breathed on them and said, “Receive the Holy Spirit.  If you forgive anyone’s sins, their sins are forgiven; if you do not forgive them, they are not forgiven.”

Jesus Appears to Thomas

Now Thomas (also known as Didymus), one of the Twelve, was not with the disciples when Jesus came.  So the other disciples told him, “We have seen the Lord!”

But he said to them, “Unless I see the nail marks in his hands and put my finger where the nails were, and put my hand into his side, I will not believe.”

A week later his disciples were in the house again, and Thomas was with them. Though the doors were locked, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you!”  Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here; see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it into my side. Stop doubting and believe.”

Thomas said to him, “My Lord and my God!”

Then Jesus told him, “Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.”

Daniel’s Amazing Dream. What Does it Means?

Daniel's vision of the four beasts (Daniel 7).

Image via Wikipedia

One of the most mis-interpreted prophecies recorded in the Bible is Daniel’s amazing dream in Daniel 7.

The prophet woke up troubled, thinking about what he had dreamed. He recognized that his dream had great importance and significance. ‘In the first year of Belshazzar, king of Babylon, Daniel had a dream, and vision passed through his mind as he was lying on his bed. He wrote down  his dream” (Daniel 7:1). In his dream he saw four great beasts rise up out of the sea. The first seemed to be a lion and had eagle’s wings. A second beast resembled a bear raised on one side with three ribs in its mouth. the third was like a leopard with four heads and with four wing on its back.

“After that,” Daniel continued, “in my vision at night I looked, and there before me was a fourth beast, terrifying and frightening and very powerful. it had large iron teeth; it crushed and devoured its victims and trampled underfoot whatever was left. It was different from all former beasts, and it had ten horns” (verse 7).

The earlier beasts had been strange enough, but the fourth one was indescribable–not like a lion, a leopard, a bear, or anything that Daniel had ever seen before! it was a dreadful, powerful creäture with iron teeth, bronze claws (verse 19), and ten horns.

Next among those ten horns, the prophet watched another horn come up. In Biblical symbolism horns represent power and those agencies that use it. this horn was little at first, but as the prophet watched, it became a great power: “This horn had eyes like the eyes of a man and a mouth that spoke boastfully” (verse 8), And this little horn, tried to change the law of God. (It is said divine law could and should not be changed.

What could this prophecy mean? 

“Oh,” some might argue, “prophecy is just guesswork. We can only speculate about who the lion and the bear are, as well as what the other beasts emerging from the sea and the sea its represent,” but wait a moment, Who gave daniel the dream? God did. And if He sent the dream, wouldn’t  you think He would also provide us some way to interpret it? Do you think that when it comes to understanding prophecy, it’s every person for themselves? Peter reminds us: “No prophecy of the Scripture is of any private interpretation” (2 Peter 1:20, KJV). That means I shouldn’t have to depend on what I personally think the prophecy–the Word of God consistently explains.