History tells a story of a man named Fabian von Schlabrendorff of Germany. He was a lawyer but joined the German army before World War II. von Schlabrendorff resisted Hitler and his Nazis, and was arrested and tried for treason. He was sent to a Gestapo prison where he was brutally tortured. He would not budge and give any details of his and others involvement in the resistance against the insane Hitler and Nazis. Although the evidence was weak, von Schlabrendorff was brought before a Nazi court and judge Roland Freisler, which meant a death sentence for von Schlabrendorff. Nearly every person who went up in front of this judge was executed. Before von Schlabrendorff could be tried, an American air raid strike hit the courthouse and the explosion killed Freisler with von Schlabrendorff’s file still in his hand. God’s providence? Maybe. Schlabrendorff was retried and the judge acquitted him. However, he still was sent from concentration camp to concentration camp showing how hateful and corrupt Nazi Germany was. Our United States military came in and liberated the camp in which he was being held in May of 1945. It is said he became a judge and served in the very country he stood trial for treason.
Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ was wrongfully arrested and tried in front of a kangaroo court. Although innocent, He was condemned to be crucified on the cross. It was not part of God’s providential care to physically set Jesus free. Jesus was tortured and crucified on the cross. However, God’s power raised Jesus from the dead. When Jesus comes again, He will come back as a righteous judge. Nobody will go before Him and be wrongfully accused and convicted. And nobody who is guilty will be accidentally set free from a technicality or a biased judge. God is the judge and will hand out mercy to those who deserve mercy and He will punish those who are guilty, those who are living in sin. Peter said to Cornelius in Acts 10:42, “It is Jesus who was ordained by God to be Judge of the living and the dead.” In the very next verse gives us reassurance. Peter says those who obey Jesus will receive remission of their sins. Obedience to the Lord sets us free from our chains.
Where are you today with Jesus?
Proving Jesus was a true historical figure, that He was who He said He was: that He died, was buried, and arose the third day, can be proven in much of the same way as trial lawyers prove their case to a jury. Evidence. If you have ever been on a jury, you watched the procedures and listened to the evidence (or lack thereof) of the prosecutor and defense attorney, then you could come to a reasonable and logical conclusion (based upon the arguments presented), whether the person on trial was guilty or not guilty. Jesus has been on trial by atheists, agnostics and skeptics for nearly two-thousands years. They say He was either a fraud, a unique person, a great man and teacher, or He was not a true historical figure, therefore the death, burial and resurrection is just a myth. Our whole Christian faith stands on the foundation of the Gospel of Christ. The resurrection of Christ proves Jesus was who He said He was, the Son of God. Without the resurrection of Jesus, our faith would be in vain. So, how do we go about proving the resurrection of Jesus? For this article, we only have enough room to present four pieces of evidence that prove the truthfulness of Jesus and His resurrection.
EVIDENCE #1 – Jesus Lived - This is practically universally accepted. Not only are there many witnesses to prove Jesus lived, there are many hostile witnesses to prove so. Many who did not like Christ and His followers wrote about Him. Any honest historian will come to realize Jesus was a person who lived in the 1st century.
EVIDENCE #2 – Jesus Died - Many writers of the books in the Bible confirm that Jesus died on the cross. Nobody denies when a person lives, he/she eventually dies. Secular writers have testified to Jesus’ life and death, such as Tacitus, stating, “their originator, Christ, had been executed in Tiberius’ reign by the Governor of Judea, Pontius Pilate.” Jewish rabbi and Historian Josephus wrote in his Antiquities of the Jews, “There arose about this time Jesus, a wise man… and when Pilate had condemned him to the cross on his impeachment by the chief men among us, those who had loved him at first did not cease.”
EVIDENCE #3 – Jesus’ Tomb was Empty - Peter’s sermon on the Day of Pentecost in Acts 2 mentions that Jesus was crucified and buried in a tomb. Joseph of Arimathea assumed responsibility for the burial of Jesus after His crucifixion according to Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. In A.D. 165, in Justin Martyr’s Dialogue of Trypho (beginning of chap. 108), he mentions Jesus was in the tomb. Several theories circulated that it was all a hoax, but all are easily debunked. One in particular was that Jesus’ body was stolen. Allowing Jesus’ body to be stolen would mean death to the Roman guard. Would you fall sleep knowing that allowing Jesus’ body to be stolen would mean your execution?
EVIDENCE #4- Jesus’ Apostles were Witnesses to Jesus after He Arose from the Dead – Acts 1:22 states one of the apostles chosen to replace Judas would be a witness to Jesus’ resurrection.” Peter preached on it in Acts 2. Paul stated there were many witnesses to Jesus’ resurrection, including Himself (1 Corinthians 15:3-8).
There are many other evidences we can show to prove Jesus is the Son of God, and that He did go to the cross, was buried and arose the third day. Do a study on it, it is fascinating.
Four Customer Service Lessons from an Airline
There are principles from customer service we can use in our service to God to influence others. There was a story I read about a man named Spencer, titled “Spencer Is All About the Customer.” He worked as an agent at Delta Airlines in baggage service where customers go to inform them that their bag has been delayed, damaged, or taken by another passenger. A man named John, they call “a Medallion” frequent flier gentleman, arrived on a flight after midnight. His bag was lost. He said he had business at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, 75 miles south of the airport. He said, "Spencer, I need assurance from you that my bag is going to be at my hotel in Rochester tonight. What can you do to provide me that assurance?” Spencer replied, "You are looking at your assurance, Sir … If your bag is here at the airport when I get off work at 12:30 am, I will drive it down to you as I have for passengers before.” When his shift ended, the bag had arrived. He grabbed it and drove 75 miles to the hotel. He arrived at the hotel at 3:15 am. The front desk clerk stated, "You must be Spencer! Mr. Newport said you'd be bringing his bag. He asked to be called when you arrived.” A few minutes later Mr. Newport came down to the front desk and said, “A man of his word.” Spencer said, “You only get one chance to do it right, so do it right the first time. A commitment made is a commitment met!” And then Spencer let Mr. Newport know that if it was not for customers like him, he would not have a paycheck!
There are Four Outstanding Customer Service Lessons we can learn that we can apply in our lives as we serve the Lord.
#1 - Do the right thing the first time. “Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward. You are serving the Lord Christ.” Colossians 3:23-24
#2 - Honor commitments and promises – “If you make a promise to God, keep your promise. Don’t be slow to do what you promised.” Ecclesiastes 5:4-7 (see also Number 30:2; Deuteronomy 23:21-23)
#3 - Possess a servant’s heart – As Jesus humbled himself and served others, we are to also (Philippians 2:3-8).
#4 - Know who pays our bills – (Acts 5:29)
These outstanding customer service principles are lessons we can apply in our lives as we go out among people and serve the Lord. The best way to shine Christ is to serve like Christ. We must always remember we are to be “all about souls!”
On 14 occasions in his gospel record, Matthew uses a word from which we get our English word "scandal." Arndt and his fellow lexicographers define the word as meaning "to cause to be brought to a downfall; to shock through word or action" (BDAG 926). Jesus was at times the cause of others experiencing anger or shock through what He said and did. While Jesus uses the word to condemn those whose words and actions cause themselves and others to stumble (5:29,30; 18:6,8-9), it more often refers to those who took offense at what He said or did. He was not a poor example or stumbling block. The problem for many was that what Jesus stood for and taught was unpopular, difficult, or contrary to fleshly desires.
Does living the Christian life ever cause us to run the risk of being scandalous to the world? Share Jesus' sexual ethics and expectations. Tell others Jesus' exclusive salvation message. Stand up for His doctrine. Condemn what He would condemn. Any number of social causes celebrated in our society crash against the teaching of Jesus. When you stand with Him, you can expect the world (and sometimes even the weak among God's people) to "take offense" (11:16; 13:57; 15:12; 26:31).
We should never be a scandal because of unrighteous behavior (see those passages in chapters 5 and 18). We should never go out of our way to be offensive. But, we should know that walking with Jesus will lead us to scandalize some. What will comfort us is knowing that standing with the Scandalized Savior will keep Him from taking offense at us! Nothing is more important than that. NP
Scientists with National Geographic went near the Solomon Islands to study one of the most active underwater volcanos on earth. What they found in the hot, acidic waters of the volcano, surprisingly, was life - a couple species of sharks, stingray, and fish swimming among the plumes of ash. The risk for these fish is great, as Kavachi is known to erupt frequently.
Churches are made up of people, and people are imperfect. No church is immune to the problem of evil, though we should certainly have a greater level of immunity to evil's influence. When non-Christians interact with us, they may be unsure of what to expect. The world does not paint a pretty picture of our beliefs.
So, what will they find? They will ideally find a group of people who, despite the pervasive dysfunction of the world, display unconditional love, forgiveness, excellent character, patience, forgiveness, fairness, grace, resilience, and hope.
Christians should strive to pleasantly surprise the world! When they expect to find an environment that could never support healthy, loving, functional relationships, we should blow their minds with positive, life-changing interactions. “Always keep your behavior excellent among the Gentiles, so that when they speak against you as evildoers, they might see your good deeds and glorify God on the day of visitation (I Peter 2.12).”
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