Going Home

Easter is always a special time for Christian families as they celebrate Christ’s resurrection together. I had special plans this year for my son and his wife to come spend Easter with us. However, illness prevented it from happening. As I thought about my situation, I began to think about Jesus and his Father.

Even though God raised Jesus from the dead, he didn’t go back to his father immediately.  For forty days, Jesus gave instructions to his followers through the Holy Spirit.  During that time, He appeared to many people so they could witness and know that he had been raised. One of the people that Jesus met was his brother James. You see, James the brother of Jesus wasn’t even sure who Jesus was until after the resurrection.

The disciples that Jesus had taught during his ministry on earth were not certain of what Jesus had taught them. But when Jesus was raised and appeared to his disciples, the teaching became clear. Jesus was the Messiah and was going back to be with his Father. Just before going back to his Father, Jesus gave his followers one of the most important instruction that Jesus gave his followers. The instruction was to wait for the baptism of the Holy Spirit.

On one occasion, while he was eating with them, he gave them this command: “Do not leave Jerusalem, but wait for the gift my Father promised, which you have heard me speak about. For John baptized with water, but in a few days you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.” Acts 1:4-5(NIV)

Jesus also made it clear that he would send the Holy Spirit to help them. He made it very clear to his followers that they could not live a Christian life without the Holy Spirit instructing and guiding them throughout their life.  Jesus never told them that they would be able to live a Christian life in their own strength.

For those who are led by the Spirit of God are the children of God. The Spirit you received does not make you slaves, so that you live in fear again; rather, the Spirit you received brought about your adoption to sonship. And by him we cry, “Abba, Father. ”The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children. Now if we are children, then we are heirs—heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory. Romans 8:14-17(NIV)

What does“…share in his suffering” mean? How do we share the suffering that Jesus suffered what he was crucified?  We share in Jesus suffering by crucifying our ‘flesh with its desires and passions.”

22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. 24 Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. 25 Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit. 26 Let us not become conceited, provoking and envying each other. Galatians 5:22-26(NIV)

Sacrificing ‘our flesh with its passion and desires’, can be a very difficult task, It may require developing different friends, learning new hobbies, changing our life style, losing our jobs, etc. These changes can bring some real suffering. This suffering will happen until the Holy Spirit convicts us of sin and gives us a new life in Christ.

We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life. For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we will certainly also be united with him in a resurrection like his. For we know that our old self was crucified with him so that the body ruled by sin might be done away with,[a] that we should no longer be slaves to sin— because anyone who has died has been set free from sin. Now if we died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him. For we know that since Christ was raised from the dead, he cannot die again; death no longer has mastery over him. 10 The death he died, he died to sin once for all; but the life he lives, he lives to God. Romans 6:4-10(NIV)

The Bible tells us that someday soon, God is going to send his son back to earth so he can gather all of His adopted Children. He is going to take them home to be with their Father. I can only imagine the excitement of a loving father waiting for all of his children to come home.  Have you sacrificed your sinful desires? Are you one of the Father’s children? If you are one of the adopted children, I will see you when we get home to enjoy the communion with our Heaven Father.

Note: All scriptures used in this article have been downloaded from http://www.biblegateway.com/?version=NIVunless otherwise noted.

Brothers

In Genesis 30:23-24 the writer tells of the birth of Joseph. Joseph was a special child of Rachel and Jacob. He had only one brother and ten half-brothers that were born to Leah, Jacobs first wife.

These were the sons of Israel: Reuben, Simeon, Levi, Judah, Issachar, Zebulun, Dan, Joseph, Benjamin, Naphtali, Gad and Asher. 1 Chronicles 2(NIV)

Joseph was a very special child to his father Jacob. However, to his brothers he was a ‘daddy’s boy’. He was also a dreamer and was having dreams that indicated he would be rulers over his brothers. In fact Jacob had a special, colorful robe made for Joseph. Of course, this made his brothers jealous.

The brothers obviously didn’t believe Joseph. In fact, Genesis 37 tells of  how the brothers treated Joseph. As you recall, Jacob sent his son Joseph to check on his older brothers who were herding the family sheep.

When the brothers saw Joseph coming, they decided this would be a good time to get rid of this dreamer for good. The plan was to throw him into a pit to die. But then some Midianite merchants came by and they decided to make some money on the deal and sold Joseph.

They needed a story to tell Jacob, so they took Joseph’s coat of many colors and dipped it in blood. They could show Jacob the blood and tell him that a wild animal must have killed him. For several years this seemed to have done the trick.

Well the Midianite merchants sold Joseph to one of Pharaoh’s officials. However, after a series of successes and upsetting trials along the way, Joseph was made governor of the land. (Genesis 42)

Jacob was faced with a drought and sent his older sons to Egypt to buy grain. What the brothers didn’t know was that Joseph was the person they were to buy grain from. However, Joseph recognized his brothers and asked about Benjamin and he wanted to see Benjamin.

After Joseph worked out a scheme to get all the brothers together, he told them who he was. He forgave his brothers and was united with his family again. He then invited his family to come live in Egypt until the drought had passed. Joseph was indeed ruling over his family.

There was another family that had a special son with four half-brothers. But this family had sons that were conceived by Joseph and a special son, who’s name was Jesus that was conceived by the Holy Spirit. (See Matthew 1:16)

We don’t hear a lot about these brothers but Matthew 13:55 indicates that Jesus had four half-brothers, James, Joseph, Simon, and Judas.

These brothers were no different than Joseph’s brothers. We read in John7:2-5(NIV):

But when the Jewish Festival of Tabernacles was near, Jesus’ brothers said to him, “Leave Galilee and go to Judea, so that your disciples there may see the works you do. No one who wants to become a public figure acts in secret. Since you are doing these things, show yourself to the world.” For even his own brothers did not believe in him.John7:2-5(NIV)

There came a day when Jesus sent his son into the world to check on his children. They didn’t believe who he was. The wanted to get rid of him because he claimed to be the Messiah. They crucified him on a cross. Jesus was put into a grave, just as Joseph was thrown into a pit. But God raised Jesus from the dead and put him in a place of leadership, in the same way that Joseph was taken from the pit and placed into leadership.

For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance[a]: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, and that he appeared to Cephas,[b] and then to the Twelve. After that, he appeared to more than five hundred of the brothers and sisters at the same time, most of whom are still living, though some have fallen asleep. Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles, and last of all he appeared to me also, as to one abnormally born. 1 Corinthians 15:3-8(NIV)

You see, Jesus appear to his brother James after his resurrection and James realized who Jesus really was. As a result of James believing who Jesus was, he became a pillar in the church, and wrote the book of James. This small book of James talks about temptations, warning the world of sin, and telling them to follow Christ. In fact, James was martyred in AD 62, because of his faith in Christ.

We can be born and raised in a Christian home, but that doesn’t guarantee we will believe. Everyone must come to a point in their life where they see Jesus for who he is and what he has done. We can be brothers but until we accept Christ personally, we are blind to the truth just like the brothers of Joseph and Jesus were blind to the truth.

Are you suffering from a ‘drought’ in your life? Perhaps now is the time that you need to turn to Christ and accept the gift that he has for you? God’s desire for you is to restore you to a place of fellowship with Him. He wants to give you love, peace, and hope. Are you ready?

Note: All scriptures used in this article have been downloaded from http://www.biblegateway.com/?version=NIVunless otherwise noted.

 

The brothers obviously didn’t believe J