Five Points Blog

Jesus Christ is Alive!

What caused the Apostle John’s first belief in the resurrection of the Lord? He didn’t first see the walking, talking, breathing, Jesus. He first believed because he saw an empty tomb and grave clothes. John’s witness is your proof to believe as well.

Do you remember how it happened? Mary saw the empty tomb first, then ran and told Peter and John. Running to the tomb, John led but did not go in. As he paused, Peter jumped in and saw the grave clothes lying on the stone – no body. Then John went in and looked. It was then he believed, “Then the other disciple, (John) who had reached the tomb first, also went in, and he saw and believed” (John 20:8). 

What made John believe? Unlike Mary, who believed when she saw Jesus himself (John 20:18), John believes because he sees with understanding. His heart sees because his eyes behold proof.  What exactly did John see, that we must also see? Remember when Lazarus was raised from the dead in John 11? He needed to be freed from his grave clothes. Others had to help unbind him from the linen strips that wrapped his dead body. Why? Because Lazarus had the same earthly body as before he was resuscitated. Lazarus was not resurrected, only brought back to life.

 When John sees grave clothes quietly laid in place and the face cloth folded separately, he knew this was no mere resuscitation like Lazarus. This was Jesus rising with a new body, the kind that can’t be bound by grave clothes. God raised Jesus from the dead!

If the Son of God, Jesus Christ, who lived 2000 years ago, died actually and was raised bodily, then he is the most important person imaginable. Believe and submit yourself to his power and right to rule with infinite grace over your entire existence.

Holy Week Devotional: Thursday, April 17

When the soldiers had crucified Jesus, they took his garments and divided them into four parts, one part for each soldier; also his tunic. But the tunic was seamless, woven in one piece from top to bottom, so they said to one another, “Let us not tear it, but cast lots for it to see whose it shall be.” This was to fulfill the Scripture which says, “They divided my garments among them, and for my clothing they cast lots.” So the soldiers did these things, but standing by the cross of Jesus were his mother and his mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene. When Jesus saw his mother and the disciple whom he loved standing nearby, he said to his mother, “Woman, behold, your son!” Then he said to the disciple, “Behold, your mother!” And from that hour the disciple took her to his own home.
John 19:23-27


As Jesus is hanging naked on the cross, beginning to struggle to continue breathing, the Roman soldiers divided up his clothes and cast lots to see who would become the owner of the tunic that Jesus wore to Calvary. They left it up to chance to see who would become victorious. But John writes a phrase in these verses, one that he uses often in his gospel, that we can easily read right over: “This was to fulfill the Scripture.”

Are the Roman soldiers here by a pure turn of fate? Is the winner of Jesus’ tunic really coming down to a toss of the dice? Could our Savior have avoided death with more fortunate luck? Is Jesus hanging on the cross by mere chance?

Here, John gives he reader hope. Everything that is happening occurs to fulfill the Scriptures. He writes this at the end of John 18 and two more times after this in chapter 19. Acts 2:23 says Jesus was “delivered up according to the definite plan and foreknowledge of God” and that he was “crucified and killed by the hands of lawless men.” It may seem like God’s plan of redemption has come to an abrupt end and that maybe he is not sovereign as his Son hangs dying on a cross.

Just as every detail of Jesus’ life and ministry was a fulfillment of the Scriptures so too is his death. It is the Father’s good pleasure to crucify his only Son to save his people from their sins. Yes, there are hardened, guilty men nailing Jesus to a cross and dividing up his clothes as Jesus hangs just feet away struggling for breath. Yes, our only hope for salvation is coming to the end of his life. But God’s hands are not tied as all this unfolds. All was going according to plan for the sake of his name and our salvation. 


Holy Week Devotional: Wednesday, April 16

“So he delivered him over to them to be crucified. So they took Jesus, and he went out, bearing his own cross, to the place called The Place of a Skull, which in Aramaic is called Golgotha. There they crucified him, and with him two others, one on either side, and Jesus between them. Pilate also wrote an inscription and put it on the cross. It read, “Jesus of Nazareth, the King of the Jews.” Many of the Jews read this inscription, for the place where Jesus was crucified was near the city, and it was written in Aramaic, in Latin, and in Greek. So the chief priests of the Jews said to Pilate, “Do not write, ‘The King of the Jews,’ but rather, ‘This man said, I am King of the Jews.’” Pilate answered, “What I have written I have written.”
John 19:16-22


Why did it have to be crucifixion? Why did Jesus have to die by the most gruesome, painful, humiliating form of death ever conceived by sinful man? Crucifixion was devised as the most heinous form of human death to prove to all who look upon the cross that God’s wrath has been fully satiated and his glory fully vindicated—that the guilt of our sins is fully eliminated and Christ’s righteousness fully demonstrated.

Both ancient Jewish legal demands for full sacrifice were met in Jesus’ death. He was taken outside the camp to be killed, just as the law says (cf. Leviticus 6:30). And he was hung upon a tree to be accursed (cf. Deuteronomy 21:23). Shedding of innocent blood, outside the camp, restored peace between God and his sinful people.

Both legal aims were fulfilled in Christ’s crucifixion, that we might be fully convinced that atonement has been made for our sins by the sacrifice of his death. He was made to be a curse for us in order that he might redeem us from the curse of the law: “Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us” (Galatians 3:13).

In becoming a curse, he became sin for us so that we might become God’s righteousness: “For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God” (2 Corinthians 5:21).

In dying the world’s most excruciating death, he carried our sins outside the camp of God’s presence: “So Jesus also suffered outside the gate in order to sanctify the people through his own blood” (Hebrews 13:12).

He is indeed “King of the Jews” because he is King over all! He reigns over sin and death by destroying them in his own death. He reigns over all he has made in redeeming all creation to his universal praise by that death. He reigns over humanity in his free choice to apply to whom he wills the benefits of his death.

Bow low and silent at the cross. Worship with trembling wonder at the weight of glory there. Reserve your highest praise and your lowest humility for the crucified and supreme King and God, Jesus Christ, the King of kings and Lord of lords. 


Holy Week Devotional: Tuesday, April 15

The Jews answered him, “We have a law, and according to that law he ought to die because he has made himself the Son of God.” When Pilate heard this state- ment, he was even more afraid. He entered his headquarters again and said to Jesus, “Where are you from?” But Jesus gave him no answer. So Pilate said to him, “You will not speak to me? Do you not know that I have authority to release you and authority to crucify you?” Jesus answered him, “You would have no au- thority over me at all unless it had been given you from above. Therefore he who delivered me over to you has the greater sin.”

From then on Pilate sought to release him, but the Jews cried out, “If you release this man, you are not Caesar’s friend. Everyone who makes himself a king op- poses Caesar.” So when Pilate heard these words, he brought Jesus out and sat down on the judgment seat at a place called The Stone Pavement, and in Ara- maic Gabbatha. Now it was the day of Preparation of the Passover. It was about the sixth hour. He said to the Jews, “Behold your King!” They cried out, “Away with him, away with him, crucify him!” Pilate said to them, “Shall I crucify your King?” The chief priests answered, “We have no king but Caesar.”

John 19:7-15

Having just endured the pain and shame of a flogging, Jesus is once again pre- sented by Pilate to the Jewish crowd. Anticipating the thorough beating Jesus received would have slated their bloodlust, Pilate fears the situation he finds him- self in even more. “Is this man indeed sent from God?”

As the dialogue continues between Pilate and Jesus and then Pilate and the Jewish leadership, we see the stakes rise as the question of whose authority is supreme comes to the forefront.

The Jewish leadership first seeks to assert their authority by appealing to the law of the land, law that the Roman ruler is to enforce. Pilate then asserts his author- ity over Jesus, “Do you not know that I have authority ... ?” John records where real authority comes from and who really is sovereign over these proceedings; all human authority is derived from and subject to that which is from above. Neither Rome nor Jerusalem reign supreme. God does.

And yet again, we see the Jewish leaders attempt to establish themselves on a throne, feigning allegiance to Caesar to force Pilate to do their bidding. But Pilate will not be out done; he sits in judgment in the place of authority and ironically declares, “Behold your King!” Answering more truthfully than they know, the Jews declare they have no king.

As we reflect this week on the person and work of Jesus, do we persist to clamor for control over all aspects of our lives or do we submit ourselves to the king who was bloodied on our behalf? Do we manipulate others to do our bidding or puff our- selves up by wielding wrongly what God has given? Or do we entrust ourselves to the One above who has all authority? 


Holy Week Devotional: Monday, April 14

Then Pilate took Jesus and flogged him. And the soldiers twisted together a crown of thorns and put it on his head and arrayed him in a purple robe. They came up to him, saying, “Hail, King of the Jews!” and struck him with their hands. Pilate went out again and said to them, “See, I am bringing him out to you that you may know that I find no guilt in him.” So Jesus came out, wearing the crown of thorns and the purple robe. Pilate said to them, “Behold the man!” When the chief priests and the officers saw him, they cried out, “Crucify him, crucify him!” Pilate said to them, “Take him yourselves and crucify him, for I find no guilt in him.”

John 19:1-6 

"Christ was never more lovely to his church than when he was most deformed for his church" - Richard Sibbes

Flogged. We very quickly can read right over the word and continue on to verse 2. But this punishment was given to hasten death once the criminal was on the cross. This calls to mind Isaiah 53:5, “But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities, upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and with his stripes we are healed.”

The word “crushed” means being trampled with the result of being pulverized. Some translations have the word “bruised” here, but our English words just can’t match the emphatic sense of “crushed.” It suggests a breaking into pieces. Sometimes this word is translated “dust,” as in there is nothing left but dust! In John 19 we witness the continuing of the suffering of Jesus. Here we watch as Jesus was beginning to be crushed into pieces, pulverized into dust, trampled to death.

All this for our iniquities. We were given peace as Jesus was being pulverized. Our healing comes through the horrific harming of Jesus. As we were wandering in our sin, he suffered the punishment we rightfully deserved. He was suffering the wrath of God for our sin. He was made a curse for our blessing.

There lies the shock of the cross. God laid every single thing that made us so revolting to his holy eyes on the shoulders of his Son. The perfect Son became sin. The treasured Son of God became twisted. His perfection marred by our perverseness. Every despicable sin, every revolting act, the Lord laid on him. Everything we deserved, he bore.

All this was done in love! What a love! What a cost! All praise to our Suffering Savior! 


 1 2 3 >  Last ›