Good Morning Beloved Family,
Thank you all for joining us today!
Christ is risen, Christ is risen indeed!
Thank You for Your finished work on the cross.
As Your children, we stagger under the weight
of a worldwide pandemic,
we look to You, bearer of the pain of the world
every where we look, we can see the agony in Your face
In the faces of those who struggle with this virus
in the faces of those who are suffering from loss of loved ones
in the faces of those who continue to stock the shelves of the grocery store
and in the faces of those medical professionals, who are caring for others
without the most basic supplies, as they lose one patient after another
those who have succumb to this awful, awful virus
Like Your disciples, we are all living in the Saturday
after the crucifixion, feeling confused and lost
wondering what does all this mean
how can we go on, and what will life look like now
We too struggle to see the coming day of the Resurrection
when we will emerge from all of this
Again, we look to You
for the hope, that we know to be true
that this too will end, our lives forever changed
Lord, hear our prayer for those who are deperate
in this hour of death...
We know, Jesus, that you faced death
carrying the burden of our own sins,
and yet today we continue to do wrong.
This is so apparent in this pandemic crisis
As some hoard supplies, reluctant to be generous,
some who are being irritable with family members
as we struggle to figure out how to survive
or an unwillingness to sacrifice anything for the common good of others
We are reminded that You chose a path that was all for the common good
You bore the burden of our sins, You carried our disease and infirmities
Like those weeping at the cross, we wait together for Your resurrection
Lord, grant us Your peace while we wait
In Your precious name we ask and pray
"Philip said to Him, “Lord, show us the Father, and it is enough for us.” Jesus said to him, “Have I been so long with you, and yet you have not come to know Me, Philip? He who has seen Me has seen the Father; how can you say, ‘Show us the Father’? Do you not believe that I am in the Father, and the Father is in Me? The words that I say to you I do not speak on My own initiative, but the Father abiding in Me does His works. Believe Me that I am in the Father and the Father is in Me; otherwise believe because of the works themselves. Truly, truly, I say to you, he who believes in Me, the works that I do, he will do also; and greater works than these he will do; because I go to the Father. Whatever you ask in My name, that will I do, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If you ask Me anything in My name, I will do it.
“If you love Me, you will keep My commandments."
Today's Message: You Can't Keep A Good Man Down
I know many of us our today, are struggling with our traditional celebrations being cancelled, family gathering, egg hunts and church services to name a few. We've experienced that Good Friday moment with the arrival of Covid-19, and now we're living in that Saturday period before the Resurrection.
I suppose, in away, we better understand how the disciples must have felt..
For when the disciples looked forward to the cross, fear must have gripped them. They could only wonder what it meant, they had been with Jesus for three blessed years, during which He had loved them and supplied all their needs. When they heard Him talk about His death, they must have found it all inconceivable to understand. And now they realized the time was at hand, but how could God incarnate die? What would life now be like without their beloved Master and Teacher? It must have been an awful, terrible time for them.
Some two thousand years later, we stand in awe. Grateful for all that was accomplished there for us. There the very Son of God suffered shame and ridicule at the hands of wicked, murderous men. And He did it all willingly! To provide forgiveness for us, our sins and access to God. God's judgment was stayed and the righteousness of Christ became ours. God set us free to commune with Him, and we became His children and objects of His love.
Beloved, I am overwhelmed, overcome with emotion when I consider what Christ willingly did for me.. when I picture the agony in His face as He endured the pain, the suffering of the cross, for me. And for all of you!
He even suffered for those who would continue to deny Him, to refuse to accept His sacrifice, for those of us who would continue to sin.. and for those whose faith would still be weak. Are we too like Philip, just wanting Christ to give us all something more? As if what He has already done isn't yet enough?
Oh Beloved, I too think about how we become offended, when someone speaks sharply to us, or hurts our feelings. And how we are so often unforgiving, yet He even as He would hang there from the cross, He asked for the forgiveness of those who put Him there...
How ashamed should we be today? How very ashamed...
How easily we see what the crucifixion means from our perspective, the cross and what it means to us, as were moping over how this pandemic has affected our lives, stewing over our own dilemma, and what we have had to sacrifice.
But what about Christ? What did the cross mean to Jesus? As our Lord would face a dreadful, quintessential moment of separation from the Father and confront the force of a multitude of sinners' transgressions and deserved punishment, His sinless body ravaged by bearing the sins of the world. He anticipated it all with an eager heart!
"Peace I leave with you; My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Do not let your heart be troubled, nor let it be fearful. You heard that I said to you, ‘I go away, and I will come to you.’ If you loved Me, you would have rejoiced because I go to the Father, for the Father is greater than I. Now I have told you before it happens, so that when it happens, you may believe."
From our limited human perspective, wrestling with the incomprehensible truths about Jesus Christ is that He, the eternal Lord of glory, was willing to humble Himself like that for our sakes. He stepped down from a position of equality with the Most High God, condescending to share His riches with us. Who are so undeserving of what He has done.. what He has sacrificed.
"For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though He was rich, yet for your sake He became poor, so that you through His poverty might become rich. I give my opinion in this matter, for this is to your advantage, who were the first to begin a year ago not only to do this, but also to desire to do it. But now finish doing it also, so that just as there was the readiness to desire it, so there may be also the completion of it by your ability. For if the readiness is present, it is acceptable according to what a person has, not according to what he does not have."
2 Corinthians 8:9-12
Jesus had all the riches, in full glory of heaven, yet He willingly gave them up for a time so we, as undeserving as we are, could share them with Him forever. He willingly became one of us. He suffered what we suffer, not only so He could redeem us, but also so He could sympathize with us. The incarnation allowed Him to experience all the temptations, difficulties, griefs, and heartbreaks and sufferings of people. He can empathize with us; He understands our struggles from His own experience. And yet, even now, we struggle with what we do not have, rather than looking to that which awaits us...
Beloved, does His suffering of death, for which He suffered, by the way, though it crowned Him with glory and honor, so that by the grace of God He might taste death for everyone of us mean nothing?
How ungrateful a people are we?
There have always been those who get confused about the humiliation of Christ. They think that because He humbled Himself and became a servant, they are not to worship Him as God. This is completely false! Actually, the total opposite is true. How can we not see that? How can anyone miss that it is because He humbled Himself, He is to be exalted; that every knee is to bow before Him and confess that Jesus Christ is Lord. That is just perplexing to me, it incomprehensible.. How dare anyone miss this. How dare the Jehovah's Witnesses, Muslims, Unitarians, and other religions, who deny the deity of Christ, believe that He was just another prophet. That in some way, some inconceivable way, Jesus is inferior to the Father. Are you kidding me?
How they have misinterpreted Scripture!
When Christ said, "The Father is greater than I," He was not referring to His essential being, but to His role as a humbled servant. While He was humbled, the Father was in glory and therefore greater; Jesus had put Himself beneath the Father's glory.
I do not apologize for being more than just a little frustrated here... If anyone should be apologizing, it should those who have denied Christs' Deity!
In Mark 14, Christ was not acknowledging this perspective because He put His will beneath the Father's will. In the Garden of Gethsemane, when He prayed to the Father, "Remove this cup from Me; yet not what I will, but what You will." Jesus repeatedly claimed to be equal in deity to the Father.
"Being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. For this reason also, God highly exalted Him, and bestowed on Him the name which is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee will bow, of those who are in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and that every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father."
At the end of His earthly ministry, as He approached the cross, knowing what lay ahead of Him, Christ knelt prior to entering the Garden of Gethsemane, and prayed to the Father, recorded in John 17:4-5.
He was looking forward to the full expression of His glory, that same pristine glory He knew before the humiliation of the incarnation, I might add. He knew that the hatred and abuse was almost over. That His death on the cross, would soon end it all, and He would finally, return to the glory He once had with the Father.
Beloved, He found joy in that!
As He approached the cross because through His suffering there He would be restored to the full expression of Deity. He looked forward to it, He had longed for it and now it was here!! He rejoiced in anticipation of it, and He wanted His beloved friends, those He had spent the last three and a half years with, to share His joy. Please, please do not misinterpret His Words in John 14.
"You heard that I said to you, ‘I go away, and I will come to you.’ If you loved Me, you would have rejoiced because I go to the Father, for the Father is greater than I."
Some people think Jesus didn't know that He was going to be crucified. He was not oblivious as some would have it, He knew. Our Lord, Jesus Christ, knew exactly what was going to happen, He knew beloved and yet He went to the cross anyway. It was a bitter cup, but He was willing to drink it, for you and for me! And for all those who would later deny His Deity. He was familiar with the prophecies of Isaiah 53 and Psalm 22, both of which contain detailed accounts of the crucifixion. They were written long before Christ's birth and, obviously, He knew them. The crucifixion was not an afterthought, but a crucial element in the plan of God from the beginning. He endured the pain, the suffering of the cross, for the common good of others. So that none might perish
And yet some still some presume that it is not enough? That we want something more from Him!
Jesus, fix this, heal that.. give me what I desire, make my life easier....
Hasn't He already done that? By His finished work on the cross?
Would any of you be willing to endure your own cross?
When we complain about taking up our cross to follow Him...
Jesus had made many claims about Himself to the disciples. Struggling between belief and disbelief, they found it difficult to fathom.
And though, Jesus did become frustrated with His disciples, how much more must He with us today, than was He with them
"And Jesus answered and said, “You unbelieving and perverted generation, how long shall I be with you? How long shall I put up with you? Bring him here to Me.” And Jesus rebuked him, and the demon came out of him, and the boy was cured at once.
Then the disciples came to Jesus privately and said, “Why could we not drive it out?” And He said to them, “Because of the littleness of your faith; for truly I say to you, if you have faith the size of a mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move; and nothing will be impossible to you."
But Jesus used a simplistic, simple method to strengthen their faith, He would predict future events. So that when what He said happened, the disciples would remember what He had said. One prophecy after another came true, and each fulfillment grounded their faith a little more. By the day of Pentecost, their faith was so strong that they fearlessly set off the explosion of Christianity all over the world.
I ask you how much stronger should our faith be today, having the full knowledge of the Word today?
Should we not be that much more stronger than the disciples were at Pentecost? Having seen even more of Jesus' Words ring true? Is not the fulfilled prophecy perhaps the greatest proof that Jesus was God and the Word of God is true?
What does your false god, your false doctrine, and your theology do with that?
There is a deep, deep significance to His words at the end of John 13:19, one that is often missed, or misinterpreted to say the least. "so that...you may believe that I am He." Many are not aware, that the "He" at the end of the verse was added by the English translators. What Jesus actually said was, "so that...you may believe that I am." "I AM" is God's name.
In the simplest of terms, Jesus was saying, "I'm telling you all of this, so that when this is all over, you will embrace the truth of my Deity... that I am God."
Can you just imagine what the disciples thought, when they later saw Judas betray Jesus in the garden. How their finite minds must have flashed back to what He had said earlier in the upper room?
After all, Jesus had just given a whole string of prophecies that began with the betrayal by Judas and ended with the promise of a divine Helper. Their faith was as solid as a rock by the time the last prediction was fulfilled on the day of Pentecost.
Beloved, how much more solid should our faith be today?
Do we not know even much more now than they?
Christ's leaving His disciples was really an act of love for them. Because He knew their faith would have to become stronger as they would move in the direct line of fire of Satan's attacks.
As we all celebrate this Easter, in the best possible way we can, let's please not focus on what we don't have, but all the things that we do...the love of Christ, our Lord and Savior in our hearts and what He did for each and every one of us here today..
Now I'll leave you with one final thought....
Isn't Jesus Christ really saying to all of us today,
"Stop looking at My death and resurrection from your own perspective and look at it from Mine."
And now may the Lord bless you and keep you;
the Lord make His face shine upon you
And be gracious to you;
The Lord lift up His countenance upon you,
And give you peace.
Now and forever, in Jesus' name
Brian Monzon Ministries