SUNDAY 1ST APRIL, 2018 MORNING PRAYER DEVOTION
SCRIPTURE READING:- ACTS 1:1-11
TOPIC:- REASONS TO BELIEVE THAT JESUS ACTUALLY RESURRECTED
TEXT:- ACTS 1:3
1. A public execution assured His death: During the Jewish feast of Passover, Jesus was brought by an angry crowd into a Roman hall of justice. As He stood before Pilate, the Governor of Judea, religious leaders accused Jesus of claiming to be the king of the Jews. The crowd demanded His death. Jesus was beaten, whipped, and sentenced to a public execution. On a hill outside of Jerusalem, He was crucified between two criminals. Brokenhearted friends and mocking enemies shared in His deathwatch.
As the Sabbath neared, Roman soldiers were sent to finish the execution. To quicken death, they broke the legs of the two criminals. But when they came to Jesus they did not break his legs, because He was already dead. As a final precaution, however, they thrust a spear into His side. It would take more than resuscitation for Him to ever trouble them again.
2. A high official secured the grave site: the next day, religious leaders again met with Pilate. They said, Jesus had predicted He would rise in three days. To assure that, the Disciples could not conspire in a resurrection hoax, Pilate ordered the official seal of Rome to be attached to the tomb, to put grave robbers away.
To enforce the order, Soldiers stood guard. Any Disciple who wanted to tamper with the body would have had to get by them, which wouldn’t have been easy. The Roman guards had good reason for staying alert, the penalty for falling asleep while on watch was death.
3. In spite of guards, the grave was found empty: On the morning after the Sabbath, some of Jesus followers went to the grave to anoint His body. But when they arrived, they were surprised at what they found. The huge stone that had been rolled into place over the entrance to the tomb had been moved, and Jesus body was gone.
As word got out, two Disciples rushed to the burial site. The tomb was empty, except for Jesus burial wrappings, which were lying neatly in place.
In the meantime, some of the guards had gone into Jerusalem to tell the Jewish officials that they had fainted in the presence of a supernatural being that rolled the stone away. And when they woke up, the tomb was empty.
The officials paid the guards a large sum of money to lie and say that the Disciples stole the body while the Soldiers slept. They assured the guards that if the report of the missing body got back to the Governor, they would intercede on their behalf.
4. Many people claimed to have seen Him alive: About A.D. 55, Apostle Paul wrote that the resurrected Christ had been seen by Peter, by the 12 Apostles, more than 500 people, by James, and by himself. By making such a public statement, he gave critics a chance to check out his claims for themselves. See Acts 1:3; 1 Corinthians 15:3-8.
5. Apostles were dramatically changed: When one of Jesus inner circle defected and betrayed Him, the other Apostles ran for their lives. Even Peter, who earlier had insisted that he was ready to die for his teacher, lost heart and denied that he even knew Jesus. But the Apostles went through a dramatic change.
Within a few weeks, they were standing face to face with the ones who had crucified their leader. Their spirit was like iron. They became unstoppable in their determination to sacrifice everything for the One they called Savior, and Lord. Even after they were imprisoned, threatened, and forbidden to speak in the name of Jesus, the Apostles said to the Jewish leaders, “we ought to obey God rather than men.” After they were beaten for disobeying the orders of the Jewish council, these once-cowardly Apostles, “did not cease teaching and preaching Jesus as the Christ.” See Acts 5:29, 42.
6. Jesus Himself testified to His coming resurrection from the dead: Jesus spoke openly about what would happen to Him, [crucifixion and then resurrection from the dead]. “The son of man must suffer many things and be rejected by the Elders and the Chief Priests and the scribes and be killed, and after three days rise again.” See Mark 8:31.
7. The tomb was empty on Easter: The earliest documents claim this, “when they went in they did not find the body of the Lord Jesus.” And the enemies of Jesus confirmed it by claiming that the Disciples had stolen the body. The dead body of Jesus could not be found. See Luke 24:3.
1. My God! I thank You for spearing my life and that of my family, in the name of Jesus Christ.
2. My God! I thank You for the salvation of my soul and that of my family, in the name of Jesus Christ.
3. My God! I thank You for healing me, physically, spiritually and financially, in the name of Jesus Christ.
4. My God! Never allow me to be an ingrate, but to be appreciative, in the name of Jesus Christ.
5. My God! Never stop Your doing and dealing with me anymore, in the name of Jesus Christ.