Grace Bible Church
The Tree of Life
A Weekly Review
Week ending 04/24/11
Easter Special 2011
 
Something went on that first Easter morning that was very strange and definitely over-looked. I’d like to begin with an illustration that I heard recently that motivated me to go in the direction we will go in this morning. One night a man was dreaming that God the Father was taking him through the universe and they were traveling from galaxy to galaxy until they finally stopped at one particular planet. As they got closer and closer to this planet, the man noticed that this particular planet was entirely inhabited by dogs, and he was puzzled by that.
 
They were dirty and filthy and nasty vicious dogs. The man said to God the Father, “Why are you showing me this?” God the Father said, “Well you see, I happen to love those dogs! I know that their dirty and filthy and nasty vicious creatures, but I still happen to love them.” “In fact,” God said, “that’s why I’m showing them to you because I want you to go down there and tell them that I love them.” So the man willing to obey God the Father said that he would.
Then the Father said, “Well you need to understand something else, when you go down there to give them the message that I love them, they’re not going to receive it. In fact, they’re going to tear you in pieces and kill you. But that’s okay because I’ll resurrect you! And so the man said, “Okay whatever you want I’ll do for you!” Then the Father said, “Well there’s something else that you need to understand, in order to go down there and give that message, you’ll have to become a dog.” And so the man said, “Well you’re the boss, whatever you say!” And then the Father said, “But there’s one more thing you need to understand, that even when you go down there and deliver that message and they tear you to pieces and I resurrect you, you’ll have to remain a dog forever!”
 
Suddenly this silly little childish illustration takes a rather sobering turn. Because you and I tend to presume that when the Creator of the universe became a man and dwelt among us that that was only for 33 and a half years. We also presume that when He went to the Cross and died for us and was resurrected three days later, that somehow He finished all the work and it was all over. However, the thing that we fail to really comprehend, which is God becoming a man, is far more involved that you and I have any ability to imagine. Perhaps that’s when 2CO 8:9 might become more of a reality to us when it says, “For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though He was rich, yet for your sake He became poor, that you through His poverty might become rich.”
 
When we first study the Bible and become aware of God’s truth, probably the first thing that hits us is the incarnation. The incarnation is a theological term for the coming of God’s Son into the world as a human being. Jesus participated fully in all that it means to live a human life. He became hungry, thirsty, tired etc. In fact, the ability of the Lord Jesus Christ to reveal God to us and to bring salvation depends upon His being fully God and fully man at the same time. Our human minds cannot understand how Jesus can be both fully God and fully man. We realize EXO 33:20, “No man can see God and live!” We realize 1TI 6:16, “He dwells in unapproachable light.”
 
Therefore, can we only know Him from a distance? No! God has come near in the person of Jesus, MAT 1:23, “Behold, the virgin shall be with child, and shall bear a Son, and they shall call His name Immanuel, which translated means, God with us.”
 
God has taken on a form in which He can be seen, experienced and understood by us as human beings.
 
And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, (JOH 1:14)
No man has seen God [the Father] at any time; the only begotten God [God the Son], who is in the bosom of the Father, He has explained Him. (JOH 1:18)
 
Our Lord Jesus Christ lived out His human life by experiencing all the pressures, temptations, and limitations that we experience.
For we do not have a high priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but One who has been tempted in all things as we are, yet without sin. (HEB 4:15)
 
He can deal gently with the ignorant and misguided, since he himself also is beset with weakness; (HEB 5:2)
 
The concept that the Creator of the universe became a man and dwelt among us and actually walked on the earth as a man is a staggering concept. As you grow spiritually and begin to understand the gulf that exists between God and man, another amazing truth is that on the throne of God is a man. I would like to present to you something that I never really considered until recently. Something that I think the majority has overlooked.
 
“Now it came about that the poor man died and he was carried away by the angels to Abraham’s bosom; and the rich man also died and was buried. And in Hades he [the rich man] lifted up his eyes, being in torment, and saw Abraham far away, and Lazarus in his bosom. And he cried out and said, ‘Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus, that he may dip the tip of his finger in water and cool off my tongue; for I am in agony in this flame.’” (LUK 16:22-24)
 
Notice that the rich man recognized Lazarus after he had died! However, there is something strange found in the Gospels and that is the fact that after our Lord was resurrected, there seems to be a problem…not a big one but one that seems to be overlooked. You can’t help but notice that from that resurrection day, from that morning on, everybody seems to have trouble recognizing Him. This took place on the first Easter morning which of course should not be called Easter from the pagan goddess Ishtar but should be called Resurrection Day.
 
In JOH 20:11, But Mary was standing outside the tomb weeping;
This is Mary Magdalene. Remember that Mary Magdalene witnessed most of the events surrounding the crucifixion while all the apostles with the exception of John ran away and forsook the Lord Jesus Christ.
 
and so, as she wept, she stooped and looked into the tomb; and she beheld two angels in white sitting, one at the head, and one at the feet, where the body of Jesus had been lying. And they said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping?” She said to them, “Because they have taken away my Lord, and I do not know where they have laid Him.” When she had said this, she turned around, and beheld Jesus standing there, and did not know that it was Jesus. (JOH 20:11-14).
 
Notice, she did not know Him. The rich man recognized Lazarus. But here is a woman who walked and talked with our Lord for three years, and she was very close to Him but…did not recognize Him. This was not a casual acquaintance. She loved Him. Not many days ago she washed His feet with her tears. But now she didn’t recognize Him. She didn’t know that it was Jesus.
 
Jesus said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping? Whom are you seeking?” Supposing Him to be the gardener, she said to Him, “Sir, if you have carried Him away, tell me where you have laid Him, and I will take Him away.” Jesus said to her, “Mary!” She turned and said to Him in Hebrew, “Rabboni!” (which means, Teacher). (JOH 20:15-16)
 
Notice that she didn’t realize who He was until she heard His voice. She recognized the voice because she had heard His voice so many times before but she thought our Lord in His resurrection form was nothing but the gardener.
The question you should ask is why? Now, if it was just this passage you might find some way to rationalize why she couldn’t recognize Him. This was early in the morning and maybe she was emotionally drained because of all she had been through. So let’s go to early afternoon in Luk 24. In that afternoon we have a couple of guys who are on their way to Emmaus.
 
And behold, two of them [these are disciples] were going that very day to a village named Emmaus, which was about seven miles from Jerusalem. And they were conversing with each other about all these things which had taken place [that is in Jerusalem]. And it came about that while they were conversing and discussing, Jesus Himself approached, and {began} traveling with them. But their eyes were prevented from recognizing Him. (LUK 24:13-16)
 
I wonder why? Now these guys were at the Cross three days ago and they will even be in the upper room in the evening. They were not casual acquaintances of the Lord Jesus Christ. However, they also did not recognize who He is. They’re going to, before the trip is over, something is going to tip them off.
 
And He said to them, “What are these words that you are exchanging with one another as you are walking?” And they stood still, looking sad. And one of them, named Cleopas, answered and said to Him, “Are You the only one visiting Jerusalem and unaware of the things which have happened here in these days?”
 
The Lord walks right up to them and says, “What are you talking about?” They turned around said, “Where have you been, don’t you know what’s been going on in Jerusalem?” Now, if you want some scriptural proof that Jesus Christ has a sense of humor, look at LUK 24:19, And He said to them, “What things?” Here’s our Lord who just three days ago was arrested in the middle of the night, put through six illegal trials, was beaten so much He no longer looked human, was crucified on the Cross, buried, resurrected from the dead that morning, and He can look them in the eye with a straight face and say “What things?” And they said to Him, “The things about Jesus the Nazarene, who was a prophet mighty in deed and word in the sight of God and all the people, and how the chief priests and our rulers delivered Him up to the sentence of death, and crucified Him. But we were hoping that it was He who was going to redeem Israel. Indeed, besides all this, it is the third day since these things happened. But also some women among us amazed us. When they were at the tomb early in the morning, and did not find His body, they came, saying that they had also seen a vision of angels, who said that He was alive. And some of those who were with us went to the tomb and found it just exactly as the women also had said; but Him they did not see.” And He [the Lord] said to them, “O foolish men and slow of heart to believe in all that the prophets have spoken!” (LUK 24:20-25)
 
Then in verse 26, the Lord begins to speak to them in the third person, He says to them: “Was it not necessary for the Christ to suffer these things and to enter into His glory?” He’s talking to them and they don’t know who He is and He just plays along! Then He gives them a seven mile Bible study.
 
And beginning with Moses and with all the prophets, He explained to them the things concerning Himself in all the Scriptures. (LUK 24:27)
 
How would you like to be these guys walking with Christ for seven miles and having Him teach you all the Scriptures in the Old Testament concerning Himself.
 
And they approached the village where they were going, and He acted as though He would go farther. And they urged Him, saying, “Stay with us, for it is {getting} toward evening, and the day is now nearly over.” And He went in to stay with them. Now notice they still do not recognize Him. And it came about that when He had reclined {at the table} with them, He took the bread and blessed {it,} and breaking {it,} He {began} giving {it} to them. (LUK 24:27-30)
 
That’s weird because in a Jewish household the one who breaks the bread and passes it is the host not a guest. And so in LUK 24:31, And their eyes were opened and they recognized Him; and He vanished from their sight.
 
That finally had to get to get their attention, I imagine! However, I want you to notice that they only recognized Him in the breaking of the bread! What did they see when He broke the bread? They saw the nail scarred hands!
 
ZEC 13:6 tells us what they saw, “And one will say to him, ‘What are these wounds between your arms?’ Then he will say, {Those} with which I was wounded in the house of my friends.’”
 
PSA 22:16, “They pierced my hands and my feet.”
 
So, they have walked with Him for seven miles. He has taught them the Scriptures, and it blew them away. You can tell by what they said in LUK 24:32, And they said to one another, “Were not our hearts burning within us while He was speaking to us on the road, while He was explaining the Scriptures to us?” They didn’t realize who He was until they saw the nail prints. Now that’s strange! Why can’t they look in His face and see who He is.
 
And they arose that very hour and returned to Jerusalem, and found gathered together the eleven and those who were with them. They immediately went back that seven miles to go tell the disciples. saying, “The Lord has really risen, and has appeared to Simon.” And they {began} to relate their experiences on the road and how He was recognized by them in the breaking of the bread. (LUK 24:33-35)
 
You see again they link the recognition of him to the breaking of the bread.
 
And while they were telling these things, He Himself stood in their midst. But they were startled and frightened and thought that they were seeing a spirit. (LUK 24:36-37)
 
The fact that they were startled we can understand but this says that were also frightened.
 
And He said to them, “Why are you troubled, and why do doubts arise in your hearts? “See My hands and My feet, that it is I Myself; touch Me and see, for a spirit does not have flesh and bones as you see that I have.” (LUK 24:38-39)
 
He is not a transparency or a spirit. He is tangible.
 
[And when He had said this, He showed them His hands and His feet.] And while they still could not believe {it} for joy and were marveling, He said to them, “Have you anything here to eat?” And they gave Him a piece of a broiled fish; and He took it and ate {it} before them. (LUK 24:40-43)
 
Why can’t they look in His face and see who He was? The disciples are in Galilee, and they are frustrated, they’re frightened and confused. They’re trying to sought through what is going on. When you’re under a lot of stress, it’s usually good to resort to some activity, which you will have success in. Remember these guys were fishermen. Four of them were partners in the fishing business. So what’s natural for them to do? Go fishing.
 
Simon Peter said to them, “I am going fishing.” They said to him, “We will also come with you.” They went out, and got into the boat; and that night they caught nothing. But when the day was now breaking [morning], Jesus stood on the beach; yet the disciples did not know that it was Jesus. Jesus therefore said to them, “Children, you do not have any fish, do you?” They answered Him, “No.” And He said to them, “Cast the net on the right‑hand side of the boat, and you will find {a catch}.” They cast therefore, and then they were not able to haul it in because of the great number of fish. That disciple therefore whom Jesus loved [John] said to Peter, “It is the Lord.” And so when Simon Peter heard that it was the Lord, he put his outer garment on (for he was stripped {for work}), and threw himself into the sea. (JOH 21:3-7)
 
There goes Peter again, ready-fire-aim. So he jumps in the water and starts swimming to the Lord.
 
But the other disciples came in the little boat, for they were not far from the land, but about one hundred yards away, dragging the net {full} of fish. And so when they got out upon the land, they saw a charcoal fire {already} laid, and fish placed on it, and bread. Jesus said to them, “Bring some of the fish which you have now caught.” Simon Peter went up, and drew the net to land, full of large fish, a hundred and fifty‑three; and although there were so many, the net was not torn. Jesus said to them, “Come {and} have breakfast.” None of the disciples ventured to question Him, “Who are You?” knowing that it was the Lord. (JOH 21:8-12)
 
What’s John trying to say here? None of the disciples ventured to question Him, “Who are You?” because they knew it was the Lord. And I want you to notice that every time we look through the scripture, every time He appears there seems to be some kind of a doubt concerning who He is. Let’s see if we can understand why. Now, as we have noted there are many prophecies in the Old Testament, which are fulfilled in the New, and so it probably shouldn’t surprise us to discover, there are more detailed descriptions of the crucifixion in the Old Testament than in the New.
 
Psa 22 was written by David, but it reads as if it was dictated by Jesus Christ as He hung on the Cross. It opens and closes with the first and last words on the Cross PSA 22:1, My God, my God, why hast Thou forsaken me?
 
PSA 22:14, I am poured out like water, And all my bones are out of joint; My heart is like wax; It is melted within me.
 
PSA 22:16, For dogs have surrounded me; A band of evildoers has encompassed me; They pierced my hands and my feet.
 
This is describing crucifixion, which they did not practice in David’s day and this was written eight centuries before Christ was born.
PSA 22:17 I can count all my bones. They look, they stare at me;\
 
PSA 22:31 They will come and will declare His righteousness To a people who will be born, that He has performed {it.} [the Hebrew says It is finished]\
 
And you all know that the last thing the Lord said was Tetelestai, JOH 19:30 “It is finished!”
 
However, I think our answer to why no one could recognize the Lord is found in Isa 53.
 
Who has believed our message? And to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed? For He grew up before Him like a tender shoot, And like a root out of parched ground; He has no {stately} form or majesty That we should look upon Him, Nor appearance that we should be attracted to Him. He was despised and forsaken of men, A man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief; And like one from whom men hide their face, He was despised, and we did not esteem Him. Surely our griefs He Himself bore, And our sorrows He carried; Yet we ourselves esteemed Him stricken, Smitten of God, and afflicted. But He was pierced through for our transgressions, He was crushed for our iniquities; The chastening for our well‑being {fell} upon Him, And by His scourging we are healed. All of us like sheep have gone astray, Each of us has turned to his own way; But the Lord has caused the iniquity of us all To fall on Him. He was oppressed and He was afflicted, Yet He did not open His mouth; Like a lamb that is led to slaughter, And like a sheep that is silent before its shearers, So He did not open His mouth. By oppression and judgment He was taken away; And as for His generation, who considered That He was cut off out of the land of the living, For the transgression of my people to whom the stroke {was due?} His grave was assigned with wicked men, Yet He was with a rich man in His death, Because He had done no violence, Nor was there any deceit in His mouth. But the Lord was pleased To crush Him, putting {Him} to grief; If He would render Himself {as} a guilt offering, He will see {His} offspring, He will prolong {His} days, And the good pleasure of the Lord will prosper in His hand. As a result of the anguish of His soul, He will see {it} and be satisfied; By His knowledge the Righteous One, My Servant, will justify the many, As He will bear their iniquities. Therefore, I will allot Him a portion with the great, And He will divide the booty with the strong; Because He poured out Himself to death, And was numbered with the transgressors; Yet He Himself bore the sin of many, And interceded for the transgressors. (ISA 53:1-12)
 
You must remember that chapters and verses were added in the 13th or 14th century and this one of those places where they did not make a good break. The passage should begin with ISA 52:13-14, Behold, My servant will prosper, He will be high and lifted up, and greatly exalted. Just as many were astonished at you, {My people,} So His appearance was marred more than any man, And His form more than the sons of men.
 

 

The Hebrew says that His face was so marred from looking like a man that His appearance was not that of a son of man or He did not look human! Remember what they did to our Lord three days before His resurrection in Ma 26:67, Then they spat in His face and beat Him with their fists; and others slapped Him,
MAT 27:30, And they spat on Him, and took the reed and {began} to beat Him on the head.
 
The Roman soldiers before the cross beat Him up so badly that He was a bloody mess. Now how bad did they beat Him up? Well in Isa 50 and I suspect that here we have a clue as to what was going on that resurrection morning and resurrection day.
 
ISA 50:6 I gave My back to those who strike {Me,} And My cheeks to those who pluck out the beard; I did not cover My face from humiliation and spitting.
 
Note that they ripped off His beard and that His face was smashed. He must have looked so different without His beard and with all the wounds in His resurrection body. He must have had scar tissue where the beard use to be. You see, the question is in Jesus’ resurrection body does He bear scars…and the answer is of course.  
The nail prints, the wound in the side, the marks on his head from the crown of thorns.
 
As Zechariah prophesied in ZEC 13:6, “And one will say to him, ‘What are these wounds between your arms?’ Then he will say,’ {Those} with which I was wounded in the house of my friends.'” The point is that if His beard was ripped off what does His face look like? I think it’s disfigured! That’s what ISA 52:14 suggests.
Let me give you a few translations; ISA 52:14, Just as there were many who were appalled at him‑‑ his appearance was so disfigured beyond that of any man and his form marred beyond human likeness‑‑ (NIV)\
 

 

ISA 52:14 They shall stand dumbfounded, speechless in his presence. They shall see my Servant beaten and bloodied, so disfigured one would scarcely know it was a person standing there. So shall he cleanse many nations. (TLB)\

 

If it’s true that His resurrected body will bear the wounds He endured on the cross, than think of what He is going to look like in the eternal state. You and I will have a perfect body without scars and wounds, our Lord will not! As ZEC 12:10 says, “They will look on Me whom they have pierced; and they will mourn for Him, as one mourns for an only son, and they will weep bitterly over Him, like the bitter weeping over a first‑born. They will see His nail prints, they will see the wound in His side. The only man made things in heaven for all of eternity will be the scars upon TLJC. InREV 5:6, John saw Him in heaven, And I saw between the throne (with the four living creatures) and the elders a Lamb standing, as if slain,

Now had been slain but as if slain. If you take that literally, like I believe that you should, then we should believe that He was there standing in heaven with His wounds. The question that lurks in our minds is “I wonder what His face looks like?” 

I’m told of a story of a woman who has a little girl. The woman happen to have a very bad disfigured face. And when the little girl went to school, the kids made fun of her and teased her because of the strange appearance of her mother…you know how cruel kids can be. Often the little girl came home crying because she didn’t know how to deal with this, having her mother made fun of by all these kids.

One day when the girl was old enough, the mother explained to the little girl that when she was a baby there was a fire in the apartment and she was able to rescue the little girl by enduring very serious burns. And the result the fire left on the mother….was the disfigurement of her face among other things. From that day on the little girl was not embarrassed anymore…because every time she looked into her mother’s face, she knew how much she was loved. I think most of us recognize that the physical aspect of the cross is probably the least significant of what it cost our Lord so that you and I might have eternal life. But I wonder……that when we’re in heaven and we look into His face; I wonder if we’re going to get a glimpse of just how much He loved us so that you and I might live with Him for all eternity. 
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