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“Again, Jesus said to them, ‘I am going away, and you will seek Me, and you will die in your sins. Where I am going, you cannot come.’ So the Jews said, ‘Will He kill Himself? For He said, “Where I am going, you cannot come.”’ He said to them, ‘You are from below; I am from above. You are of this world; I am not of this world. Therefore I said to you that you will die in your sins. For unless you believe that I am He, you will die in your sins.’” John 8:21-24

What a terrible thing to die in your sins — to die and stand before the holy Judge of all while still bearing the uncleanness and guilt of your sins! Yet, this is what was soon to happen to a great many of the Jews in Jesus’ day. Jesus warned them, “I am going away, and you will seek Me, and you will die in your sins. Where I am going, you cannot come” (John 8:21).

Because so many of His Jewish hearers saw no need to repent of their sins and trust in Jesus as their Messiah and Savior, they would die in their sins and face the eternal wrath and condemnation of God. Where Jesus was going — to the right hand of God the Father in heaven (cf. John 14:1ff.; Eph. 2:20f.) — they would not be able to come! Instead, they faced a Christless eternity and the everlasting torments of hell!

Again, Jesus warned them, “Therefore I said to you that you will die in your sins. For unless you believe that I am He, you will die in your sins” (John 8:24).

Jesus’ words still ring out today! Those who do not trust in Jesus as their Messiah and Savior from sin are not justified and forgiven and acceptable to God. They are still dead in their trespasses and sins (cf. Eph. 2:1ff.). Unless they repent and trust in Jesus and His cross, they will die in their sins and are headed to an eternity of everlasting punishment. Where Jesus is, at the right hand of God the Father, they cannot come!

Unless people repent and turn to God’s Son, Jesus Christ, who was lifted up on the cross to suffer and die there for us and bear the full punishment for our sins and the sins of the whole world, they will die in their sins and face the holy God in their own uncleanness and guilt! (Cf. John 3:14-18,36; Matt. 22:11-14.)

What about you? Will you die in the guilt of your sins and face the eternal wrath of an angry God? Or will you, by the grace of God, turn to Jesus and receive His full and complete pardon and forgiveness for your sins and enjoy the everlasting blessings of life in heaven with Him?

The Bible tells us: “As it is appointed for men to die once, but after this comes the judgment, so Christ was offered once to bear the sins of many, and He will appear a second time, not to bear sin but to save those who eagerly wait for Him” (Hebrews 9:27-28).

Jesus has already died and paid in full for your sins. His resurrection on the third day is proof that God accepted His death as full payment for the sins of the world (cf. 1 Cor. 15:3,4; Rom. 4:23-25)! Why die in your sins and be condemned by God? Turn in faith to Jesus and His shed blood and be forgiven and saved (Cf. 2 Cor. 5:19-6:2; Isa. 55:6-7)!

O dearest Jesus, have mercy upon our wayward hearts and draw us to You so that we might not enter eternity bearing the guilt and condemnation for our sins but have, instead, the blessing of forgiveness and life everlasting for the sake of Your holy and precious blood, shed for us on the cross. Amen.

[Scripture is quoted from The Holy Bible, Modern English Version, Copyright © 2024, 2017, 2014 by United Bible Association. Published and distributed by Charisma House. All rights reserved.]

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Again and again, I hear preachers telling mourning loved ones that this person is, without a doubt, in heaven because of how much he loved Jesus, how many people’s lives she touched, how strong his faith was, or how much good she accomplished in her lifetime.

I can’t help but wonder, “Was it enough?” After all, God’s Word commands us to love the LORD God with all our heart, soul, and mind, to love others as much as we love ourselves, and to be holy and perfect as our Father in heaven is perfect (Deut. 6:4-5; Lev. 19:2,18; Matt. 22:37-40; Matt. 6:48; 1 Pet. 1:16). It says our best works, in and of themselves, are like filthy and unclean rags in God’s eyes (Isa. 64:6).

So, I want to make a few things clear before I die. I even suggest these words be read on that occasion or printed in my obituary so there is no doubt:

• I won’t be in heaven because of how much I loved Jesus; I will be in heaven because of how much Jesus loved me!

• I won’t be in heaven because I lived a holy and sinless life (I certainly haven’t); I will be in heaven because Jesus lived a holy and sinless life for me!

• I won’t be in heaven because of any good things I’ve done; I will be in heaven because of all the good and perfect things Jesus did for me!

• I won’t be in heaven because of all I’ve sacrificed for Jesus; I will be in heaven because of all Jesus sacrificed for me when He gave His life on the cross and paid the just penalty for my sin.

• I won’t be in heaven because I died a good death for Jesus; I will be in heaven because Jesus died a good death for me, conquered sin and death, and rose again to be my ever-living Savior!

• I won’t even be in heaven because of my solid and enduring faith; I will be in heaven because Jesus gave me His Spirit at my baptism, and the Holy Spirit endured me and patiently, again and again throughout my life, revealed to me my utter sinfulness but comforted me with forgiveness and acceptance for Jesus’ sake!

So, you see, I won’t be in heaven because of me — I’ve failed and come short, but I will be in heaven because of Jesus — He did it all!

The Bible says of all who trust in Jesus and are saved from the eternal wrath and punishment they deserve: “For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God, being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God has set forth to be a propitiation through faith, in His blood …” (Rom. 3:23-25).

To quote from the hymn “Jesus, Thy Blood and Righteousness,” written by Ludwig von Zinzendorf and translated by John Wesley nearly 300 years ago, “When from the dust of death I rise to claim my mansion in the skies, e’en then, this shall be all my plea: Jesus hath lived and died for me.”

[Scripture is quoted from The Holy Bible, Modern English Version, Copyright © 2024, 2017, 2014 by United Bible Association. Published and distributed by Charisma House. All rights reserved.]

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“On the next day a great crowd that had come to the feast heard that Jesus was coming to Jerusalem. They took branches of palm trees, and went out to meet Him, and cried out: ‘Hosanna! Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord! The King of Israel!’
“Then Jesus, having found a young donkey, sat on it. As it is written: ‘Fear not, daughter of Zion; behold, your King is coming, sitting on a donkey’s colt.’
“His disciples did not understand these things at first. But when Jesus was glorified, they remembered that these things were written about Him and that they had done these things to Him.
“Now the crowd that was with Him when He called Lazarus out of the tomb and raised him from the dead bore witness. The crowd went and met Him for this reason: They heard that He had performed this sign. So the Pharisees said among themselves, ‘See, you are gaining nothing! Look, the world has followed Him!’” John 12:12-19

Do you know what the triumphal entry and the events of that day are all about? Yes, you may know what happened that day — how Jesus rode into Jerusalem on a donkey’s colt and was hailed King of the Jews, but why? What does it all mean?

If you don’t know, you’re not alone. Jesus’ own disciples didn’t understand these things until after Jesus had risen from the dead and was glorified. It was as John writes, “Then Jesus, having found a young donkey, sat on it. As it is written: ‘Fear not, daughter of Zion; behold, your King is coming, sitting on a donkey’s colt.’”

What was written about Jesus? From the Book of Zechariah, we see the ancient prophecy: “Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion! And cry aloud, O daughter of Jerusalem! Behold, your king is coming to you; he is righteous and able to deliver, he is humble and riding on a donkey, a colt, the offspring of a donkey” (Zech. 9:9). We see these very words fulfilled; the people shouted words of praise to Jesus as the Messiah and Savior of Israel. They hailed Him as their King. Jesus was riding upon a donkey’s colt, just as the prophecy said and similar to the way King Solomon was made known as the king of Israel (cf. 1 Kings 1:32ff.).

And what did they cry out? John tells us the multitude cried out: “Hosanna! Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord! The King of Israel!” In Matthew 21:9, we read: “The crowds that went before Him and that followed Him cried out: ‘Hosanna to the Son of David! Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord! Hosanna in the highest!’” Compare that to the words of Psalm 118:19ff. Hosanna, which is a call to the LORD to save now, together with the references to the Son of David, King of Israel, and He who comes in the name of the LORD, is an acclamation that Jesus is the Messiah and promised Savior who would save His people and establish an everlasting kingdom (cf. 2 Sam. 7:16).

Thus, the events of that day when Jesus rode into Jerusalem were a declaration that Jesus was the long-promised Messiah, the Son of David and King of Israel, who would save His people and establish an eternal kingdom. The people were calling upon Him to save them as God had promised. He was the one who would “redeem Israel from all his iniquities” (Psalm 130:8). And this acclamation and these words of praise came just days before He was crucified and died for the sins of the world to provide that promised salvation!

We, too, cry out: “Hosanna! Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord! The King of Israel!” We pray that He would usher in the day of our salvation — the salvation he won for us upon Calvary’s cross. We long for Him to come again and enter into the gates of the New Jerusalem and establish His everlasting kingdom and be our God and King forevermore! Cf. Phil. 2:5ff.; Rev. 7:9ff.; 19:11ff.; 21:1ff.; 21:22ff.

Hosanna, Hosanna, Hosanna in the Highest! Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord! We praise You, Christ Jesus, our Savior, and pray that You would come and establish Your everlasting kingdom and reign over us as our God and King. Amen.

[Scripture is taken from The Holy Bible, Modern English Version, Copyright © 2024, 2017, 2014 by United Bible Association. Published and distributed by Charisma House. All rights reserved.]

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“Again, Jesus spoke to them, saying, ‘I am the light of the world. Whoever follows Me shall not walk in the darkness, but shall have the light of life.’” John 8:12

Have you ever tried to walk somewhere in total darkness, perhaps in a cave or on a moonless night? What happens? Without any light, we lose our way and begin to trip and stumble over everything. But what if a friend has a flashlight or lantern? If we walk with him, we can see and find our way. But if we do not follow closely, we again begin to stumble and grope in the darkness.

We live in a world full of darkness when it comes to knowledge of the truth. People don’t know or understand who they are, how they got here, why they are here, or how to live. People do not know God, their Maker, or how to walk in fellowship with Him. Instead, people deny the existence of God and believe they are freak accidents of time, chance, and evolution. They have no idea of their purpose here in this world — if they even have one — or what will happen to them after they die.

To the people of this dark and sinful world who are groping about in spiritual darkness, trying this and that to find happiness and fulfillment, Jesus says, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows Me shall not walk in the darkness but shall have the light of life.”

Jesus truly is the light of the world. He speaks the truth about our utter sinfulness before God and the condemnation we deserve, and He speaks the truth when He calls upon lost sinners to repent and trust in Him for forgiveness and life everlasting (cf. John 3:3-6,14-21; 8:23-24).

Jesus, the very Son of God, took on human flesh and blood and came into this world to save sinners like you and me. He lived a holy life under God’s law and then suffered and died on the cross to bear the full and just punishment for our sins. The Bible tells us: “But when the fullness of time came, God sent forth His Son, born from a woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, that we might receive the adoption as sons” (Gal. 4:4-5); and “Christ also has once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, so that He might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh, but made alive by the Spirit” (1 Pet. 3:18).

Jesus’ resurrection is proof that God accepted His sacrifice for sin and that we can be pardoned, forgiven, and justified before God through faith in Jesus and His cross. In Romans 4:23-25, we read regarding God justifying Abraham by faith: “Now the words, ‘it was credited to him,’ were not written for his sake only, but also for us, to whom it shall be credited if we believe in Him who raised Jesus our Lord from the dead, who was delivered for our transgressions, and was raised for our justification.”
Jesus is “the Light of Life.” In Him alone can we sinners have life in fellowship and communion with God our Maker, both now and forever!

What shall we do? Shall we continue to grope around in the darkness, trying to find our way through life? Or shall we follow Jesus, “the Light of the world”?

Like the person walking next to one with a flashlight, if we walk with Jesus by trusting in Him as our Savior and being led and guided continually by His Word, we will “not walk in the darkness” but “have the light of life.” We will not be condemned on account of our sins but be comforted with the knowledge and assurance of forgiveness for all our sins and life everlasting through faith in His name! And we will be led and guided in the right way through life by the Holy Spirit’s teaching through the Word.

On the other hand, if we wander off and do not follow closely after the Lord Jesus, we will quickly find ourselves groping and stumbling through the darkness of sin and death, not knowing the way to walk in communion with God or how to live for Him.

Again, God’s Word says in 1 John 1:5 — 2:2: “This then is the message which we have heard from Him and declare to you: God is light, and in Him is no darkness at all. If we say that we have fellowship with Him, yet walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth. But if we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin. If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar and His word is not in us. My little children, I am writing these things to you, so that you do not sin. But if anyone does sin, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the Righteous One. He is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world.”

Dearest Jesus, “with You is the fountain of life; in Your light we see light” (Ps. 36:9). Graciously shine upon our hearts, revealing our sin but comforting us with mercy and forgiveness through faith in You and Your atoning sacrifice on the cross for our sins; and lead us safely through this life to Yourself in heaven. Amen.

[Scripture is quoted from The Holy Bible, Modern English Version, Copyright © 2024, 2017, 2014 by United Bible Association. Published and distributed by Charisma House. All rights reserved.]

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“When many of the Jews learned that He was there, they came, not for Jesus’ sake only, but that they might also see Lazarus, whom He had raised from the dead. So the chief priests planned to put Lazarus to death also, because on account of him many of the Jews went away and believed in Jesus.” John 12:9-11 (Read John 11:55 — 12:11)

The chief priests and the Pharisees were watching for Jesus at the Passover feast so they could arrest Him and put Him to death. In fact, they “had given orders that if anyone knew where He was, he should report it, that they might seize Him” (John 11:57).

Six days before the Passover, Jesus arrived in Bethany (about two miles east of Jerusalem), the village where He had raised Lazarus from the dead. There, a supper was prepared for Jesus. Lazarus joined Jesus at the supper, Martha served, and Mary anointed Jesus’ feet with costly ointment and wiped them with her hair.

Jerusalem was crowded with people coming for the Passover feast, with some coming early to purify themselves before the feast began. When they learned that Jesus was in nearby Bethany, many of the Jews came there to see Him, not only Jesus but also Lazarus, whom Jesus had raised from the dead.

The Gospel of John tells us: “So the chief priests planned to put Lazarus to death also, because on account of him many of the Jews went away and believed in Jesus” (John 12:10-11).

The chief priests and religious rulers of the Jews were so opposed to anyone believing in Jesus that they were excommunicating anyone who professed faith in Him (cf. John 9:22,34-35), and now they planned to put Lazarus to death, as well, because he was living and breathing proof, after being dead and in the grave four days, that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and has the power to raise the dead. They planned to kill Lazarus because he was a back-from-the-dead, living witness for Jesus and caused many to believe in Jesus as the Christ.

What happens when people reject Jesus and refuse to believe in Him? They become hardened in their unbelief and refuse to accept the obvious truth. After all, how could Jesus call forth the dead from their graves if He were not the Son of God? The chief priests and religious leaders of the people heard about and saw the mighty miracles of Jesus, and they knew the Scriptures that pointed to Jesus as the Messiah — who He is and what He would do! Yet, they clung so tightly to their religious system of rites and works that they refused to believe and planned to silence the truth by killing Jesus — and Lazarus — and excommunicating all who professed faith in Jesus as the Son of God and Savior.

And what of Lazarus? Do you think he was shaking in his sandals at the thought of being put to death for his witness to Jesus? He had already been dead once and Jesus raised him from the dead by calling him forth from the tomb, saying, “Lazarus, come out!” (John 11:43-44). Could death hold him and silence him? He had nothing to fear!

Jesus’ enemies were so blinded by their unbelief that they failed to consider Jesus’ power to raise the dead — to raise Lazarus again should they kill him and to rise from the dead Himself on the third day after being crucified! They failed to see that they were fighting against the truth — against God Himself — and would not prevail.

My question is: What about you? Do you believe that Jesus is the eternal Son of God who came into this world as a man to atone for your sins and provide a way for you to be pardoned, forgiven, and have eternal life in communion with God? Or are you so set against the truth that Jesus is God the Son and the only way of salvation that you fight against the truth and seek to silence it and keep it out of your life?

It’s not too smart to reject and oppose the one who will one day soon call forth all the dead from their graves and be our Judge (cf. John 5:28-29; Psalm 2). Not only did He raise from the dead the daughter of Jairus (Matt. 9:18-26; Mark 5:21-43; Luke 8:40-56), the young man of Nain (cf. Luke 7:11-17) and Lazarus of Bethany (John 11:1-44); He Himself rose from the dead after being crucified for our sins (Matt. 28; Mark 16; Luke 24; John 20-21)!

Dear Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God and Son of Man, grant that I not ignore or reject the truth of who You are and what You have done for me, but trust in You as my God and Savior and look to You and Your cross for pardon, forgiveness, and life everlasting in fellowship with You. Amen.

[Scripture is quoted from The Holy Bible, Modern English Version, Copyright © 2024, 2017, 2014 by United Bible Association. Published and distributed by Charisma House. All rights reserved.]

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