Wait on the LORD: be of good courage,
and he shall strengthen thine heart;
wait, I say, on the LORD.
- Psalm 27:14
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Pastor's Blog

Because He Lives 11/10/2013
Grace, mercy and peace be unto you from God Our Father and from His Son, Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Amen.

Text: Luke 20:27-38

What questions do we have in our lives?
Are we asking them?
From whom are we asking them?
With what attitude and motive are we asking them?


These are some things we want to think about as we follow Jesus as He enters into Jerusalem of his life.

In the Gospel of Luke, beginning with chapter 9 and verse 51, we read the following: "And it came to pass, when the time was come that he should be received up, he stedfastly set his face to go to Jerusalem, And sent messengers before his face: and they went, and entered into a village of the Samaritans, to make ready for him. And they did not receive him, because his face was as though he would go to Jerusalem.And when his disciples James and John saw this, they said, Lord, wilt thou that we command fire to come down from heaven, and consume them, even as Elias did? But he turned, and rebuked them, and said, Ye know not what manner of spirit ye are of. For the Son of man is not come to destroy men's lives, but to save them. And they went to another village."

Today in our journey with Jesus we find Jesus having reached Jerusalem, having entered the city on what we refer to as Palm Sunday and into a city which is full of people who are gathered for the Passover celebration He had gone into the temple and casted out "those that sold therein and bought; saying to them, it is written, My house is a house of prayer, but ye have made it a den of thieves." Luke 19

As He did so, the leaders of the Jewish church began to feel the threat that Jesus was to their place of authority and influence in the nation. We will begin our meditation in the last two verses of Luke 19 and follow along from there. We read that "He taught daily in the temple. But the chief priests and the scribes and the chief of the people sought to destroy him. And could not find what they might do: for all the people were very attentive to hear him."

"On one of these days, as he taught the people in the temple, and as he preached the gospel, the chief priests and the scribes came upon him with the elders." We note that he continued with that which he told James and John back in chapter 9 of this same gospel, for he "preached the gospel" unto the people in the temple. He preached to the people in the temple of the Good News in that He has come to rescue them, but we see the leaders did not recognize Him as their rescuer, not realizing that they even needed to be rescued. So they decided to put some questions to Jesus which were designed to expose this Jesus as an imposter....They asked three questions of Jesus.....

They challenged Jesus by saying to Him: "Tell us, by what authority do you do these things? or who is he that gave you this authority?" He had just ridden into Jerusalem on a donkey, which was understood as a sign of kingship, and he had also gone into their temple and cleared out the money changers. They were asking, "What and who give you the right to do what you did?"

20:3 And he answered and said unto them, I will also ask you one thing; and answer me:
4 The baptism of John, was it from heaven, or of men?
5 And they reasoned with themselves, saying, If we shall say, From heaven; he will say, Why then believed ye him not?
6 But and if we say, Of men; all the people will stone us: for they be persuaded that John was a prophet.
7 And they answered, that they could not tell whence it was.
8 And Jesus said unto them, Neither tell I you by what authority I do these things.

Jesus did not give a direct answer to their demanding question, but countered with a question. They did not answer according to what they knew to be true, but they answered according to what would would be best for their position and their honor. So Jesus, able to know the reason why they answered falsely, refused to bother with giving a direct answer to their demanding question for it was not a question according to a real desire to know truth. He then proceeded to answer their question in an indirect manner......

9 Then began he to speak to the people this parable; A certain man planted a vineyard, and let it forth to husbandmen, and went into a far country for a long time.
10 And at the season he sent a servant to the husbandmen, that they should give him of the fruit of the vineyard: but the husbandmen beat him, and sent him away empty.
11 And again he sent another servant: and they beat him also, and entreated him shamefully, and sent him away empty.
12 And again he sent a third: and they wounded him also, and cast him out.
13 Then said the lord of the vineyard, What shall I do? I will send my beloved son: it may be they will reverence him when they see him.
14 But when the husbandmen saw him, they reasoned among themselves, saying, This is the heir: come, let us kill him, that the inheritance may be ours.
15 So they cast him out of the vineyard, and killed him. What therefore shall the lord of the vineyard do unto them?
16 He shall come and destroy these husbandmen, and shall give the vineyard to others. And when they heard it, they said, God forbid.
17 And he beheld them, and said, What is this then that is written, The stone which the builders rejected, the same is become the head of the corner?
18 Whosoever shall fall upon that stone shall be broken; but on whomsoever it shall fall, it will grind him to powder.
19 And the chief priests and the scribes the same hour sought to lay hands on him; and they feared the people: for they perceived that he had spoken this parable against them.

As Jesus ended this parable, the chief priests and the scribes sought to lay hands on him, in order to at the very least remove Jesus from the temple, but they had another problem: They feared what the people might do because the people were listening to Jesus. The leaders knew that if they acted too quickly against Jesus they would be in trouble with the people and consequently with the Roman authorities. So they acted a little more discreetly.....

20 And they watched him, and sent forth spies, which should feign themselves just men, that they might take hold of his words, that so they might deliver him unto the power and authority of the governor.
21 And they asked him, saying, Master, we know that thou sayest and teachest rightly, neither acceptest thou the person of any, but teachest the way of God truly:
22 Is it lawful for us to give tribute unto Caesar, or no?
23 But he perceived their craftiness, and said unto them, Why tempt ye me?
24 Shew me a penny. Whose image and superscription hath it? They answered and said, Caesar's.
25 And he said unto them, Render therefore unto Caesar the things which be Caesar's, and unto God the things which be God's.
26 And they could not take hold of his words before the people: and they marvelled at his answer, and held their peace.

They now sent spies to Jesus with another question, after they had approached him with flattery and falseness. They asked their question "in craftiness," or with trickery, deceit. Jesus could see through their deceit, asking they as to why they are being deceitful.

He then asked for a Roman coin on which was the imprint of Caesar, asked them to look at it and then asked whose imprint was on it. As they replied Caesar, he then told them: " Render therefore unto Caesar the things which be Caesar's, and unto God the things which be God's."

They readily must have understood what he meant concerning what was due to Caesar, but it is doubtful that they understood the implication of what it meant to render unto God the things that are God's Did they understand that just as when they held the coin they saw the image of Caesar that the image of God was standing right in front of them? Did they understand what the writer to the Hebrews would write later concerning the "express image?" They did not acknowledge that truth, for they refused to believe that He was God.

KJV Hebrews 1:1 God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets,
2 Hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son, whom he hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also he made the worlds;
3 Who being the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person, and upholding all things by the word of his power, when he had by himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high;

ESV Luke 20:26 And they were not able in the presence of the people to catch him in what he said, but marveling at his answer they became silent.

Then comes the third question, this time from the Sadducees, who had their doctrinal positions. They only accepted the first five books of the Bible, maintaining that there was no teaching of the resurrection in those five books. Their worldview did not allow them to have a doctrine of the resurrection and they were going to put Jesus to the test...So let us see how it went for them with Jesus.

Luke 20:27 Then came to him certain of the Sadducees, which deny that there is any resurrection; and they asked him,
28 Saying, Master, Moses wrote unto us, If any man's brother die, having a wife, and he die without children, that his brother should take his wife, and raise up seed unto his brother.
29 There were therefore seven brethren: and the first took a wife, and died without children.
30 And the second took her to wife, and he died childless.
31 And the third took her; and in like manner the seven also: and they left no children, and died.
32 Last of all the woman died also.
33 Therefore in the resurrection whose wife of them is she? for seven had her to wife.

They have solid ground to present their question, for they use the following scripture to state their case.

Deuteronomy 25:5 If brethren dwell together, and one of them die, and have no child, the wife of the dead shall not marry without unto a stranger: her husband's brother shall go in unto her, and take her to him to wife, and perform the duty of an husband's brother unto her.
6 And it shall be, that the firstborn which she beareth shall succeed in the name of his brother which is dead, that his name be not put out of Israel.
7 And if the man like not to take his brother's wife, then let his brother's wife go up to the gate unto the elders, and say, My husband's brother refuseth to raise up unto his brother a name in Israel, he will not perform the duty of my husband's brother.
8 Then the elders of his city shall call him, and speak unto him: and if he stand to it, and say, I like not to take her;
9 Then shall his brother's wife come unto him in the presence of the elders, and loose his shoe from off his foot, and spit in his face, and shall answer and say, So shall it be done unto that man that will not build up his brother's house.
10 And his name shall be called in Israel, The house of him that hath his shoe loosed.


In their mind, Jesus had no way out of this one..But.....Jesus points out the contrast between what we know and experience here with that which is prepared and awaiting for us there. Because we are so programmed and conditioned to living life here it is very difficult to imagine life there. But yet, Jesus does point out some very distinct differences between here and there.

34 And Jesus answering said unto them, The children of this world marry, and are given in marriage:
35 But they which shall be accounted worthy to obtain that world, and the resurrection from the dead, neither marry, nor are given in marriage:
36 Neither can they die any more: for they are equal unto the angels; and are the children of God, being the children of the resurrection.

We live in an existence in which God has ordained marriage of male and female and has allowed for the preproduction, protection and nurturing of children through being part of that family. There will be no need for this in the heavenly realm, for in that place, there will be no subtraction through dying and there will be no multiplcation as there is here on earth. There would be many others aspects that we could point to our glorified state, but we will only take those that are clearly taught in our text. Having said that, I cannot resist placing a couple verses which bless me each time I read them, for they reveal our inability to see what is prepared for us as we yet peer through foggy glasses into heaven. When we see Him, we will see Him "as he is" and we will also for the first time be able to "know even as also I am known."

KJV 1 John 3:1 Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God: therefore the world knoweth us not, because it knew him not.
2 Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is.

1 Corinthians 13:9 For we know in part, and we prophesy in part.
10 But when that which is perfect is come, then that which is in part shall be done away.
11 When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things.
12 For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known.
13 And now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these is charity.


There was a resurrection of Jesus Christ, there will be a resurrection of our bodies unto eternal life and it was taught by Moses in the first five books of the Bible, contrary to what the Sadducees believed..

To point this out, Jesus takes the Sadducees back to the 2nd book of the Bible, the book of Exodus, and yes, you guessed it, to Moses..

37 Now that the dead are raised, even Moses shewed at the bush, when he calleth the Lord the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob.
38 For he is not a God of the dead, but of the living: for all live unto him.
39 Then certain of the scribes answering said, Master, thou hast well said.
40 And after that they durst not ask him any question at all.

Jesus reminds them of the burning bush incident, when Moses called the Lord the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob.

KJV Exodus 3:1 Now Moses kept the flock of Jethro his father in law, the priest of Midian: and he led the flock to the backside of the desert, and came to the mountain of God, even to Horeb.
2 And the angel of the LORD appeared unto him in a flame of fire out of the midst of a bush: and he looked, and, behold, the bush burned with fire, and the bush was not consumed.
3 And Moses said, I will now turn aside, and see this great sight, why the bush is not burnt.
4 And when the LORD saw that he turned aside to see, God called unto him out of the midst of the bush, and said, Moses, Moses. And he said, Here am I.
5 And he said, Draw not nigh hither: put off thy shoes from off thy feet, for the place whereon thou standest is holy ground.
6 Moreover he said, I am the God of thy father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob. And Moses hid his face; for he was afraid to look upon God.

At first glance, one might ask: What does this reference prove? Why does Jesus point to it?

Let us think back to what Jesus told the Sadducees in response to their case of a woman having seven husbands and how that would fit into a belief in the resurrection. It might have worked for a man to have had seven wives and then to have seven in heaven, but there was no way that a woman would have seven husbands in that culture. It was a man's world. Also there was the understanding just as there is today that our parents live on through us in that their preeminient traits are passed on from generation to generation. But that is far far different from the reality of the resurrection unto eternal life.

Jesus explained that there will be no families in heaven as we know them here, for all will be children of God and relationships as we know them here will not exist as far as families go. We will all be in God's family for all eternity. We are in His family now, but we still think in earthly terms. For example, my mother died in June and according to our way of looking at these things, I would say, "she was my mother" as opposed to heavenly language which would say, "she is mother." Yet I should not say, "she is my mother," since that distinction is no longer applicable. She brought me into life, she cared for me and nurtured me, but now we await the time when we will be reunited in the family of God in which we will be like the angels.

Moses understood that Abraham, Isaac and Jacob were still alive. Jesus pointed to that when said, "Now that the dead are raised, even Moses showed at the bush, when he called the Lord the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob. For he is not a God of the dead, but of the living: for all live unto him.

We do not cease to exist, and go into nothingness, for we are alive unto God. He is our God, not was our God. Because He lives, we live also......



What questions do we have in our lives?
Are we asking them?
From whom are we asking them?
With what attitude and motive are we asking them?



In 1971 Gloria and William Gaither wrote the hymn “Because He Lives”. The hymn expresses faith in the resurrection of… Jesus, that He still lives, and that this provides us with great comfort and assurance even in turbulent times.

When Bill and I started our family in the sixties, racial tensions were tearing the country apart. Civil rights activists had suffered and some had been killed. The Vietnam conflict was claiming thousands of lives, and tensions boiled over on university campuses. Many young people were growing disillusioned and dropping out.

In this climate, Bill and I sought to write songs with lasting answers to the turmoil of the human spirit. But in the fall of 1969, several things happened to test the reality of our own convictions. We realized we were exp
ecting another baby. Though we had always intended to have another child, we weren’t planning on a baby so soon. My body hadn’t quite recovered from the last pregnancy. Making matters worse, Bill contracted mononucleosis, which left him exhausted and depressed.

This combination of national turmoil and personal trouble discouraged us, and we occasionally asked each other; “If the world is like this now, what will it be in fifteen or sixteen years for our baby? What will this child face?”

While pondering and praying about these things, we came to realize anew that our courage doesn’t come from a stable world, for the world has never been stable. Jesus Himself was born in the cruelest of times. No, we have babies, raise families, and risk living because the Resurrection is true!
Our baby arrived safe and sound, and we named him Benjamin, which means “most beloved son.” A few weeks later “Because He Lives” was born in our hearts and poured from our souls:

How sweet to hold our newborn baby
And feel the pride and joy he gives;
But greater still, the calm assurance-
This child can face uncertain days because He lives.

Over the years this song has reassured us that our Lord’s Resurrection is the central truth of life. Because He lives, we can face tomorrow. Many times since, as our children grew, our business-life changed, our fortunes shifted, or our direction clouded, our family has found assurance in this very personal song.

Bill and Gloria Gaither

May the Lord strengthen your faith in the resurrection of Jesus Christ and in so doing bring you comfort today as you await the time to be rejoined into Him and into the huge multitude of the heavenly host.....

Revelation 7:9 After this I beheld, and, lo, a great multitude, which no man could number, of all nations, and kindreds, and people, and tongues, stood before the throne, and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, and palms in their hands;
10 And cried with a loud voice, saying, Salvation to our God which sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb.
11 And all the angels stood round about the throne, and about the elders and the four beasts, and fell before the throne on their faces, and worshipped God,
12 Saying, Amen: Blessing, and glory, and wisdom, and thanksgiving, and honour, and power, and might, be unto our God for ever and ever. Amen.
13 And one of the elders answered, saying unto me, What are these which are arrayed in white robes? and whence came they?
14 And I said unto him, Sir, thou knowest. And he said to me, These are they which came out of great tribulation, and have washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.
15 Therefore are they before the throne of God, and serve him day and night in his temple: and he that sitteth on the throne shall dwell among them.
16 They shall hunger no more, neither thirst any more; neither shall the sun light on them, nor any heat.
17 For the Lamb which is in the midst of the throne shall feed them, and shall lead them unto living fountains of waters: and God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes.

What a day that will be when my/our Jesus we will see...........

Pastor Orval Wirkkala
Posted on 10 Nov 2013 by Pastor Orval Wirkkala
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