He is Risen!

Read 1 Corinthians 15:1-28LENT ADVENTURE 2016

15 Now, brothers and sisters, I want to remind you of the gospel I preached to you, which you received and on which you have taken your stand. By this gospel you are saved, if you hold firmly to the word I preached to you. Otherwise, you have believed in vain.

For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, and that he appeared to Cephas, and then to the Twelve. After that, he appeared to more than five hundred of the brothers and sisters at the same time, most of whom are still living, though some have fallen asleep. Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles, and last of all he appeared to me also, as to one abnormally born.

For I am the least of the apostles and do not even deserve to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God. 10 But by the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace to me was not without effect. No, I worked harder than all of them – yet not I, but the grace of God that was with me. 11 Whether, then, it is I or they, this is what we preach, and this is what you believed.

12 But if it is preached that Christ has been raised from the dead, how can some of you say that there is no resurrection of the dead? 13 If there is no resurrection of the dead, then not even Christ has been raised. 14 And if Christ has not been raised, our preaching is useless and so is your faith. 15 More than that, we are then found to be false witnesses about God, for we have testified about God that he raised Christ from the dead. But he did not raise him if in fact the dead are not raised. 16 For if the dead are not raised, then Christ has not been raised either.17 And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins.18 Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ are lost. 19 If only for this life we have hope in Christ, we are of all people most to be pitied.

20 But Christ has indeed been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep. 21 For since death came through a man, the resurrection of the dead comes also through a man. 22 For as in Adam all die, so in Christ all will be made alive. 23 But each in turn: Christ, the firstfruits; then, when he comes, those who belong to him. 24 Then the end will come, when he hands over the kingdom to God the Father after he has destroyed all dominion, authority and power. 25 For he must reign until he has put all his enemies under his feet. 26 The last enemy to be destroyed is death. 27 For he ‘has put everything under his feet’. Now when it says that ‘everything’ has been put under him, it is clear that this does not include God himself, who put everything under Christ. 28 When he has done this, then the Son himself will be made subject to him who put everything under him, so that God may be all in all.



Does it really matter what happened to Jesus? Does it matter if Jesus’ body was resurrected from the dead? The apostle Paul says “yes, absolutely it matters. In quite an astonishing passage, Paul comments that, if Jesus did not rise then:

  1. There is not nothing special about Jesus. (1 Cor.15:13)
  2. Our message is hopeless an our faith is futile. (1 Cor. 15:14)
  3. The Bible writers are liars. (1 Cor. 15:15)
  4. There is no answer for our sin. (1 Cor. 15:17)
  5. Christian funerals are a joke. (1 Cor. 15:18)
  6. We are pathetic and pitiful. (1 cor. 15:19)

The evidence that Jesus rose from the dead has to be worth investigating. For every follower of Jesus it is the reason we follow. Without the resurrection, a life following Jesus is meaningless. When Jesus rose from the dead it was the beginning of the new world that Israel’s God had always intended to make. The evil that had invaded this world, was broken and defeated on that first Easter morning. God’s kingdom has broken though on earth as it is in heaven.

God’s great plan of restoration is to bring people out of exile and back into relationship. That is the Kingdom of God, it’s what God wants to happen. God’s desire is that you and I would be back in relationship with him and back in relationship with the people and the world around us.

For Paul, “The main meaning of the resurrection of Jesus…is that God’s new world has been brought into being through this event, the long promised new world in which the covenant will be renewed, sins will be forgiven and death itself will be done away with.” Tom Wright

Paul shows that without the resurrection our faith and our future are meaningless. Without the resurrection there is no hope. The resurrection is central to what it means to be a follower of Jesus. The resurrection is what brings hope to despair. The resurrection is not just good news for each individual Christian. The resurrection is good news for the entire Universe. This is monumental.

“The resurrection of Jesus was the moment when the one true God appointed the man through whom the whole cosmos would be brought back into it’s proper order. A human being had got it into this mess; a human being would get it out again.” – (Tom Wright PfE, p212)

For Paul, what makes you really live life is the resurrection. The future is what counts. You cannot change the past. What’s done is done. What was said was said. Stop living in the past. And stop living just in the now. Live in such a way to change your future. How will you affect your future? How will you live tomorrow? What choices will you make to live this life? Live in such a way to affect the future of others? Don’t let your past haunt you and don’t be afraid of the future.

As we finish this Lent Adventure, look at how far we have come. From Creation to Fall. Through a people called to be a blessing, rescued form slavery, entering a promised land, getting it wrong again and again. Exile and return. The life of Jesus. His death and resurrection. And now the life we are called to live to continue the story….

If you live tomorrow, how will you live? What plans for living do you have? In light of the story so far, how will you contribute to the story in which you live?

How will you live in light of the resurrection? What impact does this reversal and defeat of death by Jesus have on the way you live life? Will you join with Him in the renewal of all things? 



Read Romans 8:18-25

18 I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us. 19 For the creation waits in eager expectation for the children of God to be revealed. 20 For the creation was subjected to frustration, not by its own choice, but by the will of the one who subjected it, in hope 21 that the creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the freedom and glory of the children of God.

22 We know that the whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time. 23 Not only so, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for our adoption to sonship, the redemption of our bodies. 24 For in this hope we were saved. But hope that is seen is no hope at all. Who hopes for what they already have? 25 But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently.


Easter Saturday is a time of waiting. In the Orthodox Church, this is a day of transformation, from Sorrow to Joy, from Friday to Sunday. This Saturday is a day celebrating the death of death itself. The day when victory grows from inside the defeat. Death is a defeated enemy. In raising Jesus from the dead God set in motion the final defeat of death itself. “Death has been swallowed up in victory.” “Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting?” The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. -1 Cor 15:54-57

Easter Saturday is also full of eschatological tension! This is the tension between the now and the not yet. There is a mystery to the Kingdom. We live in both the ‘Kingdom Now’ and the ‘Kingdom Not-Yet’. We live in both despair at what we see in the world around us, and triumph at the victory, Jesus won and the hope of all that is to come. Two quotes…

“Understanding the tension of the kingdom is essential to measure truth. Any teaching that tries to evade either the ‘already’ or the ‘not yet’ runs counter to the balance of Scripture. And doctrine always has an outworking in life. A defeatist emphasis will produce defeated Christians. A triumphalist approach will produce unreal people who live in a spiritual bubble, or worse, an arrogance and fanaticism that brings the name of Jesus into disrepute.” -Derek Morphew, Breakthrough, p203

 “It is a matter of glimpsing that in God’s new creation, of which Jesus’s resurrection is the start, all that was good in the original creation is reaffirmed. All that has corrupted and defaced it–including many things which are woven so tightly in to the fabric of the world as we know it that we can’t imagine being without them–will be done away. Learning to live as a Christian is learning to live as a renewed human being, anticipating the eventual new creation in and with a world which is still longing and groaning for that final redemption.” -Tom Wright, Simply Christian

In your life, where are you experiencing  defeat and despair? Pray for God’s Kingdom to come. For Hope to be restored. Know that death and despair do not have the final word.

Which way do you naturally lean towards? The ‘Now’ or ‘Not-Yet’? Do you tend to live in defeat and despair or triumphal fanaticism? How will you hold ‘now’ and ‘not-yet’ in tension?




16 Finally Pilate handed him over to them to be crucified.

So the soldiers took charge of Jesus. 17 Carrying his own cross, he went out to the place of the Skull (which in Aramaic is called Golgotha). 18 There they crucified him, and with him two others – one on each side and Jesus in the middle.

19 Pilate had a notice prepared and fastened to the cross. It read: jesus of nazareth,the king of the jews. 20 Many of the Jews read this sign, for the place where Jesus was crucified was near the city, and the sign was written in Aramaic, Latin and Greek. 21 The chief priests of the Jews protested to Pilate, ‘Do not write “The King of the Jews”, but that this man claimed to be king of the Jews.’

22 Pilate answered, ‘What I have written, I have written.’

23 When the soldiers crucified Jesus, they took his clothes, dividing them into four shares, one for each of them, with the undergarment remaining. This garment was seamless, woven in one piece from top to bottom.

24 ‘Let’s not tear it,’ they said to one another. ‘Let’s decide by lot who will get it.’

This happened that the scripture might be fulfilled that said,

‘They divided my clothes among them
    and cast lots for my garment.’

So this is what the soldiers did.

25 Near the cross of Jesus stood his mother, his mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene. 26 When Jesus saw his mother there, and the disciple whom he loved standing near by, he said to her, ‘Woman,[b] here is your son,’ 27 and to the disciple, ‘Here is your mother.’ From that time on, this disciple took her into his home.

28 Later, knowing that everything had now been finished, and so that Scripture would be fulfilled, Jesus said, ‘I am thirsty.’ 29 A jar of wine vinegar was there, so they soaked a sponge in it, put the sponge on a stalk of the hyssop plant, and lifted it to Jesus’ lips. 30 When he had received the drink, Jesus said,

‘It is finished.’

With that, he bowed his head and gave up his spirit.

Today is Good Friday, the day we remember the cross and the sacrifice Jesus made. As the Son of Man (Daniel 7:13) and the Suffering Servant (Isaiah 53) , Jesus identified with humanity and died on our behalf.

The point of Jesus’ death was to bring redemption for the rebellion in the Garden. It was the ultimate victory of God coming back into full ownership of His creation, now, but not yet.Dr Winn Griffin

John reports that the last words of Jesus on the cross were “It is finished.” What was finished? The mission was accomplished, completed. What Jesus had come to do was done. He had gone through the final part of what he had come to do, in order, not to simply rescue people from this world so they could be in heaven with him one day, but to establish God’s Kingdom on earth. To bring rescue and redemption to the whole of creation. In Jesus words there are echoes of the final day of Creation, when the work was completed.

Jesus’ death was seen by Jesus himself, and then by those who told and ultimately wrote his story, as the ultimate means by which God’s Kingdom was established. The crucifixion was the shocking answer to the prayer that God’s kingdom would come on earth as in heaven. It was the ultimate Exodus event through which the tyrant was defeated, God’s people were set free and given their fresh vocation, and God’s presence was established in their midst in a completely new way for which the temple itself was just an advance pointer. – Tom Wright, Simply Jesus p181-2

As you pray and reflect on the cross, today, ask that you would see God’s Kingdom come in your life and the lives of others?

At the cross, Jesus took the judgement and death that was meant for you, onto himself. You have been set free, redeemed. How will this fact affect the way you live your life? Not just today, but the next and so on…?




Read Ephesians 1:3-14

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ. For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love he predestined us for adoption to sonship through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will – to the praise of his glorious grace, which he has freely given us in the One he loves.

In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace that he lavished on us. With all wisdom and understanding, he made known to us the mystery of his will according to his good pleasure, which he purposed in Christ, 10 to be put into effect when the times reach their fulfilment – to bring unity to all things in heaven and on earth under Christ.

11 In him we were also chosen, having been predestined according to the plan of him who works out everything in conformity with the purpose of his will, 12 in order that we, who were the first to put our hope in Christ, might be for the praise of his glory. 13 And you also were included in Christ when you heard the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation. When you believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit, 14 who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God’s possession – to the praise of his glory.

Redemption is how God rescues human beings, and ultimately all things, from the state of sin, decay, and death to which they have been enslaved. When Paul writes about redemption, what he would have had in mind was the slave-market analogy whereby someone buys a slave their freedom but also how God rescued Israel from slavery in Egypt. (For a very detailed exposition on redemption from NT Wright visit here, if you dare!)

Redemption comes through the cross of Jesus. The cross was a symbol of Roman Power. Romans spoke of crucifixion with horror, seeing it as the cruelest and most disgusting of penalties. One writer, Cicero, wrote, “Let the very name of the cross be far away not only from the body of a Roman citizen, but even from his thoughts, his eyes, his ears” (Cicero Pro Rabirio 5). Paul saw the cross differently:

For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God 1 Corinthians 1:18

John Stott wrote that, “There is then… no Christianity without the cross. If the cross is not central to our religion, ours is not the religion of Jesus”. 

The Cross was the final victory over the powers of sin, oppression and death. On the cross Jesus identifies with us in our suffering, in our pain, and in our death. On the cross Jesus bought your freedom with his blood.

“Our task as image-bearing, God-loving, Christ-shaped, Spirit-filled Christians, following Christ and shaping our world, is to announce redemption to a world that has discovered its fallenness, to announce healing to a world that has discovered its brokenness, to proclaim love and trust to a world that knows only exploitation, fear and suspicion…

The gospel of Jesus points us and indeed urges us to be at the leading edge of the whole culture, articulating in story and music and art and philosophy and education and poetry and politics and theology and even–heaven help us–Biblical studies, a worldview that will mount the historically-rooted Christian challenge to both modernity and postmodernity, leading the way…with joy and humor and gentleness and good judgment and true wisdom. I believe if we face the question, “if not now, then when?” if we are grasped by this vision we may also hear the question, “if not us, then who?” And if the gospel of Jesus is not the key to this task, then what is?”
N.T. Wright, The Challenge of Jesus: Rediscovering Who Jesus Was and Is

Where do you want to see redemption?

Today, How will you announce redemption to the world around you?




Skip to the end… Read Revelation 21:1-5

Then I saw ‘a new heaven and a new earth,’ for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and there was no longer any sea. I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, ‘Look! God’s dwelling-place is now among the people, and he will dwell with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. “He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death” or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.’

He who was seated on the throne said, ‘I am making everything new!’ 

The Renewal of all things. That’s how the story ends. The bible starts and ends on earth. It does not end in heaven! The world is not abandoned. But renewed. The everything that is reconciled is the same everything that was made.

The good news is that God has entered the world in Jesus Christ to achieve a salvation that we could not achieve for ourselves which now converts and transforms individuals, forming them into a new humanity.

1. The gospel is the good news of a New Relationship. Jesus lived the life we should live. He also paid the penalty we owe for the rebellious life we do live. He did this in our place (Isaiah 53:4-10; 2 Cor 5:21; Mark 10:45) to restore our relationship to God the Father. We are not reconciled to God through our efforts, as in all other religions, but through his effort.

2. The gospel is the good news of a New Life. Paul wrote to those following Jesus, those who recognised him as Lord, your life is hid with Christ in God(Col 3:3). His life comes into us by the Spirit and shapes us into a new kind of person. The gospel is not just a truth about us that we affirm with our minds, it is also a reality we must experience in our hearts and souls.

New heart. New mind. New life

3. The gospel is the good news of the new world coming. The plot-line of the Bible is:

1) Creation: God created the world,
2) Crisis/Fall: The world and humanity fell into sin and decay,
3) Redemption: God sends his Son to redeem the world and create a new humanity
4) Renewal: Eventually the whole world will be renewed. Death, decay, injustice, and suffering will be all removed.

The gospel then is not just about our individual happiness and fulfillment. It is not just a wonderful plan for my lifebut a wonderful plan for the whole world. It is about the coming of Gods kingdom to renew… 



The Renewal of all things has already begun. In Jesus, the Kingdom (God’s rule and reign) has already come. It is near and present. Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. – 2 Corinthians 4:16

The Kingdom is also still to come, it is delayed and future. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain. When we pray “your kingdom come” we are praying for something of the future reality of the kingdom to break into the here and now, on earth as in heaven.

Which area of your life do you need to be made new?

Where do you want God’s kingdom to come?

Today, how will you join with God in the renewal of all things?




Read Acts 1:1-8

In my former book, Theophilus, I wrote about all that Jesus began to do and to teach until the day he was taken up to heaven, after giving instructions through the Holy Spirit to the apostles he had chosen. After his suffering, he presented himself to them and gave many convincing proofs that he was alive. He appeared to them over a period of forty days and spoke about the kingdom of God. On one occasion, while he was eating with them, he gave them this command: ‘Do not leave Jerusalem, but wait for the gift my Father promised, which you have heard me speak about. For John baptised with water, but in a few days you will be baptised with the Holy Spirit.’

Then they gathered round him and asked him, ‘Lord, are you at this time going to restore the kingdom to Israel?’

He said to them: ‘It is not for you to know the times or dates the Father has set by his own authority. But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.’

The book of acts is often called the Acts of the Apostles but it is really about the Acts of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is mentioned 96 times in the New Testament, four times in Mark, five times in Matthew and John, 13 times in Luke and 42 times in Acts! The central figure in the Book of Acts is the Holy Spirit. He takes the lead role. As people discover the Holy Spirit and allow the Holy Spirit to take the lead role in their own lives and the lead role in their churches, the church became irresistible.

An Irresistible Church is a church that is characterized by the presence of God, His Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit makes a church irresistible and a place of power. People notice something different about the people who make up that kind of church. A powerful Church should make a difference in the community in which it is placed and to whom it serves. These kind of people don’t sit back and wait for people to come to them. They go. They are sent out into their city. Into their community to show what it means to follow Jesus.

The same power that dwelt in Jesus, dwells in us. He sent his disciples. He sent his Holy Spirit to empower us. You have been sent. You have authority and power to proclaim and demonstrate the gospel. In Acts 2:1-4 we read that: When the day of Pentecost came, they were all together in one place.  Suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting.  They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them.  All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them. 

Michael Green comments that “These poor, uneducated individuals of different nations and backgrounds, constituted the temple of God as they met for worship. They were the place where his Spirit was encountered”  The early church was the place in which God’s presence could be known in the whole world. 

Today, be filled with the Holy Spirit. Encounter Him. Let Him empower and equip you to be a witness: To go, speak and act as a follower of Jesus.

Holy Spirit


Read John 14:12-26

12 Very truly I tell you, whoever believes in me will do the works I have been doing, and they will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father.13 And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. 14 You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it.

15 ‘If you love me, keep my commands. 16 And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another advocate to help you and be with you for ever – 17 the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you. 18 I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you. 19 Before long, the world will not see me any more, but you will see me. Because I live, you also will live. 20 On that day you will realise that I am in my Father, and you are in me, and I am in you. 21 Whoever has my commands and keeps them is the one who loves me. The one who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I too will love them and show myself to them.’

22 Then Judas (not Judas Iscariot) said, ‘But, Lord, why do you intend to show yourself to us and not to the world?’

23 Jesus replied, ‘Anyone who loves me will obey my teaching. My Father will love them, and we will come to them and make our home with them. 24 Anyone who does not love me will not obey my teaching. These words you hear are not my own; they belong to the Father who sent me.

25 ‘All this I have spoken while still with you. 26 But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you.

The Holy Spirit is essential for your life as you follow Jesus.

The Holy Spirit was present with the people of Israel. They were people of the presence.  Yet again and again they reject the presence of God and forget the purpose to which God had rescued them. The people of the presence become the people of exile again as they are beaten and captured by different nations. God leaves them to the gods they have chased after. But he leaves them with a promise: I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you will be clean; I will cleanse you from all your impurities and from all your idols. I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh. And I will put my Spirit in you and move you to follow my decrees and be careful to keep my laws. -Ezekiel 36:25-30

For I will pour water on the thirsty land, and streams on the dry ground; 
I will pour out my Spirit on your offspring, and my blessing on your descendants.-Isaiah 44:3

There is a promise of a new thing, “I will pour out my spirit on all people.” Joel 2

The Holy Spirit was present in the life of Jesus: In the first 2 chapters of the book of Luke there is suddenly a great activity of the Spirit filling a few people. Then Jesus comes, Immanuel, “God with us”. And at his Baptism heaven is ripped open and the Holy Spirit, God’s divine presence fills him and anoints him. Jesus spoke about the good news of the Kingdom of God. He spoke a message of liberation and freedom. And he demonstrated his message with action. Jesus did things that showed people what the Kingdom of God was like. He said,

‘The Spirit of the Lord is on me,
because he has anointed me
to proclaim good news to the poor.
He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners
and recovery of sight for the blind,
to set the oppressed free,
to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favour.’ -Luke 4:18-19

Jesus’ ministry did not start until the divine Holy Spirit had filled him. The Spirit empowered Jesus to fulfill his ministry as he released those who were oppressed by evil. (Luke 4:14-21) Jesus promised power to enable his followers to do the same things he had been doing.

You are witnesses of these things. I am going to send you what my Father has promised; but stay in the city until you have been clothed with power from on high.” Luke 24:48-49. The apostle John records how Jesus breathed on his disciples and said “receive the Holy Spirit“. Jn 20:21-23

The Holy Spirit present in the life of you: on the day of Pentecost, the followers of Jesus were filled with  the Holy Spirit…

When the day of Pentecost came, they were all together in one place.  Suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting.  They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them.  All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them. Acts 2:1-4

The Holy Spirt came for one reason: to equip and empower God’s people to continue the mission of Jesus. 

“The spirit is given to begin the work of making God’s future real in the present”       -Tom Wright.

Billy Graham once commented: “Everywhere I go I find that God’s people lack something. They are hungry for something. Their Christian experience is not all they expected and they often have recurring defeat in their lives. Christians today are hungry for spiritual fulfilment. The most desperate need of the nation today is that men and women who profess Jesus be filled with the Holy Spirit.”

In 2010 the Lausanne Congress met in Cape Town, four thousand church leaders representing 198 countries, they issued this Statement: We love the Holy Spirit within the unity of the Trinity, along with God the Father and God the Son. He is the missionary Spirit sent by the missionary Father and the missionary Son, breathing life and power into God’s missionary Church. We love and pray for the presence of the Holy Spirit because without the witness of the Spirit to Christ, our own witness is futile. Without the convicting work of the Spirit, our preaching is in vain. Without the gifts, guidance and power of the Spirit, our mission is mere human effort. And without the fruit of the Spirit, our unattractive lives cannot reflect the beauty of the gospel…

“Our engagement in mission, then, is pointless and fruitless without the presence, guidance and power of the Holy Spirit. This is true of mission in all its dimensions: evangelism, bearing witness to the truth, discipling, peace-making, social engagement, ethical transformation, caring for creation, overcoming evil powers, casting out demonic spirits, healing the sick, suffering and enduring under persecution. All we do in the name of Christ must be led and empowered by the Holy Spirit. The New Testament makes this clear in the life of the early Church and the teaching of the apostles.” 

Today, be filled with the Holy Spirit?

Today, be prepared to go where the Spirit leads you?

Today, pray ‘Come, Holy Spirit…’ then see what happens…




Read Mark 11:1-11

11 As they approached Jerusalem and came to Bethphage and Bethany at the Mount of Olives, Jesus sent two of his disciples, saying to them, ‘Go to the village ahead of you, and just as you enter it, you will find a colt tied there, which no one has ever ridden. Untie it and bring it here. If anyone asks you, “Why are you doing this?” say, “The Lord needs it and will send it back here shortly.”’

They went and found a colt outside in the street, tied at a doorway. As they untied it, some people standing there asked, ‘What are you doing, untying that colt?’ They answered as Jesus had told them to, and the people let them go.When they brought the colt to Jesus and threw their cloaks over it, he sat on it.Many people spread their cloaks on the road, while others spread branches they had cut in the fields. Those who went ahead and those who followed shouted,


‘Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!’

10 ‘Blessed is the coming kingdom of our father David!’

‘Hosanna in the highest heaven!’

11 Jesus entered Jerusalem and went into the temple courts. He looked around at everything, but since it was already late, he went out to Bethany with the Twelve.

Jesus was no longer elusive. Jesus was no longer avoided the crowds. Any ambiguity disappeared on the day Jesus rode into Jerusalem on a donkey. Having walked from Galilee he had no real need of a donkey. Jesus orchestrates a grand entrance, a piece of prophetic theatre, at last the King was moving on the capital. The King was coming home. God’s presence was returning to the temple. His righteousness and salvation was at last coming being fulfilled but not how the people expected.

Rejoice greatly, Daughter Zion!
    Shout, Daughter Jerusalem!
See, your king comes to you,
    righteous and victorious,
lowly and riding on a donkey,
    on a colt, the foal of a donkey. Zechariah 9:9

Israel’s messiah has returned. The street choir shout “Hosanna”, “Save Us”.

Lord, save us!
    Lord, grant us success!

Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.
    From the house of the Lord we bless you. – Psalm 118:25-26

Jesus confounds expectations… 

He enters with the song of thanksgiving in his ears. You can feel the excitement. However, Excitement turns to an anticlimax. Mark builds our expectations that now Jesus will do what he was sent for. Then there’s an anticlimax. He goes to the temple but its late so he looks around and leaves. What? Excuse me? That’s not right! Jesus is not a tourist, He is the returning king inspecting the temple to judge it not to restore it.

The crowd shout Nationalistic slogans about the restoration of the power and glory of the Davidic kingdom. The crowd have heard about Lazarus. They want to see more. “Could this be the one? Is this the Messiah? Are we about to rise up against the Romans?” Each year they celebrated their national independence by celebrating Passover. But now they were under the dominion of the Romans. The crowd are celebrating the anniversary of their national independence at a time when they’re no longer independent but occupied by the Romans

Then comes Jesus riding in on a donkey, visibly fulfilling ancient Jewish prophecies about the coming kingdom of God. By riding into town on a donkey as the people waved palm branches and shouted Hosanna, Jesus was throwing  petrol onto the fire of an already tense situation.



John the Baptist had had expectations of Jesus. They were similar to the popular view. He had thought Jesus was the one, but was he? He had to know. Perhaps John expected God’s Kingdom to come with violence and power, humiliating the Romans, toppling Herod’s throne, and exalting the nation of Israel to national greatness. The people of Jesus’ generation couldn’t imagine God’s kingdom coming without a sword in their hands drenched with Roman blood?


The disciples expectation of the king was to eliminate the enemy to resuscitate the ancient glory of Israel. These hopes and expectations come crashing down as the king surrenders without a fight, a tame, timid king. In less than a week their ‘Messiah’ will be lead out of the city to suffer and die, extinguishing nationalistic hope. Disillusioned, resentful. They expected to reign with their Messiah on thrones made just for them. Yet they scattered, their ecstasy in the entrance of the king would become grief and sorrow at the entrapment of their king. He journeyed westward towards the setting sun as he entered Jerusalem, in 5 days time he will continue his journey westward out of the city, as a defeated captive, to Golgotha where he will be executed. And then the sun will set. Extinguished.

Jesus expected open confrontation with the religious leaders. He truly expected to suffer and die. The religious leaders were expecting him, (see John 11: 55-57) and gave orders that if he was seen they should be told so that they could eliminate this man.



Next week we celebrate Easter. Easter is not really about the death of Jesus it’s about the king who won the ultimate victory. The crowd and the disciples were right. The Messiah’s Kingdom would be greater than David’s Kingdom. He had come to establish an eternal kingdom. He won the ultimate victory to establish a kingdom that was more powerful than the Davidic monarchy and more far reaching than the Roman Empire. The crowd and especially the disciples did not understand his mission or purpose. Jesus established a kingdom that you and I are a part of. When we become followers of Jesus we enter into an eternal kingdom. And we live out this life in the mystery of both the ‘Now’ and ‘Not-Yet’ of the Kingdom.

What are your expectations of your king? Do you have wrong expectations of your king? 

Are you prepared to expect the unexpected? Do you expect to see the Kingdom Come?



Read Matthew 16:15-20

15 ‘But what about you?’ he asked. ‘Who do you say I am?’

16 Simon Peter answered, ‘You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.’

17 Jesus replied, ‘Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah, for this was not revealed to you by flesh and blood, but by my Father in heaven. 18 And I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it. 

Jesus was a builder. A Tekton. He built stuff. When He talks about building a church, what did he have in mind?

The word Jesus uses for church is Ekklesia – meaning  a people called out, a gathering or a congregation. A gathering of people who are part of a movement. Part of what God is doing to change everything. People who will join with Him in the renewal of all things. Who will be outposts of the Kingdom: A gathering of people for a specific purpose. A Kingdom Community

Ekklesia was never a building or a place but a gathering of people for a reason, a purpose. People united by a common identity and purpose.

When Constantine in Ad313 made Christianity fashionable. It became the state religion. Christian worship became formal and hierachical. The priests were now in charge and the congregation became spectators. The Ekklesia soon stopped being a movement and settled in particular locations. Church became a place, a location, a building. The Romans called these buildings basilicas, goths called them Kirika, which became “die kirche” in modern german, which became church in english.

So when we read that Jesus will build his church, we should read that he would build a purposeful gathering of people not a building. The purpose of any church is to make disciples. To live life as God intended it to be lived.

So do you belong to an  Ekklsia – a gathering of people with a mission and purpose or do you simply go to church?

Our vocation as ‘church’ is to be agents of God’s Kingdom bringing restoration to the world, assaulting and removing evil wherever we find it.What is your role in this? Or are you leaving it to others?

Today, pray “Your Kingdom Come, Your Will be done” and then look for ways to be bring the Kingdom, and do ‘God’s Will’ in the world around you.



Read Luke 9:1-6 & Luke 10:1-3

1 When Jesus had called the Twelve together, he gave them power and authority to drive out all demons and to cure diseases, and he sent them out to proclaim the kingdom of God and to heal those who were ill. He told them: ‘Take nothing for the journey – no staff, no bag, no bread, no money, no extra shirt. Whatever house you enter, stay there until you leave that town. If people do not welcome you, leave their town and shake the dust off your feet as a testimony against them.’ So they set out and went from village to village, proclaiming the good news and healing people everywhere.

After this the Lord appointed seventy-two others and sent them two by two ahead of him to every town and place where he was about to go. He told them,‘The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field. Go! I am sending you out like lambs among wolves.

Jesus made disciples. Disciples are really apprentices. learning from the Master how to do what they do and become like what they are.

Check out the following from Dallas Willard, “Being a disciple or apprentice of Jesus is a definite and obvious kind of thing. To make a mystery of it is to misunderstand it. There is no good reason why people should ever be in doubt as to whether they themselves are his students or not… to be a disciple in any area or relationship is not to be perfect. One can be a very raw and incompetent beginner and still be a disciple.”


“A disciple or apprentice, then, is simply someone who has decided to be with another person, under appropriate conditions, in order to become capable of doing what that person does or to become what that person is.”    -Dallas Willard

“How does this apply to discipleship to Jesus? What is it, exactly, that he, the incarnate Lord, does? What, if you wish, is he “good at”? The answer is found in the Gospels: he lives in the kingdom of God, and he applies that kingdom for the good of others and even makes it possible for them to enter it themselves. The deeper theological truths about his person and his work do not detract from this simple point. It is what he calls us to by saying, “Follow me.””

For more on this visit here. Or to hear a previous talk on “Being Equipped for Life” from our VALUES series visit here.


Have you heard the call to follow?

The call to follow is a call to go. to be sent out into the world as an Apprentice of Jesus to do what he does to become more like him. To “learn from Jesus to live my life as he would live life if he were I.” To do things as he would do them. Today where have you been sent? How will you proclaim the Kingdom of God? 

After Easter, at Coventry Vineyard we are looking at what it means to live life like Jesus in our new series: FOLLOW. Be sure to check back here or visit us at our Sunday Morning Gathering.