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  • You are here: Blogs Directory / Education / Eric Rajaniemi's Blog: James 1:22; Romans 1:20 Welcome Guest
    Eric Rajaniemi's Blog: James 1:22; Romans 1:20
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    Mon, Dec 28th - 9:54PM


    "And, behold, two of them went that same day to a village called Emmaus, which was about sixty furlongs from Jerusalem. And they talked together of all these things which had happened. And it came to pass, that, while they conversed and reasoned with one another, Jesus Himself came near, and went with them. But their eyes were deceived so that they should not know Him. And He said to them, What sort of conversation is this that you are having with one another, as you are walking, that makes you sad? And one of them, whose name was Cleopas, said to Him, Are you only a stranger in Jerusalem, and have not known the things which are come to pass there in these days? And He said to them, What things? And they replied to Him, Concerning Jesus of Nazareth, which was a prophet mighty in deed and word before God and all the people: And how the chief priests and our rulers delivered Him to be condemned to death, and have crucified Him. But we trusted that it had been he which should have redeemed Israel: and beside all of this, to day is the third day since these things were done. Yes, and certain women also of our company made us astonished, which were at the sepulchre early in the day; and when they did not find His body, they came, saying, that they had also seen a vision of angels, which said that He was alive. And certain of those who were with us went to the sepulchre, and found it even as the women had said, but Him they did not see there. Then Jesus said to them, O fools, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken; shouldn't have Christ suffered these things, and to enter into His glory? And beginning at Moses and all of the prophets, He expounded to them in all the scriptures the things concerning Himself. And they came near to the village, where they went;  and He made as though He would have traveled further. But they constrained Him, saying, Remain with us; for it is toward evening, and the day is almost over. And He went in to be with them. And it came to pass, as He sat at meal with them, He took bread, and blessed it, and broke it, and gave some to them. And their eyes were opened, and they knew Him; and He vanished from their sight. And they said to one another, Did not our heart burn within us, while He talked with us by the roadside, and while He opened to us the scriptures? And they got up the same hour, and went back to Jerusalem, and found the eleven gathered together, and them that were with them, and said, The Lord is risen indeed, and has appeared to Simon. And they told what things were done along the road, and how He was known of them in breaking of bread (luke 24:13-35).'

     On the road to Emmaus, two men are walking and talking. They are sad, despairing, and very thoughtful as they reviewed all of the things that just happened over the previous three plus days.  They are feeling hopeless.  This was still Sunday, the first day of the week, when these two men decided that they were going to walk to Emmaus. This village was about seven miles away from Jerusalem, which would have taken them around two hours to walk.  As they walk they are so involved in conversation that they do not even notice Jesus coming alongside them and joining them as they walk. Jesus was able to affect their vision so that they could not tell who He was. Obviously He wished them to speak freely, to express their fears and concerns about what had just happened to Him.  Notice that Jesus asked them questions.  "What are you talking about as you walk to Emmaus?"  Cleopas is flabbergasted.  How can he not know what has just transpired in Jerusalem!  These two men were seeking to know the truth about the recent events, and here was Jesus walking right next to them!  Next question: "What events?" The two men proceed to inform Jesus of what has happened. Even today, world events  and terrible things that happen in our lives cause us so much sadness and anxiety that we fail to see the truth. Jesus still wants each of us to share our problems. Christ is concerned, He wants us to tell Him what causes us sadness and despair. 

     One reason people refuse to accept the reality of a risen Lord is that it means they have been purchased, they are no longer their own person.  It means that they fall under the authority of Jesus and must submit themselves to Christ and obey and serve Him. Everyone should be engrossed in the death of Christ Jesus, but they should also believe and be engrossed in the resurrection of Christ Jesus. 

     The third question Christ asked was, "Did not the prophets predict Messiah's death and resurrection?"  Jesus rebuked these two disciples dullness and slowness to believe what He had taught them. They should have known more than they were indicating. They were without excuse for they had been given truth prior to the shocking events. Jesus shared again the necessity of the death and resurrection of the Messiah. The words He chose are indicative that there was a constraint, an imperative, a necessity laid upon the Messiah to die and arise. He had no choice. It was an appointed thing planned and willed by God the Father through all eternity. Christ then proceeded to reveal to them how the scriptures spoke about Him through the words of the prophets. Before this encounter the two disciples were obviously not literally taking Jesus' words as being truthful and accurate.  They had tried to reinterpret them into something else.  We must not fall into the exact same trap today. They were willing to accept and admire a dead Savior, a great prophet and teacher, but they could not bring themselves to accept a risen Lord and Redeemer.  People today are more than willing to believe that Jesus was a great prophet and teacher, but not that He is a risen Lord and Redeemer. 

     So Jesus chose to open up the old scriptures to them and teach them yet again how they all spoke about Him. They were captivated by His words, and invited Him to join them in Emmaus. We must take note of the process illustrated here.  These two men invited Christ to come stay with them. They then heard Christ's words. They then experienced the breaking of bread with Christ present. Their "blindness" was immediately lifted from their eyes and they recognized Christ. Christ did not remain with them but disappeared into thin air. This was proclaiming the immortal witness. It was already dark outside, yet these two men quickly decided to hurry back to Jerusalem to share their experience with the other believers. 

    How quick are we to reverse our travels in order to share our witness with others? Do we hesitate? Do we even consider turning around?  Sometimes I wonder about this. How foolish are we in our reading and understanding of God's Word?  Do we accept the truth as it is clearly presented, or do we attempt to spiritualize it, alter it into something we can grasp with our limited minds? This is something else that I struggle to comprehend.  


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    Sat, Dec 26th - 12:22PM


    "Now upon the first day of the week, very early in the morning, they came to the sepulchre, bringing the spices which they had prepared, and certain others with them. And they found the stone rolled away from the sepulchre. And they entered in, and did not find the body of the Lord Jesus. And it came to pass, as they were much perplexed about this, behold, two men stood by them in shining garments: And as they were afraid, and bowed down with their faces to the ground, they said to them, Why do you seek the living among the dead? He is not here, but is risen: remember how He spoke to you when he was yet in Galilee, Saying, The Son of man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men, and be crucified, and the third day rise again. And they remembered His words, and returned from the sepulchre, and told all these things to the eleven, and to all of the rest. It was Mary Magdalene, and Joanna, and Mary the mother of James, and other women that were with them, which told these things to the apostles. And their words, seemed to them as idle tales, and they did not believe them. Then Peter arose, and ran to the sepulchre; and stooping down, he beheld the linen clothes laid by themselves, and departed, wondering to himself at that which was come to pass (Luke 24:1-12)."

     THE TOMB WAS EMPTY!!!  There was no body within it to be found!  The great stone closing the entrance was rolled away!  What in the world happened here?  Discovering the empty tomb was the greatest discovery in the history of humanity! But the greater tragedy is that most people either are not aware that Jesus arose from death or do not believe that He arose from the dead.  Each person must discover the fact for themselves.  

     Luke very clearly identifies when Jesus arose: "Upon the first day of the week, very early in the morning." Jesus arose before sunrise on Sunday morning.  This was significant to the early believers, so much so that they left the common day of worship (Saturday) the Sabbath. They began to observe the day of Christ's resurrection from the dead instead of the Sabbath Day, something that put them at odds with the orthodox Jewish leadership. Since He had gone into the grave on Friday and arose on Sunday He had been in the grave for three days.  Having been in the tomb on the Sabbath He was unable to observe the laws governing the great season of the Passover and the Sabbath. He was dead; therefore, the law and its observances had no authority over Him. It is symbolic of the identification believers gain in Christ.  When a person believes in Jesus Christ, God identifies that person with Christ Jesus, in particular with the death of Christ.  God counts that person as having died with Christ.  So, in Christ's death believers become dead to the law (Romans 7:4; Matthew 5:17-18). 

     When it comes to the resurrection of Christ we have actual witnesses of Jesus' death and burial becoming the witnesses of His resurrection. They knew He was dead, and they knew exactly where He had been buried. There was no confusion in their minds concerning these events. We are informed that they had bought spices and were bringing them to the tomb in order to anoint His body with them.  They could have purchased these spices Saturday evening after the sun set and the Sabbath was over.  In this action they demonstrated that they were adhering to the strict letter of the Law. They strictly observed the Sabbath Day, doing no work. The Messiah had died and yet they refused to break the Sabbath for Him. These women were obedient to the commandments of God; they were moral and truthful and would never think about lying about the death and resurrection of Christ Jesus. 

     The women arrived at the tomb and were confronted with the rolled away stone.  We are told that they were perplexed.  You think!?! The stone was rolled away for the benefit of the witnesses to His resurrection, not so that Jesus could get out of the tomb. In resurrection Jesus was in His glorified body, the heavenly body of the spiritual dimension. We must remember that the spiritual dimension has no physical boundaries. The women see the tomb is open, go in, and discover that Christ's body is gone.  All that remains in the tomb are the linen clothes, that had wrapped Christ's body, set to one side by themselves.  Now for the really unnerving part; two shining men dressed in white linens appear suddenly by them in the tomb. They are angels sent by God. The shining is described as like lightning.  I imagine the women were forced to put their hands up as they looked upon the two angels. The women are scared to death and give obeisance to these two individuals. But the angels simply ask why they are looking for the living among the dead.  See, the women came looking for a dead Savior, a deceased Messiah. They were still living as the world lives: strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope, and without God. The women are informed that Christ is no longer here!  He is risen! Should they believe these words?  Heaven had witnessed that He lives (Hebrews 7:8), Scripture witnesses that he arose (Romans 1:4, Ephesians 1:19-20), and He had foretold that He would arise (Luke 9:22, 13:32, 17:25, 18:31-34). The angels reminded the women of what Jesus had said about His death, burial, and resurrection. They observe all of these things and then decide to run back to tell all of the other believers assembled together in town.  None believe what they tell them, but Peter decides to go to the tomb and check it all out in person.

     Peter despite his unbelief of what the women had told him still felt compelled to go to the tomb and look. We are not told that Peter grasped the significance of the clothes left in the tomb with no body.  John said in his gospel account of this event that Peter departed wondering what had actually happened.  John believed what he saw.  He understood what he saw. The problem that had plagued all of the disciples was a failure to grasp and take Christ's Word at face value.  Spiritualizing His words, unless the words are clearly symbolic, often leads to serious unbelief and problems. It was true back then, and it continues to hold true today.  Each person must run to the empty tomb of Christ to see what really did happen.  One can't assume that someone came and stole His body and then hid it.  One can't assume that the Roman guards would have allowed such a thing to happen.  One can't assume that the Sanhedrin took the body, for if they had they would have exposed it in order to stop the spread of Christianity. 

     Just as each person must go to the manger to see for themselves the newborn Savior of mankind and go to the foot of the cross to witness Christ paying the sin-debt for them, each person must run to the empty tomb to find that Christ has risen indeed!  It is a matter of belief.


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    Wed, Dec 23rd - 5:26PM


    "And, behold, there was a man named Joseph, a counsellor; and was a good and just man:  (The same had not consented to the counsel and deed of them;) he was of Arimathaea, a city of the Jews: who also himself waited for the kingdom of God. This man went to Pilate, and begged the body of Jesus. And he took it down, and wrapped it in linen, and laid it in a sepulcher that was hewn in stone, wherein no person had ever been laid. And that day was the preparation, and the Sabbath drew near. And the women also, which came with Him from Galilee, followed after, and beheld the sepulcher, and how His body was laid. And they returned, and prepared spices and ointments; and rested the Sabbath day according to the commandment (Luke 23:50-56)." 

       Here we discover a secret believer in Christ Jesus.  A secret believer is a tragedy for in a sense he is the tragedy of tragedies, for he fails to confess Jesus publicly. Joseph of Arimathaea was just such a person until the death of Christ on that wooden cross. But Christ's crucifixion changed everything for him. We see that all of a sudden Joseph steps forward and goes before Pilate to beg for the body of Christ, in order to bury Him properly. 
       This man, we are told, was a member of the Sanhedrin since he was a counsellor.  This logically meant that he was highly educated, responsible, highly esteemed, and capable of leadership.  As these scriptures point out to us, he was a good and just man. He had high morals, compassion, a sense of justice, truth, and law. But being a member of the ruling elite Joseph chose to hide his belief that Jesus was the Messiah to avoid chastisement and ridicule from the other members of the Sanhedrin.  He was a voice of moderation in their joint councils when they decided to take Jesus and do away with Him. But can you put yourself in his shoes?  He is stuck between a rock and a hard place.  He can't in good faith deny who Jesus Christ was, but yet he can't bring himself to publicly declare his personal belief that Jesus was the long awaited Messiah of the Jewish people.  He was sitting on the proverbial fence, unwilling to pick either side to step down upon.  However, Christ was crucified and Joseph's fear evaporated. Not only was he no longer afraid of the reaction of the Sanhedrin, he was not afraid of Pilate's potential reaction to his request for Christ's body.  The cross seems to be what liberated Joseph from his fear, that and the phenomenal events surrounding the cross (the behavior and words of Jesus, the darkness, the earthquake, the torn veil, the dead spirits rising from their graves across the city, etc.). Joseph obviously mentally connected all of the dots and chose to trust in Christ. What boldness, what courage! 
       Occupation, position, money, power, fame---none of these things can make us bold for Christ.  Only true trust in Jesus, loving Jesus, will make us bold and courageous in our living a life of faith. Only as we see the cross of Christ will true affection for Christ Jesus be aroused within our hearts.  Joseph's position did not make him bold for Christ.  His education did not make him bold for Christ. His occupation and power did not make him bold and courageous for Christ.  
       Finally, we must recognize that not only did the cross of Christ Jesus arouse the boldness in Joseph of Arimathaea, but the women who had been closely associated with Jesus were moved to action by the cross. These women demonstrated a deep affection for Christ.  They went and bought spices and ointments to properly embalm His body. They did not yet understand His resurrection so they adhered to their traditional way of preparing a body for burial.  It is also clearly seen that all of these preparations were being accomplished the day leading into the Sabbath, a day when no labor was permitted.  Tradition was being observed by all, Old Testament prophecies were being noticed and fulfilled even as Christ was laid to rest in a borrowed tomb. 
       The testimony of Joseph and these women should stir the hearts of all people to stand up for Christ. Men ought to be loyal to Christ, no matter how great the danger may be.  They ought to love Christ to such an extent that they give all they are and have to Christ. They ought to seek to understand and grasp the resurrection of Christ in all of its fullness.

    I hope and pray that all of you have been preparing your hearts and minds this Advent season.  We are now mere hours away from observing Christ's birth. May each of you experience a most blessed Christmas Eve and Day! 


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    About Me

    Name: Eric Rajaniemi
    ChristiansUnite ID: ejroyal
    Member Since: 2007-09-08
    Location: Bedford, Virginia, United States
    Denomination: Born-again, Church of the Brethren
    About Me: I refrain from any denomination as much as possible since my faith has to do with Jesus Christ and not denominations. My wife and I are charter members of Lake Side Church of the Brethren for they desire to follow the New Testament precepts. I ... more

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