Sword, awake against My shepherd, against the man who is My associate – this is the declaration of the Lord of Hosts. Strike the shepherd, and the sheep will be scattered, I will also turn My hand against the little ones. Zechariah 13:7 HCSB
Sheep are dependent on their shepherd to show them where to go and what to do. The shepherd helps the sheep find food and water. If a shepherd were to desert his sheep, the sheep would wander the hillside looking for food and water. Many would scatter in different directions.
This verse was quoted by Jesus when the Roman soldiers came to arrest Him in the garden (see Matthew 26:31-32). He knew that His disciples would desert Him. Jesus was pointing out that He was the fulfillment to the Scriptures of the promised Messiah. When Jesus was arrested, the disciples scattered and ran in fear that they would also be arrested. Some followed in the distance to see what was going to happen to Him.
Challenge: Which character in the story would you most relate to? Would you see yourself as one of the disciples who ran and did not even follow to see what was going to happen to Jesus? Or would you see yourself as one of the disciples who did not completely desert Jesus but followed in the distance? We all are guilty of deserting and denying our Lord at times in our lives. Regardless, Jesus continues to love and care for us. Jesus is the perfect Shepherd who laid down His life for His sheep, His disciples. As believers we are His sheep. Thank Him for dying for you and for being your perfect Shepherd who is constantly watching over you and caring for you.
On that day every prophet will be ashamed of his vision when he prophesies; they will not put on a hairy cloak in order to deceive. Zechariah 13:4 HCSB
Many of the commercials on television are deceptive. These commercials often make a person think that he must have a specific product to look beautiful or handsome, to be popular, or to attract the opposite sex. One battery company claimed that their batteries were advanced and lasted longer, but the reality is they did not last any longer than other alkaline batteries. A baby formula claimed to improve brain and eye development, but in reality it did not. A body lotion claimed to reduce body size. Who would fall for such misleading advertising?
We live in a world where there are many false claims and promises. In the end times there will be many false prophets that will deceive God’s people and lead them astray. When God’s new kingdom is established, these false prophets will be ashamed of what they have done. The hairy cloak was the traditional dress of a prophet. (see 2 Kings 1:8). In the past, false prophets would dress like a prophet in an attempt to deceive God’s people. We can be assured that in the end times when He establishes His new heaven and earth, God will put an end to all false prophets.
Challenge: Do not be deceived. Be careful what you believe and test everything you hear against the Word of God. Pray for godly wisdom and discernment.
On that day – this is the declaration of the Lord of Hosts – “I will erase the names of the idols from the land, and they will no longer be remembered. I will remove the prophets and the unclean spirit from the land.” Zechariah 13:2 HCSB
When I take my shirts to the cleaners I always request that they treat the collars and the cuffs. That is where my shirts seem to get the dirtiest. The cleaners will then add a little extra cleaning power to those areas of my shirts to make sure they are clean. At times I will have a spot on my shirt where I spilled something while eating. Again, I call attention to that spot and ask the cleaners to treat it. They usually want to know what the stain is, so they can properly remove it.
This verse is a description of the end times when God will establish His kingdom. All evil and false gods will be removed. In the end times there will be false prophets who will spread an unclean spirit throughout the land, but God will someday cleanse the world of every false prophet and every unclean spirit.
Challenge: Pray that God will come quickly to remove all sin and to establish His new heaven and new earth. Ask Him to cleanse your heart of any idols or false gods. Pray that God will cleanse you of all evil and give you a heart for those who are unbelievers.
“On that day a fountain will be opened for the house of David and for the residents of Jerusalem, to wash away sin and impurity.” Zechariah 13:1 HCSB
The human body is made up of approximately 60 percent water. Typically a person can go no longer than three days without water. Water is essential to life. That is the reason space exploration has always focused on trying to find water on other planets. Without water, life can not be sustained.
This verse references the final days on earth as we know it. The picture of the fountain symbolizes the never-ending flow of God’s love and mercy for His people. In John 4 Jesus tells us that He is the living water and that it is only through Him that we can receive forgiveness and eternal life. We are all searching for purpose and meaning in life. Only Jesus gives us water to satisfy our thirsty souls. It is only through Christ that we can have abundant life.
Challenge: Are you spiritually thirsty? Do you need to accept God’s love and forgiveness? Drink from the fountain of living water. Ask Jesus to wash away your sins and give you His water that will forever quench your thirsty soul. Listen to the song “What Can Wash Away My Sins” on YouTube at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LRmMvseLBn8
Some of those who were with us went to the tomb and found it just as the women had said, but they didn’t see Him.” He said to them, “How unwise and slow you are to believe in your hearts all that the prophets have spoken! Didn’t the Messiah have to suffer these things and enter into His glory?” Luke 24:24-26 HCSB
The disciples knew that the tomb was empty but failed to realize that Jesus was alive. Despite the testimonies of the women, other disciples, and all of the biblical prophecies, they still did not believe that Jesus was alive. They did not understand that Jesus had to die. That was His path to glory that would provide the permanent deliverance of all of God’s children for eternity.
Jesus called them unwise and slow. After 2000 years we still have people who are confronted with the facts and truth of the Good News and resurrection of Jesus Christ but they choose not to believe. The two disciples in this story could not understand why Jesus had to die and wondered why God did not intervene and save Him from the cross. It was not until they personally encountered Jesus that they believed.
Challenge: We not only have the Old Testament stories and prophecies, we also have New Testament stories about Jesus that provide a detailed view describing how He rose from the dead. We can benefit from testimonies of the early Christians, yet people still choose to reject Jesus and His gift of forgiveness and eternal life. Don’t be foolish – believe that Jesus is the Son of God who came to die for your sins. Share the Good News of Jesus with someone today.
“What things?” He asked them. So they said to Him, “The things concerning Jesus the Nazarene, who was a Prophet powerful in action and speech before God and all the people, and how our chief priests and leaders handed Him over to be sentenced to death, and they crucified Him. But we were hoping that He was the One who was about to redeem Israel. Besides all this, it’s the third day since these things happened. Luke 24:19-21 HCSB
Have you ever felt like there was no hope? I had the privilege to attend the NCAA basketball Final Four tournament this year. Being from Kentucky, I was hoping for the University of Kentucky basketball team to go all the way. They had 40 wins without a loss. Things looked hopeful, but with only four minutes left in the game against the University of Wisconsin things did not go well for the Kentucky Wildcats. They could not seem to make any points while Wisconsin continued to score. With a minute left in the game it was obvious that Kentucky was going to lose the ballgame. All hope for a perfect season abruptly ended.
The two disciples on the road to Emmaus had great hopes. They believed that Jesus was the promised Messiah, but they were looking for an earthly king who would deliver them from their enemies. They believed that the prophecies in the Old Testament pointed to a military and political leader that would redeem Israel or rescue them from the Roman Empire. When Jesus died, they lost all hope. They did not understand that Jesus’ death brought the greatest deliverance of all time and brings the greatest hope possible.
Challenge: Thank God for the hope you have in Jesus Christ. Share the Good News and the Hope of Jesus Christ with your friends, work associates, relatives, and neighbors.
The one named Cleopas answered Him, “Are You the only visitor to Jerusalem who doesn’t know the things that happened there in these days?” Luke 24:18 HCSB
The name Cleopas appears twice in the Bible. Here in Luke and in John. John 19:25 records, “Standing by the cross of Jesus were His mother, His mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene.” Some think this is the same person but more than likely they are two different people. Notice the different spelling. Biblehub.com reports that “Cleopas is a Greek name, contracted from Cleopater, while Cleophas, or Clopas as in the Revised Version, is an Aramaic name, the same as Alphaeus.”
Who was the other disciple? The story of the two disciples traveling on the road to Emmaus is only recorded in Luke. It could be assumed that Luke is the other disciple but we cannot be certain. The other disciple could have been a close friend of Luke who shared the story with Luke.
The two disciples were followers of Jesus. They had traveled to Jerusalem with Jesus and now they were perplexed by the events of the last few days. They had hoped for an earthly Messiah but now their hopes and dreams were dashed. Jesus has been crucified. The events of the past few days took place during the time of Passover when many people would have traveled to Jerusalem for Passover. In God’s perfect time, the events of Jesus’ death and resurrection took place at a time when many would be in Jerusalem. These visitors would return to their homeland and share the Good News about Jesus. Jesus’s death and resurrection affected the whole world.
Challenge: Thank God for sending His Son to die for your sins and make it possible for you to have your sins forgiven and have eternal life in Heaven someday.
Then He asked them, “What is this dispute that you’re having with each other as you are walking?” And they stopped walking and looked discouraged. Luke 24:17 HCSB
I recently talked with a minister in another church who shared with me the difficulties his church was experiencing. Many people within the church were arguing and saying hateful things to and about other members of the church family, thus causing trouble and dissension within the fellowship of believers.
Luke 23:15 tells us that the two disciples of Jesus were discussing and arguing. This verse tells us that Jesus asked them about the dispute they were having. Obviously, the two had differing opinions about an issue. We are not sure exactly what led to their dispute. The two were confused about what had happened when Jesus was crucified. They were looking for an earthly deliverer who would save them from the Roman empire. They had just heard that Jesus was alive but they were doubtful that He could be alive. One may have believed He was alive while the other did not. We are not sure what the topic of discussion was, but we can be assured that God was and is in control today. Nothing happens without His permission.
Challenge: There is nothing wrong with having differing opinions and some healthy discussion about the issues facing us today, but Christians should always strive to live in peace with others. Pray that God would help you to argue for the right reasons and to be a peacemaker rather than a troublemaker.
Now that same day two of them were on their way to a village called Emmaus, which was about seven miles from Jerusalem. Together they were discussing everything that had taken place. And while they were discussing and singing, Jesus Himself came and began to walk along with them. They were prevented from recognizing Him. Luke 24:13-15 HCSB
I am usually good with remembering faces. I can see someone who is a member of our church at a store and I can usually recognize him as being a member of our church, but I have great difficulty in remembering a name. This can be very embarrassing at times when I encounter someone who I should know by name.
These two disciples had obviously spent time with Jesus and listened to His messages and watched him perform miracles, yet they did not recognize Him. These two were not part of the chosen twelve disciples, but they most likely were followers who had spent time being a part of the crowd that traveled with Jesus.
Challenge: Some recognize Jesus as a great teacher and prophet but they do not recognize Him as Lord. Do you recognize Jesus as Lord? As a believer, He is with you every minute of every day. Thank God for His faithfulness to walk with you through both the difficulties and good times in life.
But these words seemed like nonsense to them, and they did not believe the women. Peter, however, got up and ran to the tomb. When he stooped to look in, he saw only the linen cloths. So He went home, amazed at what had happened. Luke 24:11-12 HCSB
My wife and I had the privilege of going to a viewing of the movie “The Easter Experience.” The movie walks one through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. It blends a dramatic presentation with Kyle Idleman narrating and telling the story. It is a powerful movie that ends with presenting how the resurrection is so foundational to the Christian faith. Without the resurrection, Jesus would have been no more than a great teacher and prophet. But the resurrection proves that Jesus was who He said he was, the Son of God, therefore you can trust what He said and what He promised about the future.
These two verses in Luke reflect the natural human feelings one might have toward the resurrection of Jesus. First, there is unbelief and speculation if it could possibly be true. Secondly, human nature spurs one to check out the facts and determine what is true. Thirdly, when one personally encounters the risen Jesus Christ, there is a change in life and behavior.
Challenge: Believe in the resurrection. Believe in the power of God and His promises you will find in His Word. Believe in the Word of God and that all things are possible. Believe in the promises that Jesus made. Know that God is in control and you do not need to worry.