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I came, I saw, I conquered OR I came, I saw, I believed

     "Veni, vidi, vici" (I came, I saw, I conquered) are Julius Caesar comment on one of his wars in Asia Minor.  His ability to conquer was important to his rise in power, and his conquest of Gaul (today's France) and his victories enabled him to become the first Roman emperor.  He still influences Western civilization today.
      But there is a new Latin phrase that is even more important.  And that is "veni, vidi, credidi" (I came, I saw, I believed.)  This is my paraphrase of John 20:8 "Finally the other disciple [St John the apostle], who had reached the tomb first, also went inside. He saw and believed."  John had seen the grave cloths in the same form as when John had buried Jesus, but now the grave cloths were empty.  Jesus had risen from the dead.  So when John saw the grave cloths, he now understood that Jesus of Nazareth is the Christ.  Thus, John wrote in John 20:31 "But these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name."  These words have world wide significance.
     Julius Caesar's "I came, I saw, I conquered" influenced Western civilization.  My words "I came, I saw, I believed" influenced the world for eternity.
     My challenge to you is do you believe that Jesus of Nazareth is the Christ, [the Messiah, the Anointed One], the Son of God?

Earth Day or New Earth Day

Today many will celebrate Earth Day.  "On April 22, more than one billion people around the globe will participate in Earth Day 2012 and help Mobilize the Earth™. People of all nationalities and backgrounds will voice their appreciation for the planet and demand its protection."  I agree that we should not pollute the earth, but how many of us are looking for the day when we will have new heavens and new earth?  In Revelation 21:1 we read:  "Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away,"  Unfortunately most people concentrate on the present earth, and do not look forward to the day of the new heaven and the new earth.  We look downward at our feet and pick up a piece of litter.  That is good.  But far better is to look upward and to the future when Christ Jesus will return and destroy the earth with fire and create a new heaven and new earth. 

Peter's Denial and God's Faithfulness

   This past Friday was Good Friday and our pastor, Rev. Roest, preached on Peter denying Christ.  Later Christ restored Peter.  In John 21:18-19  we read:  " I tell you the truth, when you were younger you dressed yourself and went where you wanted; but when you are old you will stretch out your hands, and someone else will dress you and lead you where you do not want to go.”  Jesus said this to indicate the kind of death by which Peter would glorify God. Then he said to him, “Follow me!”
    Rev. Roest said that these were words of comfort.  But how could they be words of comfort when He was predicting that Peter would be crucified?  Jesus Christ was comforting Peter in that He was telling Peter that next time Peter would not deny the Savior. Peter had denied Christ on the basis of an accusation of a slave girl.  But here Christ is confidently telling Peter that Peter has been restored. No longer will Peter be a wavering reed.  No, the next time when Peter is going to be accused, Peter will stand fast.  And Peter will stand fast even though he will be crucified.  Christ did not forsake Peter, even if Peter did forsake Him. May God be faithful to us, when we waver.  May God keep us faithful.

April Fool's Day and Palm Sunday

April Fool's Day and Palm Sunday fell on the same day this year.  And Jesus rode on his inaugural parade on a donkey.  That is like on Inauguration Day riding in a Yugo from the Capitol Building to the White House!!  Real kings use war horses, not donkeys.  Real President's use Cadillacs, not Yugos.  Think of Mordecai's reward.  In Esther 6:9 and 11 we read about how to honor an important person:
"Then let the robe and horse be entrusted to one of the king's most noble princes. Let them robe the man the king delights to honor, and lead him on the horse through the city streets, proclaiming before him, 'This is what is done for the man the king delights to honor!'"  So Haman got the robe and the horse. He robed Mordecai, and led him on horseback through the city streets, proclaiming before him, "This is what is done for the man the king delights to honor!"
Notice it is a horse, not a donkey.  But Jesus, the King of kings rode in His inaugural parade on a donkey.  April Fools!
   Not only did Jesus ride on a donkey, but the people that were excited about Him were children.  Not the army.  April Fools!
   And finally, there is the lack of consistency.  The people that shouted "Hosanna in the highest" on Palm Sunday shouted a few days later, "Crucify Him!"  April Fools.
    But God's ways are not our ways, and while Christ rode on a donkey on Palm Sunday, He will return in power and might and justice.  Will you be ready for Him when He returns?