Sunday, April 26, 2020


In the very afternoon of the day Jesus was raised from the dead, he goes for a walk with a couple disciples. One is named, Cleopas, the other is not. We'll call him Anonymous. So we can easily put our own name in that place. So do that just now. I want you to enter the scene of being on this walk with Jesus.

All of a sudden Jesus is just there, they thought he probably caught up with them from behind.

What are you talking about? They were sad. They were totally defeated! Ever been there? Ever needed Jesus to enter the scene just when you needed Him most desperately?

What are you talking about? Innocent question. Good question if your joining someone else's conversation!

But they're a little snippy I think. Who are you? You must be the only person in Jerusalem who is this out-of-touch! You didn't see what went on with Jesus?
We had such high hope's that he was the messiah! He was going to restore the kingdom to Israel!

Jesus had been dealing with this the whole time he was with them? No one among his disciples understood his mission or his means! Peter tried to shut even his talking about it down. The guys were constantly arguing amongst themselves about rank and file; their position in the new kingdom. Jesus had mom's asking him for these kinds of promises for their boys, James and John!

Jesus loses it a little bit here. You're foolish and stupid! Well maybe a little kinder than that. Slow of heart and mind. They're just like us! And Jesus takes them back to his very first confession! With Peter in Galilee ... it was there he first said these things and Peter called him down.
Fact is that the disciples went the whole trip from Galilee to the empty tomb and beyond, and never changed their mind.

What was so hard for them to grasp? What did Jesus say on this trip that gave them heart burn?

It says he began with Moses- with the Torah!
Let's take the same walk. At least a few verses with Jesus as he explains himself, his existence and his mission to us.

Where is Jesus found in the Torah or in the prophets?

Deuteronomy 18:18
‘I will raise up for them a Prophet like you from among their brethren, and will put My words in His mouth, and He shall speak to them all that I command Him.

Jesus used this over and over again to refer to himself and the source of His message! JN 5:19

 “Most assuredly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of Himself, but what He sees the Father do; for whatever He does, the Son also does in like manner."

Isa 7:14
Therefore the Lord Himself will give you a sign: Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a Son, and shall call His name Immanuel.

The facts of His divine birth.

Isa 52:13 - 53:12
13 Behold, My Servant ...
14 His visage was marred more than any man,

53:3. He is despised and rejected by men, A Man of sorrows and acquainted with grief.
4. Surely He has borne our griefs
And carried our sorrows;
Yet we esteemed Him stricken,
Smitten by God, and afflicted.
5. But He was wounded for our transgressions,He was bruised for our iniquities; The chastisement for our peace was upon Him, And by His stripes we are healed.
10 Yet it pleased the LORD to bruise Him; He has put Him to grief.
When You make His soul an offering for sin,

Few scriptures in the whole Bible carry more weight than these in pointing to the sacrifice of Jesus.

Micah 5:2
2“But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah,
Though you are little among the thousands of Judah, Yet out of you shall come forth to Me The One to be Ruler in Israel, Whose goings forth are from of old,
From everlasting.”

How can you fake where you're born? How can you choose the place? Jesus didn't, in fact it was Caesar who intervened with a census that created the circumstance of his place of birth!

Zechariah 12:10
then they will look on Me whom they pierced.

Psalm 2:7
7“I will declare the decree:
The LORD has said to Me,
‘You are My Son, Today I have begotten You.

Psalm 22:16b-18
They pierced My hands and My feet;
17. I can count all My bones.
They look and stare at Me.
18. They divide My garments among them, And for My clothing they cast lots.

A factual prophetic picture along with many of the images of Ps 2 & 22. It is Psalm 22 quoted by Jesus on the cross (v.1)
My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?

And finally Daniel 9:26
26“And after the sixty-two weeks
Messiah shall be cut off, but not for Himself;...

The simple calculations from the degree to rebuild Jerusalem to the end of the 62 weeks of Daniel's vision, was the year 32, the year of the crucifixion of Jesus.

Friends, there are even more passages but I wanted to see what Jesus talked about on the road they were walking that afternoon. He was able to point out the circumstances of his own life and death foretold by the Torah and the Prophets. And it was about a two to three hour walk. Only 7 miles distance.

The fact is there are over 300 such verses in the OT and the likelihood of one person fulfilling all of them perfectly is in the multiple trillions to one! Someone estimated that if you took that number and made it into 1" ball bearings, they would fill the state of Texas to a depth of about 6 feet!

I urge you to take a walk with Jesus down memory lane this week, like the disciples did on that afternoon. Their hearts were on fire with the news, and as he broke bread with them, their eyes were opened. Then they ran back to Jerusalem that very night to tell the others.

Let us run with the news of who Jesus is in our own day. Amen!

Let us pray.

O God, your Word is eternal and it stands as the anvil on which time itself is tested and shaped. Let us find in your Word the treasures of eternal life and let us take your Word with us into the works in witness to your love and power. For the fame of Jesus' Name and the sake of His Kingdom we pray.


Sunday, April 12, 2020

Easter 2020 - Born Again to A Living Hope

Easter 2020
Fr Phil Eberhart

This is a one time experience today, Easter service via Zoom and Facebook live. We're happy to be together and to see so many faces, in our Hollywood Squares boxes. God bless you in your homes this morning.

Alleluia! Christ is Risen! The Lord is Risen Indeed! Alleluia! Alleluia! Alleluia!! We can't say it enough, can we?

In the midst of a great worldwide pandemic, in the face of death and fear, of uncertainty across the planet... we have a living hope... because we have a living savior!

We say it often...


The mystery of our faith! A Savior who died and who has come back to life and who promises to come again to receive us to Himself!

The Death, Resurrection and Return of Jesus Christ the Messiah is the source and fountain of our life, our hope, our joy inexpressible and full of glory! Even in the midst of suffering... even in the presence of pandemic... nothing can dampen the reality of God's love and His resurrection power in our lives.

I got accused this week of being "psychologically unstable" - needy because I posted that our Easter will be unchanged, walls or no walls, and declaring my love for being "face to face!" Well... guilty as charged! I'm needy... I need Jesus and I need you all!

A wise old man, when faced with his grand son's challenge of "why go to church?" Simply brought him to the roaring fire in the den, sat down and reached in with the tongs and took an ember out, setting it in the bricks in front. Soon the ember was a cold black coal. Then he simply placed it back in the fire again and it soon glowed red with the flame.
If that's psychological neediness then I'm guilty.

In a day of separation and social distancing, of not looking at one another for fear of catching something, of isolation, separation and being together only on laptops and computers, I want to declare that I hate being a lone ranger! We're not made for this.

Peter tells it pretty straight in his first letter. As I sat with my father in his last week 5 years ago, this section of 1 Peter was our meditation. Beginning at vs 3...

"Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you, who by God's power are being guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time."

1 Peter 1:3‭-‬5 ESV

The fact of the Resurrection of Jesus from the dead is the central fact of our faith... all of our faith! It stands like an anvil that has worn out many hammers!

Paul says, without it we're most to be pitied! But with it we're able to go through any circumstance, any difficulty, any temptation or test of our faith, because the resurrection is an anvil! A LIVING HOPE through the RESURRECTION OF JESUS CHRIST FROM THE DEAD!

The Anvil of the Resurrection has tested the hammer of unbelief, the hammer of doubt has failed to scar it; the skeptics hammer, the so- called "liberal's" hammer can't stand up to the anvil!

Friends, the Resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead is the central fact of history. Everything flows to it from before Christ and everything flows from it now, after Christ!

Listen to what Peter says as he goes on...

In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials, so that the tested genuineness of your faith—more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire—may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ.
1 Peter 1:6‭-‬7 ESV

The testing of our faith is part and parcel of the testing of the Anvil! The use for an Anvil and a hammer is the shaping of steel, white hot from the forge. There's a TV competition show called Forged in Fire. Watch an episode of that to understand what I'm taking about. We are being Forged In Fire! Even now, today, in how we're responding to all that's going on around us. God is looking for Tested Genuineness in our faith. Forged by Fire!

Paul said of all he went through that it was "light and momentary affliction" but that it gains for us "an eternal weight of glory! "

Peter goes on...

"... you believe in him and rejoice with joy that is inexpressible and filled with glory, obtaining the outcome of your faith, the salvation of your souls."

1 Peter 1:8‭-‬9 ESV

This Easter will stand out in our memory, individually and in our corporate memory, and I hope that we will remember it fondly, as a time when we were tested and found faithful; as a time when we were shaped on the anvil into a "truer beauty and usefulness" to use a phrase from Bishop Terry Kelshaw's prayer; and as a time when we discover all that we mean to one another in the community of His New Life.

Peter concludes as I will with these words...

"Therefore, preparing your minds for action, and being sober-minded, set your hope fully on the grace that will be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ. ...through him [you] are believers in God, who raised him from the dead and gave him glory, so that your faith and hope are in God."

1 Peter 1:13‭, ‬21 ESV

Peter in later chapters of this same letter asks us to "always be ready to give an answer for the HOPE that is in us!"

Lord our God, we pray that you will show us the full glory of your power and might in the Resurrection of your Son, Jesus Christ, from the grave. He has trampled death and the grave, and given us a new birth into a living hope! Help us to continually live in that hope in relationship to you, Jesus Risen Lord and King. And finally, use us as we come out of this time of COVID-19 and help us Lord Jesus, to never go back to normal! In the Matchless Name of the Risen Jesus, for the fame of His Name and the glory of His Eternal Kingdom.

 Amen and amen!

Sunday, April 5, 2020

Palm Sunday 2020 - Fr Phil Eberhart

Palm Sunday
April 5, 2020
Fr Phil Eberhart 


What could make a hardened soldier,  a centurion... the commander of a garrison of 100 Roman soldiers,  make such a statement? 

He had seen 100's ... no... probably 1000's of this kind of death in his career as a soldier...  but this one was different.   What did he see that made him even think in those terms?  What did he hear that set these thoughts loose in his mind?

He didn't know the scriptures that we read this morning, from the Jewish scriptures,  with their exacting descriptions of what was happening: Isaiah 53 and Psalm 22.  Even those who DID know them totally ignored them, save for one or two! 

He hadn't been following Jesus, listening to his every word, to his prophetic statements about suffering and dying on a Roman cross.  Those who did hear them didn't understand them-  it was unthinkable! Especially for those (all of them) who had great hopes that Jesus was "their guy" -- their hoped for Messiah!   Hoped for in the way they wanted a "messiah" to come. To the point that they argued about rank and position constantly. But this sure wasn't that!  Not even a little bit.  So they all ran away,  save one. 

What did he see ... what did he hear? 

Could it have been the stone cold silence of the Son of God... throughout the whole ordeal?  "Like a lamb before the Shearer's is silent,  so he opened not his mouth."  Silence in the face of great suffering speaks of great dignity, of great self control.  

Probably not just that,  though.  There's got to be more to it. 

Maybe,  the strange weather at the time got his attention... darkened mid day sun,  clouds and wind,  thunder...
And that earthquake.  That would get your attention,  wouldn't it.  But there's still more to it. 

How does one who goes through all of this,  speak words of forgiveness over those who are doing it to him? "Father,  forgive them..." That was different.  Unheard of ... ever!

How does that same man promise forgiveness of personal, individual sin (for which he was being executed justly)  and then nothing less than Paradise to a thief being crucified next to him? 

"Who can forgive sins except God?" the Pharisees had asked of Jesus once.  They knew the implications and the weight of that action by Jesus.  Did the centurion get it too? 

What awe struck him from what he saw and heard.  Something stuck -- all of it together had an impact on him. 

I wonder if he was watching when they pierced Jesus side?  Of course he was.  He saw what John saw... blood and water.  I wonder if he felt the spray of the wounded flow of "water" and blood in his face?  

"Let his blood be upon us and upon our children! "  They had no idea what they were saying.  No idea what they were doing!  Jesus said it:  "They know not what they do! "  But he knew - the centurion knew - it all added up to too much for the mind to take in.  Who was this man on the cross before him?   


Let's pray...

Lord Jesus Christ,  you stretched forth your hands of love on the hard wood of the Cross,  that everyone... everyone... disciple,  pharisee,  thief,  centurion,...  might come within the reach of your saving embrace!

The evidence was clear and it's clear even today that you,  Lord Jesus Christ,  are truly the Son of God. So truly, THE WAY, THE TRUTH AND THE LIFE, that there is NO OTHER NAME given among men by which we can and must be saved!   There's no other name but yours.

So, clothe us with your Name and in your Spirit, that we may reach forth our hands in that same love and forgiveness,  to bring in our day, those who do not yet know You, -- our families, our co-workers, our neighbors, the stranger in Walmart --to the knowledge and love of You.  

Just like the Centurion, May we and all who truly see and hear you say,  "Surely this IS the Son of God! "

For the honor of Your Name.