By Irene McGough

Copyright © 2009 Irene McGough Disciples of Jesus Ministry


CHAPTER 1 Firstly I must introduce myself, my name is Miriam and I have a story to tell you, such an amazing story, but I digress, who I am, is not as important as telling you my story of the events that happened a few years ago and how they changed my life. It was the beginning of the week of the Passover Feast when I gazed upon the man who would change my life forever. There was such excitement in the air some people had said a new King was coming into Jerusalem and he would come riding in on the back of a donkey, so we gathered in the streets on either side waving palm branches in our hands waving excitedly as this man, the new King came riding into town. Children were jumping up and down with excitement, this was an important moment because it had been heard that this King was going to deliver the Jews from the oppression of the Romans, so the crowds all left their places of work and came out in the streets to greet with excitement their new King and Deliverer. "Hosanna!" They shouted in unison, "Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!" I heard them cry then they shouted and I joined in "Blessed is the King of Israel!" It was at that moment when I gazed into his eyes as he was passing and he gave me this huge smile such a beautiful smile, and his eyes there was something about them, his eyes were so tender, so loving, so piercing, in that moment I felt he could see right into the depths of my soul and all that I had ever done. I had never ever seen a man quite like this man, and it was not because the people around me were heralding him in as their King. Somewhere deep within me I knew my life had been changed forever; our spiritual leaders in the Temple did not carry a presence like this man, what was that fragrance that I smelt from him? It was beautiful, a sweet fragrant essence and I felt my legs go heavy, I was transfixed to the spot, and it was in fact difficult for me to keep standing. I knew then that this was indeed the Messiah, the one we the Jewish people had been waiting for. Although the crowds gathered only a few really sought to follow him, but I followed on with the band of followers for I had to know more. They told me tales of the deaf and blind being healed, the lame walking, and even the dead being raised. I had never heard stories

like this before, a moment of doubt flooded into my mind “Surely they are only making those stories up,” but even as that thought came into my head something touched deep within my spirit and I knew that what they were telling me must indeed be truth. They went on to tell me how the disciples had told them about a wedding in Cana of Galilee where their Lord and Master had changed the water into wine, and how he had fed more than five thousand people from five loaves and two little fishes, such amazing stories. I felt a hunger deep within me to get really close to the King to the one they called Jesus of Nazareth. There was something so significant about His countenance, something that really drew me to Him. When I met with Jesus I was thirty-nine years old and recently widowed, and I was still hurting from the grief of bereavement, yet when I saw Jesus so much of the pain I had felt within me was lifted off. He saw me and he saw my hurts and at one glance he gave me a peace which I had never known before, I had never met a man like this man and I just had to be part of his band of followers, I saw miracles and I heard Jesus speak and many bear witness to things that had happened like Jesus walking on water and one of the disciples Peter stepped out the boat in faith and started to walk towards him, but he let fear get a grip of him though and started to sink and He cried out to Jesus for help and Jesus caught him just in the nick of time and he saved him. I’m not sure I could have done what Peter done though, he stepped out in faith believing that he could walk on water because the one he saw walking on water towards them was none other than the Son of God and he would help and enable him to walk on water and he did exactly that, that’s the kind of faith I desire to have always, and to keep on walking on water without faltering. Some Greeks who also came to worship at the Passover Feast were seeking out Jesus because they had heard report of some of his miracles. They approached Philip, from Bethsaida in Galilee, with this request. "Sir," they said, "we would like to see Jesus." So Philip went to tell Andrew; Andrew and Philip in turn told Jesus. Jesus had done all these miraculous signs in their midst, yet so many would not believe in him, they went their own way, others particularly those amongst Jewish Leadership were afraid to publicly let it be known that they had believed his words, because of repercussions. That was sad to witness but I knew with a surety I had heard the voice of God and that of the Messiah I had heard my mother speak about when I was a child sitting on her lap. How

she loved to talk to me about her love for God and that she believed the Messiah, the Saviour was coming. My mother had passed on some six years past, she was a lovely lady whom I dearly loved and respected, I learned so much from her. Jesus shortly after arriving in Jerusalem went into the temple and seeing what was going on there was far from pleased and he drove out all who bought and sold in the sacred place, and He turned over the fourfooted tables of the money changers and the chairs of those who sold doves. He said to them, The Scripture says, “My house shall be called a house of prayer; but you have made it a den of robbers.” People who were blind and the lame came to Him in the porches and courts of the temple, and He healed them all. The chief priests and the scribes though even witnessed those wonderful things Jesus did and the young people cried out excitedly with hope and anticipation in the porches and courts of the temple, Hosanna to you the Son of David! And the Pharisees and scribes were angry and indignant and it was after that occasion I am sure that they started to collude and plot against the Lord. So they said to Him, “Can you hear what they are saying?” Jesus replied “Yes, I have heard them, have you never read that, out of the mouths of babes and infants you find perfect praise?” He left the city and went out to the town of Bethany a mile and a half east of Jerusalem and lodged there overnight.

CHAPTER 2 The following morning Jesus came back into Jerusalem what a delight it was to see him, and when he was approaching Jerusalem he saw a fig tree and was hopeful of finding figs to eat for breakfast but this tree had no figs growing on it, only leaves were growing on this tree and he ordered the tree to shrivel up and die. My new friends and I had just caught up with Jesus and the disciples when this happened. It was amazing to see this fig tree just shrivel up and die before our very eyes, but then this was the kind of authority with which Jesus spoke Even his closest disciples

when saw it had shrivelled up and die rubbed their eyes, saying, "Did we really see this, a leafy tree one minute, a dry stick the next, wow!?" But Jesus treated it like an every day occurrence; after all I now understand that He along with the Father and the Spirit as God created the heavens and the earth. And Jesus said, "If you embrace this kingdom life and don't doubt God, you'll not only do minor feats like I did to the fig tree, but also triumph over huge obstacles. This mountain, for instance, you'll be able to tell it to jump into the lake, and it will jump. Absolutely everything, small things to large things, as long as you make it a part of your believing prayer, your faith will get answered as you seek to do what God would have you do." Then Jesus returned to the temple once again, the chief priests and the elders of the people came up to him asking what it was that he was teaching and they asked him "Show us your credentials, which authorized you to teach here?" Jesus answered, "Can I ask you a question first. You can answer my question and I'll answer yours. Regarding the baptism of John can you tell me who authorized it was it heaven or humans?" They felt awkward and were so obviously placed on the spot and knew it. They pulled back into a huddle and whispered, "If we say 'heaven,' he'll ask us why we didn't believe him; Even if we say 'humans,' we're up against it with the people because they all hold John up as a prophet." They decided to reply that they were unsure. "We don't know," they replied. Jesus said, "Then neither will I answer your question. "Tell me what you think of this story: A man had two sons and he went to the first asking, Son, I want you to go out for the day and work in the vineyard.' "The son answered, 'I don't want to.' Later on he thought better of it and went. "The father gave the same command to the second son. He answered, 'Sure, glad to.' But he never went. "Which of the two sons did what the father asked?" They said, "The first." Jesus said, "Yes, and I tell you that thieves and the prostitutes are going to see God's kingdom before you. John the Baptist came to you telling you how to go on the right road. You turned up your noses at him, but the crooks and whores believed him. Even when you saw their changed lives, you didn't care enough to change and believe him. "Here's another story and I want you all to listen carefully. It’s about a man, a wealthy farmer, who planted a vineyard. He fenced the vineyard and dug a winepress then he put up a watchtower, and turned it over to the farmhands and went off on a trip. When it was time to harvest the grapes, he sent his servants back to collect his profits. "The farmhands

grabbed the first servant and beat him up. The next one they murdered. They threw stones at the third but he got away. The owner tried again, sending more servants. They got the same kind of treatment. The owner didn’t know what to do next. So he decided to send his son. 'Surely,' he thought, 'they will respect my son.' "But when the farmhands saw the son arrive, they rubbed their hands in greed.’this is his son and heir! Let's just kill him and have it all for ourselves.' So they grabbed the son, threw him out, and killed him. “What then do you think will be the owner of the vineyard’s reaction when he arrives home from his trip, what do imagine he will do to the farmhands?" They answered "He'll kill them for all they are a rotten bunch so good riddance to them, then he'll assign the vineyard to farmhands who will hand over the profits when it's time." Jesus looked at them, studying their faces and said, "That’s correct and you can read it for yourselves in God’s Word, the stone the masons threw out is now the cornerstone. This is God's work and it seems so marvellous to the eyes of men, it can hardly be believed! "You know God's kingdom will be taken back from you and handed over to a people who will really live out a kingdom life. Whoever stumbles on this Stone gets shattered; whoever the Stone falls on gets smashed." When the Scribes and the Pharisees listened to this story, they knew it was aimed at them and hey wanted to arrest Jesus and put him in jail, but because the people would be outraged at that point in time they held back, because the people believed Jesus to be a prophet sent from God. Jesus was an amazing story teller, He had so many stories to tell and he made those stories come alive, so many would gather and listen to him with tentative ears. He said "God's kingdom is like a king who threw a wedding banquet for his son. Then he sent out servants to call in all the invited guests. And they wouldn't come! "So, he sent out more of his servants, instructing them to tell the guests, 'Look, everything is on the table, the prime rib is ready for carving you must come to the feast!' "They only shrugged their shoulders and went off, one to weed his garden, another to work in his business. The rest, with nothing better to do, beat up the messengers and then they killed them. The king was furious and sent his soldiers to destroy those thugs and level their city." Then he told his remaining servants, “We have a wedding banquet all

prepared but no guests. The ones I invited turned down their invitations. Go out into the busiest intersections in town and invite anyone you find to the banquet.” The servants went out on the streets and rounded up everyone they could find, good and bad, regardless. And so the banquet hall was full with every place filled. When the king entered and looked over the scene, he spotted a man who wasn't properly dressed. He said to him, “Why have you come in here looking like that?” The man didn’t know how to answer. Then the king told his servants to get him out of here fast and just tie him up and ship him off to hell, making sure he couldn’t get back in. Jesus concluded this story by saying “This is what I mean when I say that many get invited but only a few make it.” At the time I understood only a little of the significance of what Jesus was saying. But now I know that he was telling us all but particularly here this story was directed at the Jewish leaders that they like the rest of us as Jews have always had a special place in God’s heart but although they were rejecting the invitation Jesus was extending to his own wedding feast in heaven, he was going to invite others who will say yes to His invitation to come along, inviting people of every tribe and nation of the world to come along as well as all of the Jewish nation who will respond to his invitation to come to this wonderful wedding of Jesus the King of Kings.

INVITATION TO A WEDDING (the Wedding Feast of the Lamb) My dear friend Hello there, I want to extend an invitation personally to you, I am so excited and looking forward to my Wedding Day, That day is coming soon and I would love for you to be there too, Come and follow me and throughout eternity with me you will stay. For I am so longing for you to come running into my arms, My arms are opened wide and I am calling out your name, Come to me I want you to be part of the true church, my bride,

Dear one, this world has no answers, come and in me abide. I loved you so much that I came and died on the cross for you, And now I’m longing for the day you will say” I love you too,” This wedding feast will be like no party you have ever seen, Come to me and you will be happier than you have ever been. Dear friend I am looking forward with anticipation for your reply, Repent of your sins and I will remember them no more, And all heaven will be rejoicing as I will be throwing a party. I will prepare a mansion just for you as part of the bride I adore. People from every tribe and nation have answered my call, They have said yes to me and they have surrendered their all, I want to pour my love upon you and give you real peace, This love I have for you my friend will never ever cease. The Groom –JESUS CHRIST RSVP

CHAPTER 3 The Pharisees thought they would lay a trap for Jesus, they sent some of their own disciples to ask him questions. They said “Teacher we know you are a good man, a man of integrity you teach God’s ways accurately, and you are indifferent to popular opinion, and don't pander to your students. So tell us honestly: Is it right to pay taxes to Caesar or not?" Jesus saw though that this was a trap they were trying to ensnare him with and you should have seen the expressions on their faces when he answered them. "You crowd of hypocrites, why are you trying to trap me? Bring me a coin.” They handed him a denarius. He held it up and showed them Caesar’s portrait and inscription “Who do you see here? Render to Caesar that which is Caesar’s.” They went away astonished at his words and they could not reply after that, they speechlessly hurried on their way. Later that day the Sadducees decided to come and quiz Jesus themselves on the resurrection of the dead which they did not believe in. "Teacher," they said, "Moses said that if a man who

has no children dies, his brother must marry the widow so that they can have children who will be considered the dead man's children. Here's an illustration where there were seven brothers. The first brother married and died, leaving no child, and his wife passed to his brother. The second brother also left her childless, then the third--and on and on, all seven. Then the wife died. At the resurrection, whose wife would she be? She was a wife to each of them.” Jesus replied, "You are in error because you do not know the Scriptures or the power of God. At the resurrection people will not marry nor will they be given in marriage; they will be like the angels in heaven .But about the resurrection of the dead, haven’t you read what God said to you, 'I am the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob'? He is not the God of the dead but of the living." Many were gathered there listening to this, and we were astonished at his teaching, nobody else taught quite like Jesus. The Sadducees were silenced at this point and slipped away. Not to be outdone the Pharisees hearing about how Jesus had outdone their disciples and then the Sadducees decided to come against Jesus with an onslaught. One of them asked "Teacher, which commandment in God's Law is the most important?" Jesus answered “Love the Lord your God with your whole heart and soul and with your whole mind. This is the first and greatest commandment and the second is just like it you must love your neighbour as yourself. All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments." Before the Pharisees had the chance to ask anything else, wile they were still trying to conjure stuff up in their minds Jesus threw a question into the mix. He asked them "What do you think about the Christ? Whose son is he?" They answered "David's son." Jesus replied, "Well, if this is so and Christ is David's son, how can you explain that David, under inspiration, named Christ his 'Lord’? The scripture says the Lord said to my Lord: "Sit at my right hand until I put your enemies under your feet."

They stood perplexed, not knowing how to answer. Jesus had the upper hand and he asked them “If David calls him 'Lord, how the Christ can be his son?" The Pharisees were literalists and were stuck for an answer. They turned away for they could see that Jesus had the upper hand and they did not know how to confound this man. I was glad to see them go, they may have been our religious leaders but something troubled me about them. Jesus was about to clarify some of that to me and the others who sat at his feet.

Now I for one expected to hear Jesus completely condemn the Pharisees but he turned to address the crowds who had now gathered in large numbers and he stated that the Pharisees had sat at Moses’ feet, they were Moses’ representatives in the synagogue. He did not challenge their position as those who were learned in the law. Jesus did criticize the Pharisees though for being hypocritical and not practicing what they preached. I found it hard enough to try to obey the law, but the Pharisees had added so many traditions, that it all seemed cumbersome. When Jesus spoke though although he had harsh things to say, he spoke with an authority and I just knew his words were truth, I found myself hanging on every word he said. Jesus went on though “Look at the Pharisees everything they do is for men to see, they love the place of honour at banquets and the most important seats in the synagogues and to be referred to by important titles such as Rabbi or Father, they want men to exalt them. Don't elevate people, giving men and women a place that is not rightfully theirs, giving them control over your life, allowing them tell you what to do. That kind of authority belongs to God alone; so don’t let men boss you around with man made laws telling you what to do. No one else should carry the title of 'Father'; you have only one Father, and he's in heaven. So don't let people manoeuvre you into taking charge of them. There is only one person who can direct your paths through life for you and them and that is through me. Do you want to stand

out? Then step down. Be a servant. If you get puffed up, you'll get the wind knocked out of you. But if you're content to simply be yourself, you will have a fruitful life and be exalted. Those who try to exalt themselves will be humbled while those with a humble and contrite spirit will be exalted” Then Jesus looked towards the Pharisees and pronounced a series of woes. “Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees! You are hypocrites! You travel everywhere to win one person to your faith. Then you make him twice as much a son of hell as you are. How terrible for you, blind guides! You say, 'If anyone takes an oath in the name of the temple, it means nothing. But anyone who takes an oath in the name of the gold of the temple must keep the oath.' You are blind and foolish! Which is more important? Is it the gold? Or is it the temple that makes the gold holy? "You also say, 'If anyone takes an oath in the name of the altar, it means nothing. But anyone who takes an oath in the name of the gift on it must keep the oath.' You foolish blind men! Can’t you see which is more important? Is it the gift? Or is it the altar that makes the gift holy?” Jesus paused for a moment then continued, "So anyone who takes an oath in the name of the altar takes an oath in it’s name and everything on it and if anybody takes an oath in the name of the temple they are taking an oath in the it’s name and of the One who lives in it. And if you take an oath in the name of heaven you are taking an oath in the name of God's throne and of the One who sits on it. You know you Pharisees and teachers are nothing but show-offs, and you're in for trouble! You give God a tenth of the spices from your garden, such as mint, dill, and cumin. Yet you neglect the more important matters of the Law, such as justice, mercy, and faithfulness. These are the important things you should be doing, though you should not have left the others undone either. You are blind and lead people astray! You will strain a fly out of your drink, but swallow a camel!” I saw some Pharisees huddled in a corner their faces furious, but they could not say anything in case they incited a riot. So Jesus continued to address them “Cleaning the outside of a cup and leaving the inside filthy is absolutely no use, yet here you are like white washed tombs, beautifully clean on the outside with bones and filth on the inside, you look good on the outside but inside you your hearts are rotten to the core, you are evil and are only pretending to be good. Woe to you Pharisees, you are hypocrites! You build tombs for the prophets and decorate the

graves of the righteous. When you say, 'If we had lived in the days of our ancestors, we wouldn't have done what they did. We wouldn't have helped to kill the prophets you are admitting you are the children of those who murdered the prophets. You nest of poisonous snakes! How will you escape from being sentenced to hell? I am sending you more prophets, wise men, and teachers. You will kill some of them and some you will nail to a cross. Others you will whip in your synagogues. You will chase them from town to town and you will pay for all the godly people's blood spilled on earth.” Then Jesus spoke words that were really a lament to all the Jewish leaders and their followers and there were tears in His eyes as he spoke, "Jerusalem! Jerusalem! You murder my prophets! You kill those who have brought to you God's news! How often I've ached and longed to embrace your children, the way a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, and you wouldn't let me. Now, your house is forsaken and desolate, abandoned and left destitute without God's help because of the path you have taken. For I am declaring to you now, that you will not see me again until you say, blessed magnified in worship, adored, and exalted is he who comes in the name of the Lord.” With these words Jesus departed from the temple. I heard some time later that one of his closest disciples had inquired of him as to the future of the temple and Jesus had said that there will not be left one stone on top of another that the temple will come down.

CHAPTER 5 Jesus started to walk away from the temple and he told us that there was a day coming soon when the temple would be destroyed, not one stone would be left on top of another. Later as Jesus was sitting on the Mount of Olives, the disciples asked him privately “Tell us when will these things happen and what will happen to show that it is the time for your coming and the end of the age?” It was only later that the rest of us heard from His close inner circle of disciples about the conversation that had passed between them and the Lord Jesus. He predicted that many would arise claiming to be the Messiah, false prophets would come but to steer clear of all of them

for they will not point the way to Him, so we need to be watchful that we are not misled , we are to persevere for the faith to the end.. He also said that there would be wars and riots in and around Jerusalem and in other places throughout the world and he warned that believers may face persecution and even death for their faith. Some will be fooled by those false Messiahs and their love will grow cold. I know I don’t want to be like that, now that I have found Jesus I never want to be apart from him. Yet at the time all this was happening I had no real understanding of what was about to happen during the next few weeks. I thought at that time that the Lord Jesus in physical form would be with us for the rest of my days. Jesus said to them that day but he also said to all of us as His followers that the Good News of the Kingdom will be preached throughout the whole world as a witness to every tribe and every nation, and after that the end will come. Then Jesus told a large group of us a story about ten virgins who were preparing to meet a bridegroom, but only five out of ten of the virgins came prepared with extra oil for their lamps to keep them burning throughout the night watch as they awaited the coming of the bridegroom. The bridegroom did not come until after midnight and the bridesmaids had fallen off to sleep and they awakened with the knowledge that he was soon to arrive. The girls who had prepared with extra oil for their lamps replenished their lamps and the others who found their lamps had gone out pled with them to share the oil but they had to point out to them that if they did they would all run out and advised them to go to the store and by more oil, so the five foolish bridesmaids made their way to the store but when they came back they found that the bridegroom had already been and gone taking the other girls with him and they were unfortunately too late. They proceeded to go to the wedding feast thinking the groom would surely let them in but he told them to go away for he did not know them. This story has stayed in my mind so much since that day I know I want to be ready for the day that Jesus returns. Jesus taught us so much about being faithful servants, about giving to others, about showing love to others and caring for the poor. He was such a fine example to us of how we should live, the stories that he told us, many of them only became clear to me at a later

date as to the real meaning behind them, but they were so valuable in teaching us and preparing us for the days ahead. Two nights before the Passover feast Jesus was staying at Simon’s house in Bethany and a lady called Mary came and poured the most precious expensive perfume over the head of Jesus and some of the disciples around the table turned to scold her for doing something which to them seemed a waste of money, but Jesus scolded them and asked why they thought it was wasted. They replied” It could have been sold for a tidy sum of money and given to the poor. But Jesus replied that they would always have the poor with them, and he would not be with them much longer and what this woman done for him would be talked about by believers throughout the ages. I wish I had, had expensive perfume like this lady had to pour upon the Lord for He was surely worthy of the very best that we had, all I had to offer him was my heart, but by the way he had smiled at me on a number of occasions I am sure that was enough for him.

CHAPTER 6 It was the night before the Passover feast and Jesus and the twelve disciples had gone off to celebrate, with their Passover meal then I head a rumour from one of the other believers, “Oh surely this couldn’t be true.” We were just finishing our meals when one of our friends came running in, an alarmed look upon His face. We urged him to sit down and take a breath, because he had difficulty even talking at first, in fact he seemed so near to tears. We gave Joseph a glass of wine then he shared what he had overheard how one of the Pharisees was talking to a friend about how Judas one of the twelve, had betrayed our Lord and Master for thirty pieces of silver. I felt my heart was ready to be torn in half, I had only just found Him a few days ago and now I was dreading what could be in front of Him. “Oh my Lord, you cannot be gone from me, I have only just found you.” I started to sob inconsolably, this was so unbelievable. I had just found the love of my life the one who I had waited a lifetime for, not that I felt a romantic attachment for him, no for I had surely found the Messiah, the Son of God.

Then we heard reports of how Jesus had been arrested in the garden of Gethsemane and his disciples told us afterwards that he had seemed to know so much of what was to come for he had sweat drops of blood from his head while praying there in that garden. The disciples told us that Jesus had prayed, "My Father! If it is possible, let this cup of suffering be taken away from me. Yet I want your will, not mine." At all times Jesus was obedient to his Father.

CHAPTER 7 I heard that Jesus had been taken before Pilate the Roman Governor, who stated that he could find nothing wrong with this man Jesus. The only thing that Jesus gave an answer to was when he was accused of claiming to be the King of the Jews, and Jesus had replied that it was as Pilate had said. The priests were insistent and kept throwing accusations and he learned that Jesus was from Galilee he sent Jesus over to Herod who presided over the Galilean area for Herod was in Jerusalem at that time and Herod had looked forward to seeing Jesus and see him perform miracles. He asked him many questions which Jesus because his time had come would not give answers to, and the chief priests and scribes through all kinds of accusations at him and he did not retort, so Herod and his soldiers mocked and derided him too, then sent him back to Pilate. Then the soldiers scourged him until there was barely any flesh left on his body and then they placed a purple robe and a crown of thorns on him and brought him before Pilate. The soldiers who had mocked and derided Jesus stripped him of the purple robe, to expose his skin for the scourging and they twisted the crown of thorns upon his head to cause more pain and more bleeding and if that wasn’t enough they pulled his beard out in chunks. Pilate gave the people of Jerusalem a choice as to who they wanted released would it be a thief and a murderer called Barabbas or would it be Jesus the King of the Jews? I felt so sick and so afraid, I felt at that moment as though I was dying on the inside, but I had to hang around to hear the answer, then came the moment I was dreading. For many of the people who had welcomed Jesus into Jerusalem only a few days previous to this were shouting “Crucify Him, Crucify Him!” So Pilate released that horrible man, that murderer and my Lord and Master who was by this time barely recognizable, blood streamed down

from his face, those thorns were digging into his skull was being sentenced to death by crucifixion, for what, he had done no wrong? And tears flooded down my eyes and that of my companions and I looked over and saw Mary the mother of Jesus, she was with the other Mary and I saw anguish that they were feeling, and my heart broke for His mother at this moment. Some of my new friends had told me about the supernatural nature of Jesus birth, and how Mary had been a virgin so highly favoured of God to be chosen to give birth to my Lord, for God himself was the Father of the Lord Jesus, an angel had visited her and told he she would give birth to a son and he would be called Immanuel which means God with us. What a moment that must have been for Mary as a young girl to be told she, an ordinary young girl was about to give birth to the Christ child, the promised Messiah, and she although she was engaged to Joseph had never yet slept with a man. She knew from the beginning that her son was like no other mother’s son, and he was indeed different from the brothers he grew up with and he told her that he was to be a sacrificial offering for mankind and he would fulfil that which the prophet Isaiah had prophesied “He will go as a lamb to the slaughter.” Here she was witnessing this, what a moment this must have been for her, I felt the pain, I felt as though I was torn in half but what must she have felt? Pilate hesitated and kept challenging the crowd as to what evil Jesus had done, but it was just like mob rule they kept repeating “ Crucify Him” and he finally gave way to the mob rule although I could see he wanted to be able to set Jesus free, but as I now understand Pilate could not have overruled this moment in time for God himself had planned it from the beginning of time, and Jesus himself was indeed the God man, the one who had never said a wrong word, never lied, never done any wrong, he had to be sinless to die for our sins, to take our place.

CHAPTER 8 Now it was the worst of times my Lord was given his cross to carry up to the place of crucifixion which was known as Golgotha, the place of the skull, but he could not manage all the way himself so Simon the Cyrene who was passing by was asked to help Jesus carry the cross the rest of the way. Part of me wanted to run away, many of his disciples were in hiding or keeping their distance because of fear but something

inside compelled me, I had to be there until he breathed his last, so I went up the hill with my new friend Judith who was feeling much the same I am sure, but we could not even speak, this was an agonising time. Finally after what seemed like an age we arrived at Golgotha and they placed my Jesus on the cross, suspended with huge nails through his hands just between his wrists and his hands and the same nails through his feet. Pilate placed a notice on his cross that read, "Jesus of Nazareth, the King of the Jews." The chief priests were angry about this and said “Change it to say He says He is the King of the Jews.” Pilate stood his ground and said “What I have written, I have written.” As Jesus hung there he looked with compassion upon those who had placed him there and said “Father forgive them for they know not what they do.” Two criminals were crucified there, one at either side of Jesus, my Lord and Master, the one I know with a surety as my Saviour was placed among those common thieves and yet here was Jesus dying there and the love he had for all mankind could be so plainly seen in the words he expressed upon that cross. One of the criminals hanging beside Jesus laughed, "So if you're the Messiah, you can prove it by saving yourself and us, as well, while you're at it!" The other one though asked him “Don’t you fear God when you are dying?” Then he looked towards Jesus saying “We deserve to die, but you don’t remember Lord when you come into your Kingdom.” Jesus looked at this man with such love and compassion in his own moment of extreme, excruciating pain and said to the man” You are forgiven, today my friend you will be with me in paradise.” He looked at his mother and saw John standing there he said and said “Mother here is your son” and looking towards John he said “Son this is your mother.” A darkness then came upon the land, a strange darkness, for it was night fall and it lasted for some three hours until the ninth hour. At this point the Lord Jesus said “My God, My God, why have you forsaken me” because he felt as though he was going to be so distanced from His Father as he proceeded to take the sins of all people everywhere upon himself. Then he said “I am thirsty” and one of the soldiers brought a sponge soaked in vinegar, placed it in hyssop then put

it in Jesus mouth and when he had received it, he uttered his final words “It is finished, I give my spirit up into you hands Father.” and he hung his head and died. Since the Sabbath day was approaching the soldiers broke the bones of those being crucified, so that they could get them down from the cross before the Sabbath, and they came to Jesus and discovered that he was already dead and I learned later that I now know David and others had prophesied all those years ago that none of the Messiah’s bones would be broken. On of the soldiers though pierced the side of Jesus and blood and water gushed forth. This too had been foretold by the prophet Zechariah. A man called Joseph from Armithea, a believer, decided to ask for the body of Jesus that he might bury Jesus in a tomb in the nearby garden and Joseph and Nicodemus who had first came to Jesus at night some time before, now in full daylight wrapped the body of Jesus in linen and spices and lovingly placed him in the tomb, then the heavy stone was placed at the front of the tomb, and soldiers placed to guard it because the officialdom had heard that his disciples talked about he would arise again on the Third day. The earth quaked and the temple veil was torn in half, and the most astounding thing of all was all around there were graves opened of Godly people, they were starting to walk the streets and miraculously appear before people, the dead were walking, what a miracle this was!

CHAPTER 9 There was a lot of sadness and despair among many of the disciples and friends of Jesus during the next couple of days, there was also some fear that they might suffer a similar fate because they were his followers, I heard how just before the crucifixion Peter who so dearly loved Jesus had denied his Lord three times, and now he could barely live with himself he was so upset. He loved Jesus so much and now Jesus was dead, how he hoped he could see Jesus again, how he desired to confess and ask him for forgiveness directly and admit how wrong he had been. They did not understand at that time that the scriptures of old had taught us that Jesus would rise again.

We also heard how Judas had hung himself from a tree in a field which he had purchased with his thirty pieces of silver which he had gained for betraying the Lord Jesus, he had tried to give the money back for even before the crucifixion he was remorseful and this took place before Jesus himself breathed his final breath. Poor Judas, but how could he do such a thing? I am not so sure Judas ever realized even in part just who Jesus was, or maybe it came to him at that moment after betrayal? On the third day the two Mary’s, Mary Magdalene and Mary of Bethany went to visit the garden tomb just as the before dawn and they were astonished to find out that an earth quake had taken place once again and an angel in glowing white had appeared at the tomb and the guards had fallen as though dead and they did not know what had happened , except to assume that the body of Jesus must have been stolen away by the disciples. Mary Magdalene started weeping, thinking “What could have happened to her Lord’s body?” Mary ran and told Peter and he went to look at the grave as well and sure enough there was no body lying in that tomb. Mary returned to the tomb just as the day was dawning and two angels were sitting at the place where the body of Jesus had been laid. Mary Magdalene turned and saw a man who she on first glance thought to be a gardener and he said to her “Woman why are you crying?” She answered “Sir have you moved the body of my Lord or do you know where they have laid him?” He gently answered “Mary” She knew then who he was and she said “Rabboni” which is Hebrew for teacher. Jesus urged her not to cling to him for he had not yet ascended to his Father. “Go and tell my brothers that I am ascending to my Father and your Father, my God and your God.'" And then the women went running to tell his closest disciples and the rest of us about Jesus having risen. .Oh my, what a moment that

was to know that my Jesus, my Lord is risen again, how my heart was aching to see him again. I heard that a meeting of all the religious leaders was called, and they decided to bribe the soldiers. They told the soldiers, "You must say, the disciples of Jesus came during the night while we were sleeping, and they stole his body. So if the governor hears about it, we'll stand up for you and everything will be all right, but if you don’t you know that you are toast." So the guards accepted the bribe and said what they were told to say. Their story spread widely among the Jews, and they still tell this story today.

CHAPTER 10 The disciples were meeting in a house behind locked doors for they were still very afraid of the Jewish leaders. And that same evening, on the first day of the week my friend Judith and I along with a number of other ladies including the Mary’s were there too preparing meals and Jesus appeared in the middle of the room. The doors were locked, no-one could get in, so it must have been totally supernatural and yet here was our Lord in the midst of us. Wow oh wow, what a moment, I cannot even begin to explain the wow factor of seeing my risen Lord, this was Jesus, the one who had died the most horrific death just three short days ago and here he was and the love I had inside of me for this my Lord and my God surged up on the inside of me, tears of real joy came to my eyes. He showed us the healed wounds on his hands and his side and then Jesus spoke to us and said "Peace to all of you. Just as the Father has sent me, I am sending you." Then he breathed on us “Receive the Holy Spirit.” And he spoke to us about in his name proclaiming forgiveness of sins to those who repent. It’s not that we as believers could forgive sins, but we because he was giving us the Holy Spirit to reside within us were given authority in his name to speak words of life, of forgiveness, that our Lord whom we were representing was forgiving their sins. There was such joy and celebration in that moment of time in that room, and yet there were still the doubters like Thomas, he found it so hard to believe, for he was not amongst us on this occasion and he thought we were all spinning a tale. Thomas said he could only believe if

he saw in the Lord’s hands the marks made by the nails and put his finger into the nail prints, and put his hand into his side, otherwise he could never believe. The disciples also taught us later that we are not to harbour unforgiveness in our hearts, that Jesus had taught that we are to forgive others as we would have them forgive us. He had taught us to love one another too. Eight days later Jesus appeared once again, I was not present with the disciples on this occasion but I heard how this time Thomas was there and when Jesus appeared and once again greeted them saying “Peace to you.” Then he turned to Thomas and he said “Reach out your finger here, and see my hands; and put out your hand and place it in my side. Do not be so lacking in faith, it is time for you to leave behind your unbelief and believe.” Others reported that Thomas answered him, full of emotion and remorse now, “My Lord and My God.” Then he fell to his knees. Jesus then said to Thomas, “Because you have seen me, Thomas, do you now have faith? But let me tell you all something blessed and happy and fortunate are those who have never seen me and yet have believed and had faith in me.” Jesus appeared before some of the disciples on other occasions during the next few weeks. One day some of the disciples were fishing on the Sea of Tiberias and they had been out all night and caught nothing and then Jesus appeared on the beach and they did know it was him when he shouted to them “ Cast your nets out to the right hand side of the boat and you will find fish.” When they did this they had the most enormous catch, and they had such an enormous catch that they could not even haul it in properly, so other disciples came along side in another boat to help with the catch and they headed towards the shore where Jesus had a fire of hot coals burning and he already ha fish and bread cooking, but he asked them to bring more fish from their catch that they might cook them. Peter went aboard and hauled the net to land, full of large fish, 153 of them; and although there were so many of them, the net was not torn.

After breakfast Jesus questioned Peter who had denied him three times, by asking him three times if he loved him and when Peter affirmed each time he told him to feed his lambs and his sheep and to care for his sheep. And then he addressed all of them saying “Follow me.” And Jesus led the eleven disciples and the rest of us out towards the Mount of Olives and after arriving there he gave us a commission for all of his followers, for those of our day and age and for generations to come. He said "You are to go into all the world, to all nations, every tribe and every nation, taking the good news of the Kingdom and the message of salvation to all men, women and children everywhere, baptizing those who believe. Thos who believe will be saved, but those who reject me will be condemned. These signs will accompany those who believe, they will cast out demons in my name, and they will speak new languages and they will even be able to take poisonous snakes in their hands, they will drink poison and not be hurt, they will lay hands on the sick and see them healed." And Jesus also said "In the scriptures it is written, that it was necessary for me to suffer and to rise from the dead the third day, so that repentance and remission of sins could come to mankind and the Gospel Message could go forth in my name to all the nations, beginning at Jerusalem. And you are witnesses of these things. Now I am sending the Promise of My Father, the promised Holy Spirit upon you; but I want you all to wait in the city of Jerusalem until you are endued with that power from on high. You will be baptized in the Holy Spirit soon." After he had spoken those words he ascended up into heaven, right away up into the clouds and beyond, and he was out of sight. Then we turned and saw that two men dressed totally in white were standing there, I couldn’t here properly what those men were saying because I was too far away but I heard afterwards that they had said "Men of Galilee, why do you stand here looking up into the sky? This same Jesus, who has been taken from you into heaven, will come back in the same way you have seen him go into heaven." Jesus had gone from my sight again but I knew he was alive and the disciples told us that he had told them before the crucifixion that Jesus would be sitting at the Father’s right hand, he had gone to prepare our heavenly homes, mansions no less, and some day we would see him again, but he was not going to leave us as orphans for he was sending the Comforter, the Holy Spirit who would live in us and Jesus had said he would empower us to do even greater things than he had done because we

believed and all that we would do would be in the authority that he himself was giving us as believers. Then Jesus prayed for us and for believers that would come after us. I am sharing what I have gathered from this marvellous prayer below. Father, I will soon be returning to you. My prayer is that my people can experience my joy completed in them. I gave them your Word; The godless of this world have hated them because of it, because they didn't join in with worldly ways, just as I didn't join the world's ways. I'm not asking that you take them out of the world but I am asking you to guard them from the Evil One. They are no more defined by the world, than I am defined by the world. Make them pure and holy, sanctify them with the truth for your Word is consecrating truth. In the same way that you gave me a mission in this world, I am now giving them a mission in the world. I'm consecrating myself for their sakes and so they'll know the truth in their mission. I'm praying not only for them but also for those who will believe in me in days to come, because of them and others and their witness about me. The goal is for all of them to become of one heart and mind just as you Father, are in me and I in you, my prayer is that they might be one heart and mind, with each other and with us. Then the world might believe that you, my dear Father have in fact, sent me, the same glory you gave me, I gave them, so they'll walk in unity and love, becoming like us, I in them and you in me. Then they'll be mature in their unity of mind and spirit and give the godless world evidence that you have indeed sent me and loved them in the same way you've loved me. Father, I want those you gave me to be with me where I am, so they can see my glory, the splendour you gave me, having loved me long before there ever was a world. The world has never known you, but I have known you, and these disciples know that you sent me on this mission. I have made your very being known to them, who you are and what you do and I will continue to make it known, that they might know you as Father. so that your love for me might be in them, just as I am in them.

Copyright © 2009 Irene McGough Disciples of Jesus Ministry

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