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TruthTalks: Walking With Jesus

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Walking (and TruthTalking) With Jesus

If you missed last weeks post HERE, I highly recommend you listen to this audio version which you can subscribe to through Podcast Addict, Podmania, iTunes, or whatever you use. As always, Dr Christopher Peppler delves into the scriptures and then gives us practical advice for living in today’s confusing world.

The dog barking in the background at odd moments is a bonus to enjoy *grin*

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Until next time, your Admin

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Walking With Jesus

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The events of the first Resurrection (Easter) Sunday started just before dawn when the Lord of life broke out of the tomb, and it ended at dusk after two disciples had the privilege of walking with Jesus on the road to Emmaus.

Every year at this time, we commemorate the most important day in human history. Peter stated its significance when he wrote that God ‘has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead’ (1 Peter 1:3).

Early in the morning of 6th April 30 AD Jesus of Nazareth rose up through his burial clothes and walked out of a sealed tomb. By the way, the angels did not roll away the stone securing the tomb to let Jesus out, but to let the disciples in to see that Jesus was no longer there.

Later that day, two disciples left Jerusalem to go back to their home in the little village of Emmaus some 11 kilometres away. The story of their journey is told in Luke 24:13-22, but let me recount it to you.

On the Road to Emmaus

One of the disciples was Cleopas and we can deduce that the other was his wife, Mary, because John 19:25 records that Cleopas’ wife Mary was with the other women observing the crucifixion. Although tradition holds that the ‘Clopas’ of John 19 is not the same person as the Cleopas of Luke 24, I believe that they were a married couple walking with Jesus to Emmaus.

The two of them were sad and confused and as they journeyed they were discussing the events of the weekend. Jesus walked up and joined them but they did not recognise him.

He asked them what they were talking about and Cleopas rather rudely retorted that he must be the only person in Jerusalem that didn’t know what had happened there.

They told him that they had hoped that Jesus was the one who was going to redeem Israel. Then they recounted all that had befallen him, Jesus… while he, the risen Lord, was walking with them. Jesus responded by rebuking them: “How foolish you are, and how slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken!”

Then comes a most significant statement in Luke’s account:

‘And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he explained to them what was said in all the scriptures concerning himself.’

What a bible study! What a privilege to have the author and subject of scripture teaching them! It is no wonder that later on, they said to each other, “Were not our hearts burning within us while he talked with us on the road and opened the scriptures to us?”

Just as it was getting dark, they arrived at Emmaus and the couple invited Jesus to stay and eat supper with them. They gave him the honour of breaking the bread. The account merely says that as Jesus was breaking the bread and giving it to them ‘their eyes were opened and they recognised him’. It is quite possible that as Jesus did this his wrists were exposed to view and they saw the fresh nail wounds. Jesus broke open through the grave clothes, broke open the scriptures, and opened their eyes as he broke the bread.

Recognising Jesus

We need to recognise that this Jesus, who opened the scriptures to those two disciples, is the same Jesus who opens them to us today.

This Jesus is ‘the fullness of the Deity living in bodily form (Colossians 2:9), and ‘the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of his being (Hebrews 1:30. This same Jesus stands before us today and says something like: “Here I am! I am your creator and the source of all knowledge and wisdom. So listen to me, copy me, obey me; and welcome my living my life in and through you.” Now, what would you call a bible-believing Christian who disregards this? We would have to call such a person what Jesus called the two disciples who walked with him; foolish and slow of heart to believe. For surely, what HE said, did, modelled, and revealed MUST be our primary guide to faith and life!

The Christocentric Principle

What I call this the Christocentric Principle is an approach to understanding the bible and life from a Jesus-perspective.

To be Christocentric, Jesus-centred is not just a matter of talking about him, or adding his name to the end of our prayers, or wearing a WWJD (What Would Jesus Do) bracelet. Nor is it just trying to find references, types of, or actual appearances in every book of the bible.

No, it is more about viewing the bible and life through Jesus-spectacles, the lens of what he said, did, modelled, and revealed. I do want to stress to you the importance of interpreting the bible Christocentricaly.
Other Lessons from Luke 24
While this is my main learning point for this article, we can draw several others from the narrative of walking with Jesus.
  • Firstly, God initiates encounters and we respond. He is neither evoked nor persuaded to appear to us. It was Jesus who approached the disciples on the road and not the other way around.
  • Sometimes we fail to recognise him when he does approach us because we don’t expect to encounter him. I remember, many years ago, what happened when I flew down to Cape Town to conduct my niece’s wedding. As I drove into the venues parking area in my rented car I spotted my elderly father being helped out of the car that had brought him and my mother. I rushed over to him and said “Hello there!”. I guess he hadn’t been told that I was flying in to conduct the wedding because he looked at me quizzically and asked, “and who might you be young man?” He didn’t recognise me at first because he wasn’t expecting to see me.
  • Thirdly, when we do encounter Jesus we tend to talk too much and listen too little – just like the two disciples.
  • Something else to note is that bible study is not just about Jesus but with him. We should commune with him as we read the bible, interacting with him in the context of the text and our lives.
  • Lastly, the Lord’s Table, Holy Communion, is not a ritual tagged onto the end of a church service. It should be what its ascription implies, communion with the living Lord of all – and it can be an eye-opening experience.
Examples and Applications

I want to move Christocentricity from the realm of theory to practice by giving a few examples of how it is applied. The main idea is to determine what Jesus taught or modelled either directly or indirectly concerning the text or life situation before us.

One issue that Jesus addressed directly is ADULTERY. As part of his Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 15) he explained the extent of the 7th Commandment, ‘you shall not commit adultery. So we don’t need to go further than this to know what it is and that it is prohibited.

But what about an issue that Jesus did not address directly, like HOMOSEXUALITY? Well, he didn’t teach on it but he did model how we should treat people involved in sexual sin. John 8 contains the story of how the Pharisees tried to trap Jesus by bringing him a woman caught in the act of adultery. The question was would he condemn her to death by stoning or would he pardon her? Jesus challenged any among them who was without sin to throw the first rock at her. They pondered this and then slunk off leaving the woman lying among their discarded rocks at Jesus’ feet. He asked her where those who had condemned her were and she observed that they had all gone. Then Jesus said to her, “Neither do I condemn you. Go now and leave your life of sin.

If we apply this to the issue of homosexuality, the lesson is quite clear; extend dignity and human worth, refrain from condemnation, but challenge clearly for changed behaviour in the future.

One last example that is also relevant to us today: May Christians arm themselves for SELF-PROTECTION. Well, just before he was arrested in the Garden of Gethsemane he told his disciples that their lives were about to change radically. He said that if they didn’t have a sword then they should sell their cloak if necessary to acquire one. (Luke 22). The disciples responded with “See Lord, here two swords” and Jesus retorted with “That is enough”. A short while later when the rabble came to arrest Jesus, Peter drew his sword and cut off the High Priest’s servants ear. Jesus immediately rebuked him with the words, “Put your sword away! Shall I not drink the cup the Father has given me?” (John 18:11).

I know that there have been several attempts to reinterpret this text, but for me the message is clear: We may protect ourselves but we may not attack others: self-defence but not aggression.

In these and other matters, there are many other aspects we need to consider and other scriptures we need to reference. However, we are bound to start with what Jesus said, did, modelled, and revealed and to use this as our primary method of determining correct interpretation and practice. If we did this consistently there would be less confusion and fewer squabbles over doctrine.


So then, Easter Friday is all about Jesus dying for our sin of rebellion so that we could be forgiven and restored. Resurrection Sunday morning is all about his rising from the dead to provide us with the template for new spiritual birth into eternal life.

Resurrection afternoon is all about Jesus walking with us and us with him along the road of life.

Jesus died for us and all we can do is believe and accept. He rose for us and his spirit alone gives us new birth into a living hope. Our life with him on this planet starts with our salvation and ends with our passing on into glory. However, between the start and the end, WE need to walk with him in trust and obedience. This walk would be so much more significant if we would make it too all about Jesus – walking out life by living out a Jesus-centred understanding and application of scripture.

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TruthTalks: What Happened After the Resurrection?

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There is an elaborate forty-day liturgical build-up to Easter, but very few people ask themselves:

Who did Jesus choose to talk to in the forty days after His resurrection  – and why did He choose them?
In this TruthTalks podcast, based THIS post, Dr Christopher Peppler takes us through the accounts of Jesus’ appearances during the few precious days before he returned to be with his Father in heaven. Could some have been to ordinary folk like you and me?

Listen to this TruthTalk by clicking on the play button below and please like, subscribe, and pass this on to anyone who you think may need to hear this uplifting message.

Best wishes, Admin (Karen)

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What Happened After the Resurrection

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Every year Christians pay a lot of attention to what happened before Easter Sunday, but what happened after the Resurrection?

Before Easter, many folks from some of the older denominations observe Lent. Starting from Ash Wednesday they observe a forty-day season incorporating The Annunciation, Palm Sunday, Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, Holy Saturday, and Easter Sunday. However, what is not generally observed is the forty-day period after his resurrection when Jesus appeared to select people. In this article, I want to focus on what he said to some of these people and how he acted towards them. I will be concentrating, not on the doctrinal aspects of this, but on the motives and emotions displayed.

Mary Magdalene

Mary was the first person to interact with Jesus after his resurrection. She was distraught, not only because just days before she had witnessed Jesus dying on the cross, but because the tomb where they had laid his body was now empty. She became aware of someone standing behind her, but she thought he was the gardener. He asked her why she was crying and who she was looking for. She asked him where he had taken the body of her Lord and he replied with just one word,“Mary.”

Perhaps it was because he knew her name that enabled her to recognise him through her tears, or perhaps it was the tender tone in which he said it. I suspect that it was the later.

Jesus then told her to go and tell the disciples that he was only going to be present for a short while and would then have to return to his Father. (John 20:10-18) What is particularly significant is that Jesus chose to reveal himself for the first time in his resurrected form to Mary before even to John or Peter. By doing this he indicated the special love he had for her and also her status among his disciples. In those days, women were regarded as inferior to men and not to be taken seriously, but Jesus thought otherwise.

Simon Peter

In the evening of Resurrection Sunday, Jesus appeared to his disciples, but 1 Corinthians 15:5 records that at some time between dawn and dusk of that day Jesus first met with Peter. We don’t know what he said to Peter because nothing is recorded in the Gospels concerning this. It must have been a private meeting, just between the two of them. How would Peter have been feeling at the time? Well, he had betrayed the Lord and fled and as a result had not been there for Jesus when he died on the cross. Peter must have been feeling devastated – ashamed, desperately sad, and worthless. But Jesus chose to appear to him before meeting with the other disciples. What comfort this must have been for Simon Peter.

The two on the road to Emmaus

Sometime during the course of Resurrection Sunday, Jesus met with two disciples who were journeying from Jerusalem to Emmaus. They were not part of the group of twelve and the scriptures do not even give us their names. Yet Jesus chose to walk with them and to give them a bible study unlike any ever received from Jesus. ‘He explained to them what was said in all the Scriptures concerning himself’ (Luke 24:27) What a privilege! What made them special? Probably nothing, but Jesus chose to favour them; two ordinary unknown men.

The disciples

That evening, while the two from the encounter on the road were telling the disciples what had happened, Jesus suddenly appeared in the room with them (Luke 24:36). John 20:19-24 adds the detail that the disciples were in a locked room in fear of being arrested; no wonder that they were startled when they saw him. But I want to skip to the next time that Jesus met with his disciples because on that Sunday night James was missing from the group. John 20:26-28 records for us how Jesus returned a week later to appear again to his band of disciples that this time included Thomas. Why did Jesus do this? The only answer obvious from the Gospel account is because Thomas doubted that Jesus had truly risen from the dead and had appeared to the others. Jesus did not scold him or criticise him, but instead provided him with solid physical evidence. For me, Thomas stands in scripture not so much as ‘doubting Thomas’, but as ‘Blessed Thomas’, a man who received abundant grace and compassion from the Saviour.

The Galilee appearances

John 21, Matthew 28 and 1 Corinthians 15 record or mention two other appearances by the risen Lord of Life. He met with his disciples at the sea of Galilee, ate with them and reestablished Peter as the leader of his church. Then at another time, he met with James and also appeared to a group of about 500 people.

The Ascension

Jesus’ last appearance to his disciples was on mount Olivet where he blessed them and then ascended into Heaven. Luke gives the detail that this occurred on the Bethany side of the mount of Olives (Luke 24:50-53) probably at or very near to the spot where he had stood and grieved over Jerusalem (Matthew 23:37). But why did Jesus choose this particular spot?

We know that the town of Bethany was where the home of his dear friends, Mary, Martha, and Lazarus was located and that it was Jesus’ home base in the days leading up to the crucifixion. Since leaving Nazareth to start his public ministry, this must have been the nearest thing to a home that Jesus had on Earth. Upon the hill overlooking this home was the place Jesus chose to return to his eternal home in heaven, his Father’s home.

What we can draw from this

I am writing this article in extraordinary times. The Corona Virus Pandemic is sweeping the world and I, like millions of others are under lockdown. Things are growing desperate as food runs out for so many of the poor, untold scores of people from all parts of society have lost their jobs. Most people are anxious and even afraid and many are lonely. So at times like this, it is comforting to consider how Jesus treated ordinary people like us.

He comforted and affirmed his friend Mary, restored Peter’s dignity and purpose, and poured out his grace and knowledge upon two unknown disciples. He assured Thomas, blessed his followers, and the last thing he probably saw as he ascending back to heaven was the home of his friends.
Would he not reach out to each of us, equally ordinary people, in our confusion and disquiet? Yes he would; yes he does.

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TruthTalks Sermons

TruthTalks Sermon – The Easter Earthquakes

Passover weekend is fast approaching, so it’s time to consider again the wonder and glory of the resurrection of Jesus from the dead.

In this sermon, I give some fascinating evidences of the validity of the resurrection as well as insight into one of the strangest passages of the Bible, Matthew 27:52-53.

Be blessed and encouraged as you celebrate again the earth-shaking event that changed our world forever.
Kindest regards,


You can listen to or download the sermon by clicking on the play button below or subscribing to the podcast. You can also listen or download other sermons HERE.

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About Me

My name is Christopher Peppler and I was born in Cape Town, South Africa in 1947. While working in the financial sector I achieved a number of business qualifications from the Institute of Bankers, Damelin Management School, and The University of the Witwatersrand Business School. After over 20 years as a banker, I followed God’s calling and joined the ministry full time. After becoming a pastor of what is now a quite considerable church, I  earned an undergraduate theological qualification from the Baptist Theological College of Southern Africa and post-graduate degrees from two United States institutions. I was also awarded the Doctor of Theology in Systematic Theology from the University of Zululand in 2000.

Four years before that I established the South African Theological Seminary (SATS), which today is represented in over 70 countries and has more than 2 500 active students enrolled with it. I presently play an role supervising Masters and Doctoral students.

I am a passionate champion of the Christocentric or Christ-centred Principle, an approach to biblical interpretation and theological construction that emphasises the centrality of Jesus

I have been happily married to Patricia since the age of 20, have two children, Lance and Karen, a daughter-in-law Tracey, and granddaughters Jessica and Kirsten. I have now retired from both church and seminary leadership and devote my time to writing, discipling, and the classical guitar.

If you would like to read my testimony to Jesus then click HERE.