Sunday morning....Sabbath is ended........as dawn was approaching, Mary Magdalene, Joanna, Mary the mother of James and several other women followers of Jesus, made their way to the tomb. An earthquake shattered the morning silence and when they arrived at the tomb, they found the HUGE boulder rolled away from the tomb!! They had been wondering on their way there how they would move it...now it is was moved aside. They peeked inside. Jesus's body was gone!!! Instead there was an angel sitting there where He had been lain and He spoke to them saying "Why do you seek the living among the dead? He is not here. HE IS RISEN!!! "
As noted yesterday, the disciples had fled on the night Jesus was arrested. Some...maybe all of them...had watched the scene unfold at a distance. When it was over, they had fled to a room and hid in fear and trembling behind closed doors. The women, on the other hand, had followed Joseph of Arimathea all the way to the tomb and watched as he prepared the body, noting where he was placed. As soon as it was light enough after the Sabbath, they hurried back there. Still, no sign of the disciples. Why were these women so devoted? I've thought about it a lot. I really think that it is because of our makeup as women that found them returning. Women are more relationship oriented than men. Men are goal oriented. The disciples' goal was to follow Jesus and see Him set up His kingdom. Instead he was killed, gone forever (they thought). They were confused, perplexed and saddened. The women loved Jesus. Their hearts were drawn to Him. He had set Mary Magdalene free from 7 demons!! She would NEVER forget Him!! And now, even in death, they wanted to do all they could for Him. So they risked all to return to anoint the body of the One whom they loved and cherished.
Can you just imagine what it must have been like to see that stone rolled away and an angel where Jesus had been ? To hear his words "HE IS RISEN"!!!! They could hardly believe their eyes. Then the angel reminded them "Remember how He spoke to you when he was still in Galilee, saying 'The Son of Man must be betrayed into the hands of sinful men, be crucified, and rise on the third day?' " And then, Mary and the others DID remember. So they rushed to tell the disciples the good news. The disciples could not believe it. They thought it was nonsense. But....just in case...Peter and John ran to the tomb to see for themselves. It was true!! Not only was He gone, but the linen wrappings were still there and the napkin which had covered his face was there, neatly folded in a separate place, away from the linen wrappings. Could it be? Jesus was really alive?????
Yes, HE IS ALIVE!! He lives today! Of all the religious figures who ever lived, who are the basis of any religion, Jesus is the ONLY one who is ALIVE!!!!! Muhammed is not alive. Buddha is not alive. Joseph Smith is not alive. But....JESUS IS ALIVE!!
You may ask, "How do you KNOW He is alive? Have you seen Him? With my physical eyes...NO, not in human form. But I have seen him in a sunrise with blazing colors that take away your breath. I have seen him in the miracle of a newborn baby. I have seen him in the delicate beauty of a flower, with all its intricacies that did not happen by accident. I have seen him in lives changed. Have you heard Him? Not with my physical ears...not an audible voice. But I've heard Him still. I hear him in the wind, in the song of the birds, the crashing of the waves of the ocean. But more importantly, I've heard Him with my heart. I've heard Him speak from His Word. But most of all, I KNOW He lives because He lives within ME! The words of a song that we used to always sing at my mother-in-law's church, says it best :
I serve a risen Savior
He's in the world today
I know that He is living
Whatever men may say
I see His hand of mercy
I hear His voice of cheer
And just the time I need Him
He's always near
He lives, He lives
Christ Jesus lives today
He walks with me and talks with me
Along life's narrow way
He lives, He lives
Salvation to impart
You ask me how I know He lives?
He lives within my heart!
l---Alfred Ackley, 1933
The whole point of our journey this week has been to get to today...EASTER SUNDAY. The whole point of Jesus' life was to get to Easter Sunday. Although we focus a lot on what happened Friday...and it IS significant. Jesus had to die to atone for our sins. God says "Without the shedding of blood, there is no remission of sin". Hebrews 9:22. But had he remained in the grave, we would have not had life. Because He lives, we will live too.
In fact, I think it is important to note that there are only 2 kinds of people....dead or alive. It doesn't matter if you are rich or poor; black, white or red; American, European, African or Israeli; elite or homeless; tall or short, skinny or fat; none of that matters. It doesn't matter if you are on a church roll, if you are preacher, priest or rabbi; if you have written a thousand Christian books or worshipped Satan himself. You are either dead or alive. And what is the one thing dead people need most? It's not a bath or fancy clothes. It's not a new car or a mansion. It's not prestigious title or a fat checkbook. No, the one thing dead people need is life. And Jesus came to offer that to each of us. He came to offer that to YOU!! Why? Because if you have never received the free gift He offers to you through His death on the cross, you are still dead in your sins. You may be walking and talking in the flesh. But you are spiritually dead. We are ALL born spiritually dead, children of Adam. Jesus said "I came that you might have LIFE".
We each come into this world spiritually dead, owing a sin debt. "All have sinned and come short of the glory of God". (Romans 3:23) "There is none righteous, no not one!" (Romans 3:10). "The wages of sin is death" (Romans. 6:23). But, God sent His only Son into the world to pay that sin debt for each of us. When He hung on that cross from noon til 3:00 pm, God poured out His wrath on Jesus instead of on us. He bore the sins of the world and paid that debt that each of us owed. God could have stamped across the cross PAID IN FULL!! Jesus paid a debt He did not owe, because we owed a debt we could not pay. And now He offers to each of us that free gift. "For by grace are you saved through faith, not of works, lest any many should boast." (Ephesians 2: 8,9) We cannot earn it, we cannot buy it, we cannot even steal it. It is a free gift....free to us, but it cost God His only Son. It's not about what we DO, it's about what HE has already DONE. All that we must do is to believe and receive. Believe that Jesus is the Son of God, that He died on that cross to pay our sin debt and trust Him to do what He said He would do, come into our hearts and lives and give us eternal life with Him, taking us to Heaven when we die, to live with Him forever and ever.
Why would He do that? Because He loved us so much!! "Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son......whosoever shall confess that Jesus is the Son of God, God dwells i him and he in God." (I John 4: 10, 12) "God sent his only begotten son into the world that we might live through Him" (I John 4 :9) "For God so LOVED the world that He gave His only begotten Son that whosoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life." (John 3:16)
To sum it up, I want to take you to a webpage and ask you to listen to a song and read the lyrics. I think it will sum it up better than anything I could say. To me, it should have been the theme song to THE PASSION OF CHRIST. I pray you will take just a few minutes and go there today. I believe it will make your Easter even more meaningful. Go to:
Thank you for taking this journey to Easter with me. It has been a meaningful journey for me as I hope it has been for you. I hope it has made your Easter more significant. Remember, you are either dead or alive. Dead in your sins because you have never trusted Christ and received His free gift or you are alive IN HIM because you have received that free gift. If you have not, you can do it this very second. Just pray and ask Jesus to come into your life. Ask him to forgive your sins, to take control of your life and to be your Savior. He will do it. He said "Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and you will be saved." Call or email me if you want more information.
EASTER IS HERE...........JESUS IS RISEN.........HE IS ALIVE!!!! PRAISE THE LORD!!!
There in the ground His body lay
Light of the world by darkness slain
Then bursting forth in glorious day
Up from the grave He rose again
And as he stands in victory
Sin's curse has lost its grip on me
For I am His and he is mine
Bought with the precious blood of Christ!
No guilt in life no fear in death
This is the pow'r of Christ in me
From life' s first cry to final breath
Jesus commands my destiny
No pow'r of hell, no scheme of man
Can ever pluck me from His hand
Til he returns or calls me home
Here in the power of Christ I'll stand.
--In Christ Alone by Edward More
2 days ago