Week of: Feb. 21, 2011
Sharing by: Pam Crawford
On the first day of the week, very early in the morning, the women took spices they had prepared and went to the tomb. They found the stone rolled away from the tomb, but when the entered, they did not find the body of Jesus. While they were wondering about this, suddenly two men in clothes that gleamed like lightening stood beside them. In their fright the women bowed down with their faces to the ground, but the men said to them, “Why do you look for the living among the dead? He is not here; he has risen! Remember how he told you, while he was still with you in Galilee: ‘The Son of Man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men, be crucified and on the third day be raised again.’” Then they remembered his words.
SEASON OF CHANGE
Last week in northeast Ohio we received our first glimmer of hope for spring 2011. With 60-degree temperatures in mid February, melting snow, and birds singing in the background, you just couldn’t help but wonder if this is a good sign. It has been a long winter and having just a few days of warmer temperatures and sunshine, encourages me that we’re rounding the corner and heading into better days. Winters in Ohio are just way too long!
Lately, I have been reflecting on another kind of hope, the resurrection of Jesus from the dead. At the tomb the women were asked, “Why do you look for the living among the dead?” This question challenges me as a woman that professes Christianity. I say this because way too often I don’t always respond to life’s challenges as someone who truly believes that Jesus is still very much alive and active within His church. Sometimes I act very much like the people of Jesus’ day. They heard His teachings, but when the time came they forgot what they had heard. Jesus had told them what would happen (Luke 9:22, 44; 18:31-33) and when it did, they did not respond like people with a renewed sense of hope. OMG, I do the same thing! I think it’s time that I lift up the shades of my heart and let some warmth in as I review the amazing story of the Resurrection. I would love for you to join me if you have some time this week. Be blessed.
Life’s Application Commentary:
“The resurrection of Jesus from the dead is the central fact of Christian history. On it, the church is built; without it, there would be no Christian church today. Jesus’ resurrection is unique. Other religions have strong ethical systems, concepts about paradise and the afterlife, and various holy scriptures. Only Christianity has a God who became human, literally died for his people, and was raised again in power and glory to rule his church forever.
Why is the Resurrection so important? (1) Because Christ was raised from the dead, we know that the Kingdom of Heaven has broken into earth’s history. Our world is now headed for redemption not disaster. God’s mighty power is at work destroying sin, creating new lives, and preparing us for Jesus’ second coming. (2) Because of the Resurrection, we know that death has been conquered and we, too, will be raised from the dead to live forever with Christ. (3) The Resurrection gives authority to the church’s witness in the world. Look at the early evangelistic sermons in the book of Acts: The Apostles’ more important message was the proclamation that Jesus Christ had been raised from the dead! (4) The Resurrection gives meaning to the church’s sacrament of the Lord’s Supper. Like Jesus’ followers on the Emmaus Road, we break bread with our risen Lord, who comes in power to save us. (5) The Resurrection helps us find meaning even in great tragedy. No matter what happens to us as we walk with the Lord, the Resurrection gives us hope for the future. (6) The Resurrection assures us that Christ is alive and ruling his Kingdom. He is not a legend; he is alive and real. (7) God’s power that brought Jesus back from the dead is available to us so that we can live for him in an evil world.
Christians can look very different from one another, and they can hold widely varying beliefs about politics, life-style, and even theology. But one central belief unites and inspires all true Christians:
Jesus Christ rose from the dead!”
Despite 2,000 years of evidence and many witness accounts, many people still refuse to believe in God at all, let alone the concept of the trinity which includes Jesus Christ. Some say they believe in a Creator; but when it comes to Jesus’ birth, death, resurrection, and ascension into Heaven, well this is just foolish story-telling. Although I am grateful that I am no longer amongst the category of non-believer; I realize today that something in me has to change. If I profess Christ, then I need to begin living all aspects of my life as if the living God were standing right next to me. Oh how I wish you could feel my heart and see the expression on my face today as I realize that I have once again heard the voice of the living God through Luke Chapter 24. I pray you are hearing it too.
I’ve been walking on my own road to Emmaus for quite some time now and I have heard many of the arguments against Christianity. I have had to work through many of my own set of doubts and have often fallen into Jesus’ category of “foolish people.” But there comes a time in ones life when we must decide what we really do believe. As the season is about to change, maybe this is a good time for some spiritual cleansing.
Luke 24:25: “Then Jesus said to them, “How foolish you are, and how slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken! Did not the Christ have to suffer these things and then enter his glory?”
Believers, Jesus is alive, celebrate your hope! Unbelievers, could there be something to the hope the Resurrection reflects? Please listen carefully to this last piece of commentary: “But we have not only the witness of the Old Testament prophets; we also have the witness of the New Testament apostles and the history of the Christian church testifying to Jesus’ victory over death. Will we confront the values of our culture and put our faith in Jesus? Or will we foolishly continue to ignore the good news.” (LASB)
Father, I thank you for your patience. I thank you that you have given each of us the ability to choose our own way. It is my prayer today that many will chose life. May we live and respond as people who understand that you are very much alive. May we live as people who believe that you promise to never leave us nor forsake us? And when something comes our way that we don’t understand, may we be reminded that you are Sovereign. You know all, see all and are working behind the scenes to bring about good from evil. You are still on your throne and in control. In Your Son’s name I pray blessings over your children. Amen.
Book suggestions: A Case for Faith by Lee Strobel
Knowing the Bible by Bruce Bickel and Stan Jantz