Tag Archives: John

Easter Sunday: Who are you?

This sharing of scripture and thoughts ends the Holy Week this Easter Sunday, 2014.  Now Christians have a commandment and a commission to follow.  We need to know who we are to do the best we can.

Who Are You?

 

John 13:33-35 (During the last supper with the Disciples and after Judas left, Jesus went on teaching. . . )

 

“Dear children, I will be with you only a little longer. And as I told the Jewish leaders, you will search for me, but you can’t come where I am going. So now I am giving you a new commandment: Love each other. Just as I have loved you, you should love each other. Your love for one another will prove to the world that you are my disciples.”

 

As we sit and look at each other or drive along the highways or rub shoulders in the stores, we see the faces of friends, family, strangers, and even foes. At those moments we register some tiny sense of recognition or evaluation of how they fit into our personal world.

Have you ever considered what others might think that same moment they see you? Would ‘Christian’ be the first descriptor that registers in their mind? Who are you in God’s eye?

Granted we often say we do not care what others think of us, but what if what we do, how we live, or even how we think is the key to whether or not God considers us his disciple?

In my study of these three verses during this past Holy Week, one of the study notes included a checklist of sorts for whether or not we are living this commandment:

Love is more than simply warm feelings; it is an attitude that reveals itself in action. How can we love others as Jesus loves us?

  • By helping when it’s not convenient,
  • by giving when it hurts,
  • by devoting energy to others’ welfare rather than our own,
  • by absorbing hurts from others without complaining or fighting back.

This kind of loving is hard to do. That is why people notice when you do it and know you are empowered by a supernatural source. [p. 1461, The NLT Chronological Study Bible]

 

John 14:15-17 (Jesus continues teaching during that last supper with his disciples.)

 

“If you love me, obey my commandments. And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Advocate, who will never leave you. He is the Holy Spirit, who leads into all truth. The world cannot receive him, because it isn’t looking for him and doesn’t recognize him. But you know him, because he lives with you now and later will be in you. . . . “

 

Who are you? Are you living your life in such a manner that others recognize you as a Christian? Do you know who you are yourself? Are you Peter? Are you Mary Magdalene? Are you Nicodemus? Are you Judas? Are you a Pharisee? Are you Paul, the Jewish leader or the converted Christian missionary? Are you Lazarus? Are you John, the Apostle?

We are asking the same questions today that were asked over 2,000 years ago. If we were walking the dusty paths of our community, would we have recognized Jesus?

Would we have been one of the Jewish faithful still waiting for a Messiah? If we were, wouldn’t we be wanting to hear this man talk? Or would we have looked at him and thought there is no way he could be the new tribal leader.

Would we have judged this man Jesus and his odd set of followers? I certainly cannot imagine what the setting would have been, but today such a person might be traveling in a tour bus or flying from stop to stop. If one man came out of the door and was followed by all these others who did nothing more than what he told them to do or to just sit and listen, I am not sure I would have recognized him.

Would we have been worldly Roman businessmen who happened to be in Jerusalem on business and witness this confusing power play between two religious groups?   If that were the case, would we have stuck to our business meetings and simply ignored the local hubbub or would we have been so curious we checked it out? In our society today, it would be reported on the local news station or posts would popup on Facebook sharing opinions. It would be difficult to hear and to make decisions based on just our own evaluation of the situation.

Who are you today? This Easter morning do you sense the renewal Christ offers us each and every Sunday as we come together for worship? Or do you walk away simply to resume your busy daily life with little regard to spiritual maintenance?

 

John 19:38-42 (The crucifixion was finished, Jesus was dead, and the Sabbath was just about to begin.)

 

Afterward Joseph of Arimathea, who had been a secret disciple of Jesus (because he feared the Jewish leaders), asked Pilate for permission to take down Jesus’ body. When Pilate gave permission, Joseph came and took the body away. With him came Nicodemus, the man who had come to Jesus at night. He brought about 75 pounds of perfumed ointment made from myrrh and aloes. Following Jewish burial custom, they wrapped Jesus’ body with the spices in long sheets of linen cloth. The place of crucifixion was near a garden, where there was a new tomb, never used before. And so, because it was the day of preparation for the Jewish Passover and since the tomb was close at hand, they laid Jesus there.

 

Who are you? Are you one of the faithful disciples who steps up even after Jesus has been crucified to take care of burial details? Have you been keeping your beliefs hidden? How do you suddenly have the nerve to show your loyalty even after Jesus is dead?

Trying to understand the events that unfolded that fateful Passover week takes knowledge of the Jewish customs and laws as well as the Roman laws. The situation was complicated and trying to fit all the details together is challenging, but Jesus died and on Friday, the day before the Jewish Sabbath, was the only time there was to do the work necessary to complete burial.

The Apostles and those closest to Jesus were all behind closed doors and in shock. Would you have been there with them or would you have been the secret followers who decided to take matters into your own hands and bury Jesus? Who are you?

John 20:1-2 (After Sabbath, the Jewish people resumed the business week on Sunday morning.)

 

Early on Sunday morning, while it was still dark, Mary Magdalene came to the tomb and found that the stone had been rolled away from the entrance. She ran and found Simon Peter and the other disciple, the one whom Jesus loved. She said, “They have taken the Lord’s body out of the tomb, and we don’t know where they have put him!”

 

            Jesus’ disciples included women. Mary Magdalene had already used perfume oil to cleanse Jesus’ feet earlier in the week, but she was considered a prominent, even wealthy, businesswoman and disciple. She and the other women, listed in the other gospels got, to work that Sunday morning because that was what was traditional. Some probably just walked away thinking that the trial and crucifixion meant there was nothing more to know. But not Mary; I wonder just how many women knew that Jesus was the Messiah and were strong enough to carry that belief forward even when word got out that the body of Jesus was missing.

Who are you? Just how do others describe you? Is Christian one of the first descriptors? Or do other words come to mind first such as businessman, farmer, professional, friendly, cold, judging, honest, two-faced? The list goes on and on how people describe each other, but the only thing that truly matters is whether all we meet know us as Christians first and foremost.

I want to be there right at Jesus’ feet. I don’t want to do everything he asks, but I am trying to do it anyway. Who I am depends on knowing why the rock was rolled away from the tomb’s door that day when Mary Magdalene arrived there that first Easter morning. I know Jesus lives. I know that God and Jesus are one. And I know that with the Holy Spirit I can deal with the messiness of this world the way God wants me to—by loving one another just as I want to be loved.

Who are we? We are God’s children and are loved by our father beyond our worldly comprehension. We are God’s hands and feet working with and for each other. We are one huge family who meets to worship together. We are one of so many who seek to know God, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost so well that we recognize them in every shape, form, and color there is. We are the ones who understand how a rock rolls away from the tomb’s door so Easter morning we are given the gift of eternal life.

 

John 20:11-18 (To end the Easter morning story. . .)

 

Mary was standing outside the tomb crying, and as she wept, she stooped and looked in. She saw two white-robed angels, one sitting at the head and the other at the foot of the place where the body of Jesus had been lying. “Dear woman, why are you crying?” the angels asked her.

Because they have taken away my Lord,” she replied, “and I don’t know where they have put him.”

She turned to leave and saw someone standing there. It was Jesus, but she didn’t recognize him. “Dear woman, why are you crying?” Jesus asked her. “Who are you looking for?”

She thought he was the gardener. “Sir,” she said, “if you have taken him away, tell me where you have put him, and I will go and get him.”

“Mary!” Jesus said.

She turned to him and cried out, “Rabboni!” (which is Hebrew for “Teacher”).

 

Closing prayer:

Dear Father,

Dear Jesus,

Dear Holy Ghost,

Praise and thanks we give to you

this Easter morning.

We acknowledge all the work,

all the pain,

and all the heartache

given for our salvation.

Open the hearts of those here

and those not here.

Help each one of us

find ways to model Jesus,

to reach out to those strangers

yet to meet you.

Let this Easter morning

reveal to us our true selves.

Let this Easter morning

show us how your love

is for all people.

Let this Easter morning

refresh our faith,

renew our energy

to be your disciples today. –Amen

 

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Just who is the Holy Spirit? How do you recognize him, her, it?

given on Sunday, May 19, 2013, Pentecost Sunday.

Opening Scripture:  Judge 3:10

10 The Spirit of the Lord came upon him, and he became Israel’s judge. He went to war against King Cushan-rishathaim of Aram, and the Lord gave Othniel victory over him.—the NLT

 

Have you ever heard those stories on the news about how someone could lift a car off a victim?  Or maybe how the neighbor runs into a burning house and saves a family?  Every once and a while a news story reports about a heroic feat on the battlefield.  Reactions to these stories range from complete disbelief to a prayer of thanks sent straight to God.              Typically these feats of heroism are credited to adrenalin, a hormone that acts as a full-body alert system.  Pursuing a deeper understanding, I learned that this is the hormone that causes an individual to react in either a fight or flight mode.  How does this fit in with understanding the Holy Spirit?

Reading through the opening scripture from Judges, I found the following statement in the study notes:

The phrase “The Spirit of the Lord came upon him,” was also spoken of the judges Gideon, Jephthat, and Samson, among others.  It expresses a temporary and spontaneous increase of physical, spiritual, or mental strength.  This was an extraordinary and supernatural occurrence to prepare a person for a special task.  (Life Application Study Bible, p. 381)

 

Does that not sound like the definition of adrenaline!  Even the ancient people, the faithful tribes of Israel, acknowledged that something unique worked in extraordinary situations.

Yet, there is a twist to our understanding—the Holy Spirit.  In Judges, this unique force is identified as the Spirit of God.  Reading through the listing of verses relating to the Holy Spirit, the Old Testament inclusions are overwhelming outnumbered by the references to the Holy Spirit in the New Testament.  The Judges study note adds in one more line for better understanding:

The Holy Spirit is available to all believers today, but he will come upon believers in an extraordinary way for special tasks.  We should ask the Holy Spirit’s help as we face our daily problems as well as life’s major challenges.  (Ibid.)

 

How often does something come up in our lives and we have to decide—fight it or flee it?  Recognizing the Holy Spirit and understanding how it works can help us manage the “fight or flight” response that hits us in difficult times.

As Christians, we are equipped with all that we could possibly need to manage the life issues that are constantly popping up in our lives.  Once we can acknowledge that there is a God, that he did send his Son Jesus Christ to teach us and to die for our sins, then we are linked directly to God’s adrenaline—the Holy Spirit.

Remember the verse I frequently reference, Philippians 4:13: “I can do everything through him (Christ) who gives me strength.”   A new level of understanding leaped out once again—the Holy Spirit is God’s adrenaline that makes it possible for us to manage all the unexpected, often un-Christian, experiences we stumble into during our lives.

God’s adrenaline.  The more science explains, the more I see God.  When God decided to create man and woman, he thought of absolutely everything.  The problem is that humans began using free will to out do, out think, or out maneuver God.  The business of living got into the way and blinded us to God’s power.

Now Christians are faced with a new quandary:  How do I know when the Holy Spirit is available and working?  Obviously one should know because as practicing Christians we go to worship, we believe in Christ, and we live out the Golden Rule.  Or, do we?  Maybe we go through the motions without really connecting to God, you know, by talking and listening to him.

Many days I know that students or family members do not hear what I am saying; therefore, it stands to reason that we do the same type of ‘hearing’ with God.  We are what we do.  This may be why Peter and Paul applied so much emphasis in their ministries to the Holy Spirit.

In Luke’s second book, Acts, he shares how Peter and Paul introduce the earliest Christians to the Holy Spirit.  The first half is Peter’s work of the Holy Spirit, and the second is Paul’s.  But, in Acts 1:4-5, Luke writes what Christ said:

. . . “Do not leave Jerusalem until the Father sends you the gift he promised, as I told you before. John baptized with[a] water, but in just a few days you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.”  –the NLT

 

Through baptism, each individual is empowered by the Holy Spirit.  We symbolize that with the use of water, but consider the immense strength we are granted once empowered by the Holy Spirit!  There is a problem, though.  How do we know, really know, that we now exist with such a gift?

That is a tough question to answer.  Maybe we need to realize again God supplied these bodies he designed with that special hormone ‘adrenaline.’  Even when we do not consciously think, many times our bodies react with amazing skill, agility, and/or strength.  The fight-or-flight response is beyond our conscious control in many critical circumstances.

Still, there is the concept of the Holy Spirit as an additional presence with us, just not a visible presence.  Mull this idea over:

During that short time [30 years of Jesus’ life] the church was established, and the gospel of salvation was taken throughout the world, even to the capital of the Roman Empire.  Those preaching the gospel, though ordinary people with human frailties and margins, were empowered  [emphasis added] by the Holy Spirit to take the Good News “all over the world” (Acts 17:6).  Throughout the book of Acts we learn about the nature of the church and how we today are also to go about turning our world upside down.  (Ibid. p.1942)

 

The Apostles and the earliest disciples were just the average person like us, working to keep their families fed, sheltered, and clothed.  They were picked by Jesus or called by God to transform the world around them.

Today, we are the disciples.  We accepted God and Jesus and the Holy Spirit when we were baptized.  We joined a particular church because it provided us with a community of believers who wanted to see God in action.  Peter uses the story of Stephen as an example of how the Holy Spirit empowers the faithful:

Acts 6:8-10:  Stephen, a man full of God’s grace and power, performed amazing miracles and signs among the people. But one day some men from the Synagogue of Freed Slaves, as it was called, started to debate with him. They were Jews from Cyrene, Alexandria, Cilicia, and the province of Asia. 10 None of them could stand against the wisdom and the Spirit with which Stephen spoke.  –the NLT

 

Again the study notes make a point of explaining that Stephen could not have managed all the lies, the imprisonments, the abuse, and the stoning if he had not accepted the Holy Spirit’s presence in his life.  God’s adrenaline provides us the physical, mental, and spiritual strength to manage all the un-Christian influences in our lives.

Just who is the Holy Spirit?  How do we recognize him, her, or it?  There is no simple answer to that question, but remember that science has been able to identify the hormone adrenaline and to explain how it works.  Compare that same understanding to the Holy Spirit.

We may not physically see it, but we know it is there.  We know that when life hands us the challenges, God has given us the Holy Spirit to manage.  The Holy Spirit is God’s adrenaline that makes it possible to do all things through Christ who strengthens us.  You will recognize it when life puts you to the test:

  • Maybe you are diagnosed with an extreme medical condition.  Knowing that God is right there, simply call out to him for the strength to manage.
  • Maybe some fraudulent person or company victimizes you by an accident or a scam.  Rely on the Holy Spirit to guide you through the problem successfully.
  • Maybe you are handed a task at work or even one you choose to take on that others say you can’t do.  Think positively and thank God that he has provided you the Holy Spirit to work through it with you.

Just who is the Holy Spirit and how do you recognize it can be answered much more simply than one could ever expect:  Once you accept Christ into your life, you accept the reality of God’s adrenaline, too.  You know the Holy Spirit whenever you tackle some issue in your life that others might consider too much to handle.  The Holy Spirit will give you the skills and the strength to handle the extraordinary situation in such a manner that others will think you are extraordinary.

Closing  prayer:

Dear God in Three,

We believe in you as one of three.

We believe in your presence

in this universe we live.

We believe that you joined us

on this earth in the form of Jesus.

We believe that Jesus ascended into heaven

but you empowered us with the Holy Spirit.

Guide us daily in modeling your grace and love

to others in our homes, communities, and countries.

Guide us in acting fearlessly to the daily challenges

that pop up around us.

Guide us in serving one another in love,

never tiring because we are empowered.

Thank you for the gift of the Holy Spirit.

May we recognize how it gives us the strength

to do all that we can for all that we can

whenever and where ever we can.  –Amen

 

Closing Scripture:  Philippians 1:1-4

3 Whatever happens, my dear brothers and sisters,[a] rejoice in the Lord. I never get tired of telling you these things, and I do it to safeguard your faith.

Watch out for those dogs, those people who do evil, those mutilators who say you must be circumcised to be saved. For we who worship by the Spirit of God[b] are the ones who are truly circumcised. We rely on what Christ Jesus has done for us. We put no confidence in human effort, though I could have confidence in my own effort if anyone could. Indeed, if others have reason for confidence in their own efforts, I have even more!  –the NLT

 

 

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Such a Long Wait and Now This!

given on Easter Sunday, March 31, 201

Scripture I:  Matthew 25;31-36 from the NLT

31 “But when the Son of Man[a] comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit upon his glorious throne. 32 All the nations[b] will be gathered in his presence, and he will separate the people as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. 33 He will place the sheep at his right hand and the goats at his left.

34 “Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the Kingdom prepared for you from the creation of the world. 35 For I was hungry, and you fed me. I was thirsty, and you gave me a drink. I was a stranger, and you invited me into your home. 36 I was naked, and you gave me clothing. I was sick, and you cared for me. I was in prison, and you visited me.’

Part A:  The Wait

            Reviewing the chronology of the Bible opens up such a different perspective towards Christianity’s development.  The timeline can create separation of historical events, but it also creates an understanding how critical faith is when battling evil influences.  In a way, studying the timeline creates hope.

            The 400-year gap between Malachi’s prophecies and the birth of the Messiah seems a long time to wait.  Finally the word was out and the faithful heard that the Messiah had arrived.  Some actually were able to meet Jesus face to face; some were healed and were raving over the powers of this man.  The change in lives all around the region was happening and word was spreading.  Finally, after waiting for 400 years, the King of the Jews was alive and with them!

Who would have thought that at the very time that Jesus was becoming well known to the people, the Jewish leaders were skeptical and feeling threatened.  Rather than recognize the truth of who Jesus is, they battled it.

We can relate to that.  Every time a major cultural shift occurs or some dramatic event happens or we experience a life-changing event personally, we face uncertainty.  Our fears bubble up and we find ourselves fighting the change that is thrust upon us.  We know that the change could be good, but it is so far from what we know and are comfortable with.

Jesus understands this.  And knowing the work to be done, knowing all as God knows all, he was aware was going on in the minds of the Jewish leaders and the political leaders of Rome.  Yet, he continues preaching, teaching, and healing.  The crowds continue to grow.  It is difficult to remain in the background.  The stories travel ahead of him, faster than his can.

After all the centuries of waiting for the Messiah, the three short years were coming to a climax.  And Jesus knows.  It is almost Passover week, the biggest holiday in the Jewish faith.  The story continues in Matthew 26:

1When Jesus had finished saying all these things, he said to his disciples, “As you know, Passover begins in two days, and the Son of Man[a] will be handed over to be crucified.”

Jesus says this right out loud to his Disciples.  They are still trying to understand the words Jesus just said about the final judgment and now he is saying he will be crucified.  Just imagine the confusion, the shock, even the fear.

Yet, Jesus, the Son of God, knew.  The gospel of Matthew continues:

At that same time the leading priests and elders were meeting at the residence of Caiaphas, the high priest, plotting how to capture Jesus secretly and kill him.

The 400-year wait for the Messiah has ended, and now in just these three short years of Jesus’ ministry, He is saying that He is going to be crucified!

The quiet, unassuming man that the people were flocking to hear, who teaches just one commandment, who heals people even raises them from the dead, who reaches out to everybody in love whether Jew or Gentile, is saying to those closest to him that he is going to be killed.  Preposterous!

But Jesus knew and now it was time to demonstrate who he was in a way that others would see and marvel.  The best time was a holiday, Passover, because everybody who was anybody was in Jerusalem for the festival.  The timing is now!

In the NLT Study Notes of the chronological Bible, the story is presented in parallel, also.  After telling the disciples what is to happen, another twist to the story is developing also included in Mark 14:1-2:

“But not during the Passover celebration,” they agreed, “or the people may riot.”

The study note for verse 2 reads:

The Jews were preparing to observe Passover, a time of remembrance for families to celebrate when the blood of lambs had saved their ancestors.  But some of the religious leaders had another agenda.  Jesus had disrupted their security, revealed their sham, and opposed their authority.  Now they would put him away.  But the world is controlled by our all-wise God, not puny politicians.  God would turn the religious leaders’ murder plot into the greatest blessing that mankind would ever know.  Another Lamb would be slain, and his blood would save all people.  When grief or disaster seem to be dominating, remember that your life is in God’s hands and remember what Jesus did for you. (Emphasis added, p. 1453)

When we are suffering, when we face our challenges, we must remember that God is with us.  He never gives us more than we can handle; and today we know evil lurks all around us, even within our closest ring of family and friends.

Scripture II:  Luke 23:26-38

26 As they led Jesus away, a man named Simon, who was from Cyrene,[b] happened to be coming in from the countryside. The soldiers seized him and put the cross on him and made him carry it behind Jesus. 27 A large crowd trailed behind, including many grief-stricken women. 28 But Jesus turned and said to them, “Daughters of Jerusalem, don’t weep for me, but weep for yourselves and for your children. 29 For the days are coming when they will say, ‘Fortunate indeed are the women who are childless, the wombs that have not borne a child and the breasts that have never nursed.’ 30 People will beg the mountains, ‘Fall on us,’ and plead with the hills, ‘Bury us.’[c] 31 For if these things are done when the tree is green, what will happen when it is dry?[d]

32 Two others, both criminals, were led out to be executed with him. 33 When they came to a place called The Skull,[e] they nailed him to the cross. And the criminals were also crucified—one on his right and one on his left.

34 Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they don’t know what they are doing.”[f] And the soldiers gambled for his clothes by throwing dice.[g]

35 The crowd watched and the leaders scoffed. “He saved others,” they said, “let him save himself if he is really God’s Messiah, the Chosen One.” 36 The soldiers mocked him, too, by offering him a drink of sour wine. 37 They called out to him, “If you are the King of the Jews, save yourself!” 38 A sign was fastened above him with these words: “This is the King of the Jews.”

39 One of the criminals hanging beside him scoffed, “So you’re the Messiah, are you? Prove it by saving yourself—and us, too, while you’re at it!”

40 But the other criminal protested, “Don’t you fear God even when you have been sentenced to die? 41 We deserve to die for our crimes, but this man hasn’t done anything wrong.” 42 Then he said, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your Kingdom.”

43 And Jesus replied, “I assure you, today you will be with me in paradise.”

Sermon:  . . . and Now This?

Part B

            Yes, the story continues and includes evil and treachery.  Jesus is betrayed, arrested, tried, and sentenced to death.  The story seems so short after such a long wait.  How could this be?  For four hundred years we waited to see the fulfillment of Malachi’s prophecy, not to mention the 2,000+ years before Malachi.  The stories told through the generation could not end like this.

Yet, woven into the prophecies of the Old Testament is the foreshadowing of the Messiah’s life.  The prediction of betrayal, the prediction of death, and the prediction of defeating death are also in the prophecies, but those stories are not surfacing in the excitement Jesus’ work the past three years.  And then there is the holiday—Passover.

Unfortunately the story continues right through a trial, on through the horrible journey to the Golgotha, the blood dripping from His brow, the nailing of his hands to the cross—even his feet.  The long 400-year wait is coming to an end like this?  How can this story end like this?

The story does continue, the death on the cross is not the end of the story; it is the beginning of the new life.  Returning to Luke, let’s hear more of the story:

The Death of Jesus

44 By this time it was about noon, and darkness fell across the whole land until three o’clock. 45 The light from the sun was gone. And suddenly, the curtain in the sanctuary of the Temple was torn down the middle. 46 Then Jesus shouted, “Father, I entrust my spirit into your hands!”[h] And with those words he breathed his last.

47 When the Roman officer overseeing the execution saw what had happened, he worshiped God and said, “Surely this man was innocent.” 48 And when all the crowd that came to see the crucifixion saw what had happened, they went home in deep sorrow.[k] 49 But Jesus’ friends, including the women who had followed him from Galilee, stood at a distance watching.

For 400 hundred years, the Jewish people waited.  What they expected was a powerful display of power, possibly wars fought, possibly a coronation, but now this!  This crucifixion is not the ending to the reign of a king, it is the lowest form of punishment for petty criminals.  Is this the way the story ends?  No.

Scripture III:  Luke 23:50-24:8

The Burial of Jesus

50 Now there was a good and righteous man named Joseph. He was a member of the Jewish high council, 51 but he had not agreed with the decision and actions of the other religious leaders. He was from the town of Arimathea in Judea, and he was waiting for the Kingdom of God to come. 52 He went to Pilate and asked for Jesus’ body. 53 Then he took the body down from the cross and wrapped it in a long sheet of linen cloth and laid it in a new tomb that had been carved out of rock. 54 This was done late on Friday afternoon, the day of preparation,[l] as the Sabbath was about to begin.

55 As his body was taken away, the women from Galilee followed and saw the tomb where his body was placed. 56 Then they went home and prepared spices and ointments to anoint his body. But by the time they were finished the Sabbath had begun, so they rested as required by the law.

The Resurrection

24 But very early on Sunday morning[m] the women went to the tomb, taking the spices they had prepared. They found that the stone had been rolled away from the entrance. So they went in, but they didn’t find the body of the Lord Jesus. As they stood there puzzled, two men suddenly appeared to them, clothed in dazzling robes.

The women were terrified and bowed with their faces to the ground. Then the men asked, “Why are you looking among the dead for someone who is alive? He isn’t here! He is risen from the dead! Remember what he told you back in Galilee, that the Son of Man[n] must be betrayed into the hands of sinful men and be crucified, and that he would rise again on the third day.”

We acknowledge Jesus as the son of man, but more importantly the Son of God.  The story continues even if the son of man is dead because it is the Son of God who lives.  What lurks ahead is yet unknown.  What happens during our week may be planned, but nothing guarantees that it will go, as we want it to go.  God is in charge.  If Jesus can trust God, then we can, too.  The end result is the gift of eternal life with God.  And that is the story that never ends, it is why we come together to celebrate the life of Jesus Christ this Easter morning.

Dear God, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit,

We celebrate the gift of Your Son today. 

We acknowledge His work during those short three years.

As we share in the warmth of our Christian family,

     help us to strengthen our resolve to love one another.

As we face daily challenges at home, at work, or at play

     help us to identify evil and turn away from its clutch.

As we look into the faces of family, friends, co-workers,

          and strangers, help us to see You.

 As we offer food, clothing, shelter, and love to those in need,

     let the world see what a difference Your grace makes

     and how loving one another transforms lives.  –Amen

 

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