Monthly Archives: April 2021

Devotions

He Has Risen

Today we are celebrating the most important day of the year – the resurrection of Jesus from the dead. We are celebrating the fact that someone who really died, really came alive again.

Mark 16:1-8

When the Sabbath was over, Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James, and Salome, bought spices, so that they might come and anoint Him. Very early on the first day of the week, they *came to the tomb when the sun had risen. They were saying to one another, “Who will roll away the stone for us from the entrance of the tomb?” Looking up, they *saw that the stone had been rolled away, although it was extremely large. Entering the tomb, they saw a young man sitting at the right, wearing a white robe; and they were amazed. And he *said to them, “Do not be amazed; you are looking for Jesus the Nazarene, who has been crucified. He has risen; He is not here; behold, here is the place where they laid Him. But go, tell His disciples and Peter, ‘He is going ahead of you to Galilee; there you will see Him, just as He told you.’” They went out and fled from the tomb, for trembling and astonishment had gripped them; and they said nothing to anyone, for they were afraid.

For Jesus Mama Mary who had stood beneath the cross there was no doubt that Jesus had died. They heard his last words above the jeering of the crowds; they had witnessed his agony and then his death. They helped Joseph of Arimathea get Jesus’ lifeless body down from the cross and carry it to a tomb. They caught their last glimpse of the one they loved as the stone was rolled over the entrance of the grave.

Mary holding in her arms the torn and broken body of her son. Then they caught their last glimpse of the one they loved as the stone was rolled over the entrance of the grave. Mary’s expression of grief the as her whole body crying “Why?”. She represents all of us when we are faced with the same cruel reality of death, the pain and sorrow that death brings, the emptiness and the sense of a dead-end that fills our souls. The pain that Mary, and the other women must have felt as they laid Jesus to rest in the tomb must have been excruciating. 

Excruciating is a good word. It comes from Latin which means “from the cross” – it includes pain, agony, despair, in fact any kind of feeling that might be associated with death.

When these same women went to the tomb early on Sunday morning it’s no wonder that they were puzzled at first when they found the stone rolled away and the tomb empty. This puzzlement turned to fear as they saw two men with the brightest of bright clothing standing in the tomb. “Why do you seek the living among the dead? He isn’t here, but is risen.” (vv. 5-6). And then with the joy and excitement they raced off to tell the disciples what they had seen and what the angels had told them. “He isn’t here, but is risen”.

But Easter morning brings a new light on death and it impact on our lives. There will always be death in this world, but the angel tells the women in Jesus’ empty tomb, he says to us, “You have nothing to fear”.The message tells us that even in the cruellest times, there is hope.

When I use the word “hope” I am talking about a certainty, something definite and true. Easter gives us a definite and certain future beyond the grave. The apostle Paul talked about this quite a bit in his letters saying that because of Easter we can be sure that death has been defeated. Death does not have the last say over our eternal future. Jesus removed the power of death to harm us when he died and then rose again from the dead. Paul said, “But now Christ has been raised from the dead. He became the first fruits of those who are asleep” (1 Cor 15:20). Death is not the end, but the beginning of a glorious new life in heaven.

Easter brings the great good news that He is risen. Jesus’ resurrection from the dead has made our own life beyond the grave certain and true. He is lord and master of death. He has made it possible for all the trust and believe in him to have life forever. There is no doubt about this. This is certain and true. Life is not a matter of skipping across the surface of a lake like a smooth stone only to end up sinking beneath the surface, gone forever. 

Heaven is not some vague idea of a place we hope to go to when we die. It is certain and true. Heaven is real. Eternal life is real. Jesus has given us the victory. There is life after this life.

Yes, today we celebrate a victory. Christ has won the victory for us over the grave and assures us that death will not hold us down. We join with Paul in his shout: “But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.” (1 Corinthians 15:57).

This Holy Week focuses on the last week of Jesus’ life leading up to His crucifixion.  It begins with Palm Sunday where we celebrate His triumphant entry into Jerusalem.  How quickly the people’s cheers of praise turned into shouts of “Crucify Him!”  Jesus loved the people even knowing they would betray Him.  Jesus spent His last week teaching and loving His disciples.  He spent time praying for them and for us.  He shared an intimate last meal with His closest friends on this earth.  They loved Him so much.  Yet they, too, would all too quickly turn and run away from Him, when things turned difficult and scary.  Jesus modeled servanthood by washing the dirty feet of His brothers.  A King humbled, setting an example for us to follow. 

Unfair trials took place.  Jesus was tortured and abused, both physically and verbally.  Our beautiful Savior was mocked and spit upon.  He was stripped and put on display.  He endured lashing after lashing as He was whipped.  He could have stopped it all.  Why didn’t He?  Because Jesus knew that my sinfulness separated me from a Holy God.  Nothing but a perfect sacrifice could take that sinfulness away.  Perfect Jesus laid down His life for me, to make a way for me to be forgiven and become friends with the Creator of the Universe.  I am humbled.  I am thankful.  I am eternally His.  I owe Him my entire life.  If this were the end of the story, it would be so sad.  But oh no my friends.  The man that owns me and gets all my devotion and love is more powerful than death.  You say, “What?”  Yes.  The God I love and serve is more powerful than death.  On the third day, Jesus rose from the dead forever conquering the grave and our enemy Satan.  When I accepted His gift of forgiveness and salvation, I invited King Jesus to come into my life and make me whole.  I wanted to be forgiven and become a child of God.  And He did just that!  I am forever changed.  I received His Holy Spirit and am sealed, a Jesus girl, headed to heaven one day.  Jesus did this for you too.  Won’t you accept His gift too this Easter?

He is not here, for He has risen, just as He said. Come, see the place where He was lying.” 

Matthew 28:6

Let us rejoice this day that we love and serve a risen Savior, not some dead man buried in a tomb across the ocean.  My Savior lives.  I know He lives because He lives within me!  Hallelujah!  Happy Resurrection Sunday.