Resurrection Thoughts

Because my Sunday School class will be involved in other things next week, I taught my “Teens” about the betrayal of Jesus, His trial, death, and Resurrection in our class this past Sunday. It is a story that never gets old to me. Though it seems very childish, I chose to “read” the story (pictures and all) to the class, as though they were younger, but we stopped and discussed the events as I read. It was one of the most rewarding of times I’ve ever taught the Resurrection and the events around it. It was noted how Peter so vehemently vowed to stay with Jesus, and yet, without persecution easily denied him when questioned. It was also noted how easily the disciples slept in the garden as Jesus prayed – because they didn’t understand that in just a matter of minutes things would change forever. We talked about how the angel of the Lord ministered to Him in those final, exhausting moments in the garden, and wondered if it might have been that same angel who gloriously kicked the stone out of the way 3 days later. What an awesome sight that must have been! It’s so amazing and wondrous to know that our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ bore stripes on His back, spit in His face, mockery, jeering, slapping, poking, ridicule, and dirt, sweat, and blood – all for me, and you.

In thinking about Resurrection morning, I think about New Life – New Hope, Promise, perhaps – a new day, or new beginning. So it was with our Lord. If you recall, they took the lifeless body of Jesus off the cross of Calvary, wrapped and buried Him. His body was broken, bruised, bleeding, sweaty, filthy, and dead. The earth turned it’s head as earthquakes rumbled and the sky turned dark. Then, people declared that He must have been the Son of God. Yet, they didn’t really believe it. They cried as if He were dead forever; some were glad He was gone forever. Three days later, the women had prepared spices for the “body” – because they thought He was still dead. Sure, the soldiers sealed the tomb, but it was because they didn’t want someone to steal the body and proclaim Him to be risen. All they knew was what they saw – Jesus was dead.

How many times has life treated you cruelly through the hands, words, or deeds of another person? Perhaps that person is your spouse, mother, father, sister, brother, or friend. Perhaps your relationship is a shambles – bruised, beaten, bleeding, dead. You’ve resolved to bury the corpse of what had once been a good, healthy, Godly relationship – “let’s move on” and part in different directions – physically or emotionally. You just don’t “deal” with them anymore. You’ll prepare the right words to say to others if they question you about the relationship, “I love them, but…” when the truth is, you’ve buried the love too. You’re not happy, but you are resolved.

Jesus suffered horrible physical pain, shame, suffering – and death – just for such causes. He died and rose again so that we might LIVE in HIM – not just exist, but live victorious. Victorious living dares to embrace the Resurrection Spirit. Why, on that morning when the angel of the Lord opened the grave, JESUS was no longer inside! He arose from that grave, visited hell, and had overcome the world! He was no longer a lifeless, bloody, broken body – but HE was glorified and full of New Life. Resurrection day became the day of NEW HOPE. Weeping and grieving were replaced by excitement and wonder! If Jesus beat death, hell, and the grave – there is nothing HE can’t do! And, He so wants to do something in each of us. As we remember HIS bloody sacrifice, I wonder – do we realize that HE endured tragic affliction for us, while we pettily bury one another in shameful personal conflict dramas? We must remember that there was just a handful of folks who followed Jesus from afar as He was crucified. Many of His accusers were those who He fed when He broke the fishes and bread and fed 5,000, or possibly some that had witnessed other miracles He had performed. Can you imagine KNOWING that these people for whom you are breaking bread and multiplying it by the basket loads would be those who would cry out, “Crucify Him!” Yet, Jesus loved – HE so loved the world that HE willingly laid HIS life down for a thankless generation who would breed generations of the thankless, ungodly, unholy. HE loved, because HE knew that someone would receive HIS love, someone would reciprocate HIS love, someone would LOVE someone else with HIS great LOVE. Jesus loved.

During these next few days before Resurrection Sunday, wouldn’t it be wonderful to visit the “tombs” of broken or damaged relationships? Don’t take your spices to freshen the dead relationship, but, go in expectation that the Lord, who gave His life for you will make a way to bring New Hope, New Life, and a promise of tomorrow with your loved one or friend. It’s interesting how “I’m sorry”, “You’re forgiven”, and “I Love You” can change the course of a relationship and roll away the stone that separates. They are words to LIVE by. Powerful stuff.

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