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Do not be afraid

170416After the sabbath, as the first day of the week was dawning, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went to see the tomb. And suddenly there was a great earthquake; for an angel of the Lord, descending from heaven, came and rolled back the stone and sat on it. His appearance was like lightning, and his clothing white as snow. For fear of him the guards shook and became like dead men. But the angel said to the women, “Do not be afraid; I know that you are looking for Jesus who was crucified. He is not here; for he has been raised, as he said. Come, see the place where he lay. Then go quickly and tell his disciples, ‘He has been raised from the dead, and indeed he is going ahead of you to Galilee; there you will see him.’ This is my message for you.” So they left the tomb quickly with fear and great joy, and ran to tell his disciples. Suddenly Jesus met them and said, “Greetings!” And they came to him, took hold of his feet, and worshiped him. Then Jesus said to them, “Do not be afraid; go and tell my brothers to go to Galilee; there they will see me.” (Matthew 28:1-10, NRSV)

Jesus was laid in the tomb Friday evening…

He was dead. When they pierced His side, blood and water flowed, a sure sign of death.

So it was a bit surprising when the Marys head to the tomb to wrap His body and put spices on it that the stone is rolled away and an angel is waiting for them.

And they hear for the first time, “Do not be afraid.” Jesus is not here.

And they believe and run to tell the disciples when they run into Jesus, who also says to them, “Do not be afraid; go and tell my brothers to go to Galilee; there they will see me.” We have reason to fear when He was dead, but here He is walking with us, but isn’t that what He told us would happen?

Do we not believe He will keep His promises. He said 3 days and I will rise!

So do not be afraid, for He is alive! And He is going to keep all of His promises!

Do not be afraid!

 

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Living among the dead?

160327But on the first day of the week, at early dawn, they came to the tomb, taking the spices that they had prepared. They found the stone rolled away from the tomb, but when they went in, they did not find the body. While they were perplexed about this, suddenly two men in dazzling clothes stood beside them. The women were terrified and bowed 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, but has risen. Remember how he told you, while he was still in Galilee, that the Son of Man must be handed over to sinners, and be crucified, and on the third day rise again.” Then they remembered his words, and returning from the tomb, they told all this to the eleven and to all the rest. Now it was Mary Magdalene, Joanna, Mary the mother of James, and the other women with them who told this to the apostles. But these words seemed to them an idle tale, and they did not believe them. But Peter got up and ran to the tomb; stooping and looking in, he saw the linen cloths by themselves; then he went home, amazed at what had happened. (Luke 24:1-12, NRSV)

The women got to the tomb to do what they couldn’t do for Jesus when He died because of the Sabbath. And the stone was rolled back and they went into the tomb, but didn’t see Him. The angels then asked, “Why do you look for the living among the dead?”

Are we looking for Jesus in the wrong places?

Where Did He tell you He would be?

Why do the disciples consider the words of the women to be an idle tale? Have we ever thought what someone told us was an idle tale?

And Peter, heard their words and went to the tomb. He went in and saw the scene, and went home amazed, but didn’t go and tell the good news? Really?

How has Christ changed your life? And have you told people about Him?

Are you still looking for the living among the dead?

 

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prepare

160314Now there was a good and righteous man named Joseph, who, though a member of the council, had not agreed to their plan and action. He came from the Jewish town of Arimathea, and he was waiting expectantly for the kingdom of God. This man went to Pilate and asked for the body of Jesus. Then he took it down, wrapped it in a linen cloth, and laid it in a rock-hewn tomb where no one had ever been laid. It was the day of Preparation, and the sabbath was beginning. The women who had come with him from Galilee followed, and they saw the tomb and how his body was laid. Then they returned, and prepared spices and ointments. On the sabbath they rested according to the commandment. (Luke 23:50-56, NRSV)

Jesus was taken down from the cross and laid in a tomb hewn from rock that had never been used. The woman saw where He was and went to prepare spices and ointments. But they did not prepare His body with them, as the Sabbath was starting and because of the commandment they did not return to the body. They would wait.

Jesus was taken down and laid in the tomb and the women saw where and how He was laid.

You see if Mary had not anointed Him, He would not have been anointed!

Are we preparing for what God is calling us to?

 

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True Discipleship

After these things, Joseph of Arimathea, who was a disciple of Jesus, though a secret one because of his fear of the Jews, asked Pilate to let him take away the body of Jesus. Pilate gave him permission; so he came and removed his body. Nicodemus, who had at first come to Jesus by night, also came, bringing a mixture of myrrh and aloes, weighing about a hundred pounds. They took the body of Jesus and wrapped it with the spices in linen cloths, according to the burial custom of the Jews. Now there was a garden in the place where he was crucified, and in the garden there was a new tomb in which no one had ever been laid. And so, because it was the Jewish day of Preparation, and the tomb was nearby, they laid Jesus there. (John 19:38-42, NRSV)

The scheduled reading for today is John 18 – John 19:42 the whole scene of Jesus being arrested and put on trial and beaten and crucified.

There is was too much to look at in a simple devotional. So I look at the last part.

Because this portion of John is the third appearance of Nicodemus. First he comes to us under darkness seeking out Jesus in John 3. The He kind of defends Jesus in the Jewish High Council meeting in John 7. And now here helping to remove Jesus’ body from the cross. He went from going to Jesus under darkness so no one could see him and he could hide his search for Jesus. To speaking up for Jesus in the High Council meeting, to publicly displaying his love for this criminal.

That is the truest progression of faith I have ever seen. From seeking to displaying love.

Nicodemus is a model for us all to follow.

 

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growing

When they heard these words, some in the crowd said, “This is really the prophet.” Others said, “This is the Messiah.” But some asked, “Surely the Messiah does not come from Galilee, does he? Has not the scripture said that the Messiah is descended from David and comes from Bethlehem, the village where David lived?” So there was a division in the crowd because of him. Some of them wanted to arrest him, but no one laid hands on him. Then the temple police went back to the chief priests and Pharisees, who asked them, “Why did you not arrest him?” The police answered, “Never has anyone spoken like this!” Then the Pharisees replied, “Surely you have not been deceived too, have you? Has any one of the authorities or of the Pharisees believed in him? But this crowd, which does not know the law—they are accursed.” Nicodemus, who had gone to Jesus before, and who was one of them, asked, “Our law does not judge people without first giving them a hearing to find out what they are doing, does it?” They replied, “Surely you are not also from Galilee, are you? Search and you will see that no prophet is to arise from Galilee.” (John 7:40-52, NRSV)

This passage includes one of my favorite characters in the Bible…

He appears only 3 times in the gospel according to John…

His first appearance is in chapter 3 and he comes to Jesus under the cover of darkness and asks Jesus questions. He gives us the verse about a person being born again, and the great verse of God so loving the world! And the verse that follows about why the Son came, so that the world could be saved…

Nicodemus is the man, who gives us a clear picture of what it means to grow in the life of a disciple.

His first appearance to Jesus is under the cover of darkness because he doesn’t want the other Pharisees to know what he is doing…

But in our reading here he is openly speaking before the leadership in defence of Jesus…

And his final appearance is when he helps Joseph of Arimathea take Jesus’ body down from the cross and lay it in the tomb. From darkness, to semi public, to public profession…

That is what God calls for in each of us as disciples!

 

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Seeing…

Early on the first day of the week, while it was still dark, Mary Magdalene came to the tomb and saw that the stone had been removed from the tomb. So she ran and went to Simon Peter and the other disciple, the one whom Jesus loved, and said to them, “They have taken the Lord out of the tomb, and we do not know where they have laid him.” Then Peter and the other disciple set out and went toward the tomb. The two were running together, but the other disciple outran Peter and reached the tomb first. He bent down to look in and saw the linen wrappings lying there, but he did not go in. Then Simon Peter came, following him, and went into the tomb. He saw the linen wrappings lying there, and the cloth that had been on Jesus’ head, not lying with the linen wrappings but rolled up in a place by itself. Then the other disciple, who reached the tomb first, also went in, and he saw and believed; for as yet they did not understand the scripture, that he must rise from the dead. Then the disciples returned to their homes. But Mary stood weeping outside the tomb. As she wept, she bent over to look into the tomb; and she saw two angels in white, sitting where the body of Jesus had been lying, one at the head and the other at the feet. They said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping?” She said to them, “They have taken away my Lord, and I do not know where they have laid him.” When she had said this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing there, but she did not know that it was Jesus. Jesus said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping? Whom are you looking for?” Supposing him to be the gardener, she said to him, “Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have laid him, and I will take him away.” Jesus said to her, “Mary!” She turned and said to him in Hebrew, “Rabbouni!” (which means Teacher). Jesus said to her, “Do not hold on to me, because I have not yet ascended to the Father. But go to my brothers and say to them, ‘I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.’” Mary Magdalene went and announced to the disciples, “I have seen the Lord”; and she told them that he had said these things to her. (John 20:1-18, NRSV)

Seeing isn’t believing, believing is seeing…

In this passage, as well as the rest of the gospel of John, seeing is a big thing…

Mary sees the stone rolled away in verse one, and here she believes that someone has taken the body.

The two disciples, Peter and the disciple that Jesus loved, see the clothes lying in the tomb in verse 5 and 6. And in verse 8 it says the disciple that Jesus loved sees and believes… And I wonder what he believed, as he went home, without understanding that He must rise from the dead, the verses say… They saw He was gone and that is what they believed since He was not there…

Then Mary sees the 2 angels in the tomb, but still believes that someone has taken the body…

Then Mary sees Jesus and believes him to be the gardener…

Then after Jesus calls her by name, she really sees Him. And she goes to see the disciples and tells them she has seen the Lord…

The eyes can deceive you… But our mind and our heart will help us to see what our eyes never could…

Seeing isn’t believing, believing is seeing!

 

 

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Do not be afraid!

After the sabbath, as the first day of the week was dawning, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went to see the tomb. And suddenly there was a great earthquake; for an angel of the Lord, descending from heaven, came and rolled back the stone and sat on it. His appearance was like lightning, and his clothing white as snow. For fear of him the guards shook and became like dead men. But the angel said to the women, ‘Do not be afraid; I know that you are looking for Jesus who was crucified. He is not here; for he has been raised, as he said. Come, see the place where he lay. Then go quickly and tell his disciples, “He has been raised from the dead, and indeed he is going ahead of you to Galilee; there you will see him.” This is my message for you.’ So they left the tomb quickly with fear and great joy, and ran to tell his disciples. Suddenly Jesus met them and said, ‘Greetings!’ And they came to him, took hold of his feet, and worshipped him. Then Jesus said to them, ‘Do not be afraid; go and tell my brothers to go to Galilee; there they will see me.’ (Matthew 28:1-10, NRSV)

Do not be afraid! Right!

I came to this place expecting to find the body of Jesus and instead there is an angel, telling me He has risen and is going ahead to meet the disciples in Galilee… And I’m not suppose to run away afraid!

Well the good news is it is all true! Everything Jesus told us, is true and the promises of God are coming to fruition.

And the interesting thing here is that women are the ones who witness Jesus’ rising! You see God is bringing the things that the world looks down upon and raising them to a new level!

Shepherds at His birth. Tax collectors, fisherman, and those the world would not trust as disciples. And here at His resurrection women are the first to see!

God uses the weak and the lowly to be the strong and the highly exalted to be the first! For when the world makes you last, in God’s kingdom you will be first.

Jesus died and rose for all! And thanks be to God that He loved me enough to die and rise so that I might be with Him!

 

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