Saturday, April 22, 2017

Celebrate the Son-rise

Matthew 28:1-10 Now after the Sabbath, as the first day of the week began to dawn, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary came to see the tomb. And behold, there was a great earthquake; for an angel of the Lord descended from heaven, and came and rolled back the stone from the door, and sat on it. His countenance was like lightning, and his clothing as white as snow. And the guards shook for fear of him, and became like dead men. But the angel answered and said to the women, “Do not be afraid, for I know that you seek Jesus who was crucified. He is not here; for He is risen, as He said. Come, see the place where the Lord lay. And go quickly and tell His disciples that He is risen from the dead, and indeed He is going before you into Galilee; there you will see Him. Behold, I have told you.” So they went out quickly from the tomb with fear and great joy, and ran to bring His disciples word. And as they went to tell His disciples, behold, Jesus met them, saying, “Rejoice!” So they came and held Him by the feet and worshiped Him. Then Jesus said to them, “Do not be afraid. Go and tell My brethren to go to Galilee, and there they will see Me.”

I know that April was going to be a busy month, but never imagined that the month activities would include a week-long trip up to Bass Lake, California, as my 89 year old father needed some help following arthroscopic surgery. Missing Easter Sunday at my home church, I was able to attend the Easter Sunrise service at my dad’s church prior to driving down to Fresno with my son to take Dad home from the hospital – so a double blessing.

Pastor Herk asked if we ever wanted to join a certain club or a specific group but was rejected because we did not meet their qualifications or we were just not what they were looking for and wanted? Isn’t it wonderful that this is not true with the Kingdom of Heaven! Almighty God, who created every molecule in the Universe and Cosmos, desires an intimate relationship with us for eternity. Hallelujah!

Jesus Christ (God the Son) came and died for us to pay the price for our sins, and rose again to defeat death, that we may have eternal life. After His crucifixion, the tomb, in which Jesus was laid for burial, had a large wheel-shaped stone rolled in front of it. In the Matthew passage above, an angel of the Lord came and rolled the stone from the door. The angel did this not to let Jesus out of the tomb, but to let us into the tomb. God allows us to enter into resurrection unto new life forever.

John 11:25 Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live.”

Death is a mystery that we all have in common. Pastor Herk told of a passage in A. Rudyard Kipling’s “The Jungle Book”: Mowgli, the man cub, asks the animals what’s
the most feared thing in the jungle. He’s told that when two animals meet on a narrow
path that one must step aside and let the other pass. The animal that steps aside for no
one would then be the most feared. Mowgli wants to know what kind of animal would that be? One tells him it’s an elephant. Another tells him it’s a lion. Finally the wise old owl exclaims, “The most feared thing in the jungle is death. It steps aside for no one

As portrayed in the new motion picture “A case For Christ”, Investigative Reporter Lee Strobel, after extensive research, proclaimed that it would take more faith to believe in “atheism” than Jesus Christ rising from the dead. Without Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord of our life, we are going through the motions and just getting by without true joy. Ephesians 2:1 says, “And you He made alive, who were dead in trespasses and sins.” Only Jesus Christ can bring us back to life, regenerating the spirit and restoring real joy of life again – excited and exciting, with purpose and meaning. The resurrection of Jesus Christ changes our past, our present and our future.

The Christian church relies on the reality of the resurrection of Jesus, whom without there is no hope in this life. Christianity differs from all other religions in that our Lord and Savior is alive! Jesus came to seek and save the lost. We all need to ask ourselves: “Are we experiencing the power of the risen Christ?” We have victory in the resurrection and, united as the church body, we are commissioned to go tell a lost and afraid world that the tomb is empty; that there is hope in Jesus Christ by what He did on the cross.  

A sunrise is glorious, but does not compare to the Son rise. Let us celebrate!

In Christ, Brian

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