Friday, March 30, 2018

Resurrection Power

Good Friday Morning: Image result for christian easter clipart  Christianity is in its very essence a resurrection religion. The concept of resurrection lies at its heart. If you remove it, Christianity is destroyed.” --John R. Stott

The angel said to the women, "Do not be afraid, for I know that you are looking for Jesus who was crucified. He is not here; he has risen, just as he said. Come see the place where he lay" (Matthew 28:5-6 NIV). Jesus said, “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies; and whoever lives and believes in me will never die. Do you believe this?" (John 11:25-26 NIV).
At Easter, We are reminded that tombs all over the world contain the remains of great secular and religious leaders, except one -- the one in Jerusalem which is empty. Christians stand in amazement at the awesome resurrection power God demonstrated on that first Resurrection Sunday.
Our Matthew passage is the angelic announcement of Jesus’ resurrection. The John text is one of the most moving accounts of Jesus and His resurrection power. In John 11, we find that Jesus' good friend Lazarus had died. When Jesus arrived Lazarus had "already been in the tomb four days." Lazarus' sisters, Mary and Martha, were beside themselves with grief. Read John 11:1-44 for the entire story. When Jesus arrived, Martha went to meet Him and said, "Lord if you had been here, my brother would not have died." She showed faith that Jesus could have healed her brother.
When Jesus told her that Lazarus would "rise again," she thought He meant "the resurrection of the dead in the last day." However, Jesus makes a climatic statement; a strong statement often quoted, but not often understood. Jesus declared about Himself not that He has resurrection power, but "I am the resurrection and the life." Resurrection power is centered in Jesus Christ Himself. This was not just a word of comfort for Martha, but a divine truth for humanity. For the sisters, it meant that Lazarus would rise from the grave. What does Jesus' resurrection power mean to us today?
Jesus lives even though he died. Jesus even arranged his own resurrection. On at least three occasions, Jesus foretold His arrest, beating, crucifixion and resurrection on the third day. See Mark 8:31-33; 9:31; 10:32-34. Even though the disciples did not understand these teachings, in them He established what would happen. Because he is "the Resurrection and the Life," he had to rise again. You can't keep the Resurrection and the Life in a tomb or conceal his glory. After He was risen, "He was seen by over five hundred brethren at once" (I Corinthians 15:6).
Many see physical death as the final end and tend to live selfishly for the here and now. But Jesus said "He who believes in me will live, even though he dies." The body may die, but the eternal soul goes to be with the Lord. Death for a believer is but the gateway to true and eternal life. For the Christian, eternal death in a place called "hell" is not possible. Jesus said, "Whoever lives and believes in me shall never die." Romans 6:23 tells us the good news that "the Gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord." Eternal life does not begin when you die, but when you receive Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior! As a believer, your eternal life has already begun. Jesus asked Martha and us, "Do you believe this?"
The old hymn says goes like this; "We serve a risen Savior who's in the world today; I know that he is living, whatever men may say; I see his hand of mercy, I hear his voice of cheer, And just the time I need Him He's always near. He lives, He lives, . . . He lives within my heart."
Love, Jerry & Dotse


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