Because He LivesApril 5-9
Yet a little while and the world will see Me no more, but you will see Me. Because I live, you also will live. – John 14:19 (ESV)
In 1887, twenty-two years after President Abraham Lincoln’s assassination, his coffin was dug up and opened because there were constant rumors that his body was not in the grave. So they dug it up, and the body was there. The rumors continued, so 14 years later, they had to dig it up again. Both times witnesses were present who testified that Lincoln was still in the grave.
Before Jesus was crucified, He predicted that His disciples would see Him again. On the first Easter Sunday, Mary and Mary Magdalene went to the tomb of Jesus and were told by angels that Jesus was risen. The stone was rolled away so they could see that Jesus was not there. Other witnesses also testified to seeing Him after His resurrection.
It’s been said the stone was not rolled away so Jesus could get out; it was rolled away so we could get in and see that it was empty. You can go to Israel today and visit Jesus’ tomb. It’s empty. His body is not there. We can’t dig up the body of Jesus. And because He lives, time and eternity is different. And because He lives, we can cry out to Him for help, love, and wisdom every day.
Spend some time talking to Jesus today in prayer. Praise Him for His life, death, and resurrection. Talk to Him about your life and ask for help, love, and wisdom.
Yet a little while and the world will see me no more, but you will see me. Because I live, you also will live. – John 14:19 (ESV)
One night, a man was walking along the street and came across one of the neighborhood children inching along on his hands and knees down on the sidewalk beneath a streetlight. The man asks the boy, “What’s wrong, Jimmy? Did you lose something?” “Mmf, mmf, yes,” whimpers Jimmy. “I dropped the dollar Mama gave me for ice cream.” Feeling sorry for the boy, the man got down on his hands and knees, too, and started looking. After a few minutes, he says, “I’m sorry, Jimmy, but I don’t see your dollar anywhere. Are you sure this is where you lost it?” “No,” the boy says. “I dropped it over there by the vacant lot.” “What?!” the man exclaims. “If you dropped it way over there, why are you looking for it here?” Jimmy looks at him, then points. “It’s dark over there! I can see a lot better here.”
Jimmy was never going to find his dollar if he kept looking in the wrong place, no matter how long or hard he looked or how sincerely he expected to find it there. Because Jesus was raised from the dead, we can find new life in Christ. In Colossians 3:1-2, Paul writes, “If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth.” Paul taught the Colossian church they will never find the peace, hope, and joy that was theirs by right if they kept looking for it in the wrong places. He used the analogy of a Christian being raised to new life like Jesus was raised from the dead. And if that’s the case, we can’t expect to find true fulfillment with worldly pursuits.
Author Warren Wiersbe writes, “Too many Christians are ‘tweeners’: they live between Egypt and Canaan, saved but never satisfied; they live between Good Friday and Easter, believing in the Cross but not entering into the power and glory of the Resurrection. It is clear, then, that the believer cannot deliberately be content in sin since he has a new relationship to sin because of his identification with Christ. The believer has died to the old life; he has been raised to enjoy a new life. The true believer does not want to go back into sin any more than Lazarus wanted to go back into the tomb dressed again in his grave clothes!” (Wiersbe, Be Right: Romans)
What do you think it means in Colossians 3:1 when we are challenged to seek things above and to set our minds on things above? Write down a few of the things you think it means. Now take some time and read all of chapter 3 in Colossians. What are some of the ways Colossians 3 suggests we seek things above?
Thank God for the resurrection power of Jesus that allows us to experience a new life in Christ. Ask God to help you seek things that are above.
Our Hearts Burn
And their eyes were opened, and they recognized Him. And He vanished from their sight. They said to each other, “Did not our hearts burn within us while He talked to us on the road, while He opened to us the Scriptures?” – Luke 24:31-32 (ESV)
A Sunday School teacher asked her class on the Sunday before Easter if they knew what happened on Easter and why it was so important. One little girl spoke up, saying: “Easter is when the whole family gets together, and you eat turkey and sing about the pilgrims and all that.” “No, that’s not it,” said the teacher. “I know what Easter is,” a second student responded. “Easter is when you get a tree and decorate it and give gifts to everybody and sing lots of songs.” “Nope, that’s not it either,” replied the teacher. Finally, a third student spoke up, “Easter is when Jesus was killed, and put in a tomb and left for three days.” “Ah, thank goodness somebody knows,” the teacher thought to herself. But then the student went on, “Then everybody gathers at the tomb and waits to see if Jesus comes out, and if He sees His shadow…”
There were a lot of confused people on the very first Easter. The night of Easter Sunday, Jesus appeared to two disciples on the road to Emmaus and cleared up some confusion. Jesus simply began to explain who He was using the Old Testament Scriptures. The more He explained how He had fulfilled the Old Testament prophecies, the more the resurrection made sense. And the more they dug into Scriptures, the more their hearts burned within them.
When we have a relationship with Jesus, our understanding of the Bible becomes clearer. The closer we get to Him, the more we are moved in our souls as we reflect on all the promises He keeps.
Read Luke 24:13-34. As you read, note how Jesus interacted with these disciples. Thank God for meeting you where you are and desiring to speak to your heart.
Journey to Easter: Standing
On the evening of that day, the first day of the week, the doors being locked where the disciples were for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood among them and said to them, “Peace be with you.” – John 20:19 (ESV)
A five-year-old girl was having one of those trouble-filled days with her mother. It seemed they spent the day arguing back and forth. Finally, the mom had enough. “Jenny, go sit in the corner, right now! Don’t get up until I tell you to!” Jenny went to the corner and sat down. In a few minutes, she called back, “Mom, I am sitting down on the outside, but I am standing up on the inside!”
In John 20:19, Jesus was standing on the inside. He was not standing in rebellion. Inside the room, Jesus was standing with the disciples as evidence of His resurrection. He also offered proof that He kept His promise to rise again and a message of peace to the disciples. It can be disappointing when you are expecting someone to show up and they don’t. Jesus always shows up. He may not show up how or when we want Him to, but He always shows up.
Many of us spent some time sheltering in place during the coronavirus pandemic. If we were fortunate, we could do that with some of the people we love the most. Have you thought about the fact that Jesus was in your home with you during this time? He is with you because He loves you the most.
In Hebrews 13:5-6, we read, “Keep your life free from love of money, and be content with what you have, for He has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” So we can confidently say, “The Lord is my helper; I will not fear.” Praise God for the promises of Hebrews 13:5-6.
Journey to Easter: Go and Tell
Jesus said to her, “Do not cling to Me, for 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 that He had said these things to her. – John 20:17-18 (ESV)
Judy Packard of Lake Leelanau, Michigan, talks about how her neighbor, visiting the Holy Land, sent a letter describing the beautiful gardens. Her 6-year-old mused, “I wonder if He saw the rose.” “What rose?” Judy asked. “You know,” said her child, “like the Bible women saw. They went to that garden where Jesus was buried and they saw Christ had a rose!” (Kids of the Kingdom)
The first person to see Jesus, after His resurrection, was Mary Magdalene. She was a woman with a sordid past whose life had been changed by Jesus. Once Mary Magdalene recognizes the risen Christ, she immediately wants to cling to Him. However, Jesus tells her to go and tell the other disciples that she has seen Him.
After the resurrection of Jesus, we are told that hundreds saw him. 1 Corinthians 15:3-6 tells us:
“For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, that He was buried, that He was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures, and that He appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve. Then He appeared to more than five hundred brothers at one time, most of whom are still alive, though some have fallen asleep.”
Once we meet Jesus, there is a part of us that just wants to get as much of Him as we can for ourselves. However, we also need to tell others about who Jesus is and what He has also done for them. Have you been able to share the Easter story with anyone this year?
Thank God for revealing Himself to you. Thank Him for giving you the privilege of sharing God’s saving grace with others.