Saturday, March 31, 2018

April 1, 2018

"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 and see the place where he lay. Then go quickly and tell his disciples: ‘He has risen from the dead and is going ahead of you into Galilee. There you will see him.’ Now I have told you.” So the women hurried away from the tomb, afraid yet filled with joy, and ran to tell his disciples. Suddenly Jesus met them. “Greetings,” he said. They came to him, clasped 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 28:6-10

I want you to try and put yourself in the place of these women who went to the tomb in the early morning hours of that first Easter. But I want you to imagine that instead of going to the burial place of Jesus, you are going to the grave of your mother, or your father, or your child, or that of your best friend. As you approach you are struggling with that same old sense of sadness that always grips you when you visit here. But this morning is different! For when you get there the grave is open. Your sadness turns to shock, then to horror, but then you hear the voice of your loved one and you turn immediately toward the sound.

You cannot believe it! You blink once and then you blink again. There stands your loved one - alive and well! In fact, they look better than they ever! Without thinking or speaking or without consciously moving you find yourself locked in a warm tight embrace! They are alive! They are back!

Can you imagine the joy? If you can you may begin to understand what these women experienced outside Jesus' tomb that morning.

Sound impossible? That is precisely what happened that morning! These women arrived grieving and ready to prepare a dead body but found a risen Savior Who looked better than they had ever seen! They were filled with joy - and wonder - and hope! All the grief and despair of the last two days was gone! He was alive! He arose as He had said!

Easter is about life! Powerful life! Resurrection life! Eternal life! God's life! The only thing that died that morning was death!

Oh, about that scenario involving your loved one! It has happened! Because of the atoning death and because of the resurrection of Jesus Christ, your loved one IS alive - more alive than ever! And some day their grave WILL be empty and you will see them in their glorified body! That very same type of glorified body the women saw that morning by His tomb!

"So will it be with the resurrection of the dead. The body that is sown is perishable, it is raised imperishable; it is sown in dishonor, it is raised in glory; it is sown in weakness, it is raised in power; it is sown a natural body, it is raised a spiritual body. If there is a natural body, there is also a spiritual body. So it is written: “The first man Adam became a living being”; the last Adam, a life-giving spirit. The spiritual did not come first, but the natural, and after that the spiritual. The first man was of the dust of the earth, the second man from heaven. As was the earthly man, so are those who are of the earth; and as is the man from heaven, so also are those who are of heaven. And just as we have borne the likeness of the earthly man, so shall we bear the likeness of the man from heaven. I declare to you, brothers, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God, nor does the perishable inherit the imperishable. Listen, I tell you a mystery: We will not all sleep, but we will all be changed— in a flash, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed. For the perishable must clothe itself with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality When the perishable has been clothed with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality, then the saying that is written will come true: “Death has been swallowed up in victory.” “Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting?”The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore, my dear brothers, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain." I Corinthians 15:42-58

Celebrate! Rejoice! He has risen from the dead! He arose as He said! He is alive! Hallelujah!