Tag Archives: Resurrection

down, but not out

The tomb was sealed. The Roman government sealed the tomb and placed guards outside to ensure no one messed with it. His opponents believed they had gained the victory. He was in the tomb, it was sealed, guards were posted, and it didn’t seem a dead man would want to get out anyway. They didn’t have the victory though, he did!

The Bible teaches Jesus rose from the tomb. The tomb couldn’t hold him as he is more powerful than death’s grip. He may allowed death to hold him down for a moment, but he certainly wasn’t out.

Jesus says in John 16:33, 33 “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”

Life may push you and me down at times. The checking account balance may have us pushed down, but Jesus says we are not out. The lack of employment may have us pushed down, but Jesus says we are not out. The medical issues we’re facing may have us down, but we are not out. With Jesus, we may be down, but we are not out.

Jesus says we will have trouble, but we can have courage because he has overcome this world’s trouble. We may get knocked down for a moment or two, but we are not out. The next time life pushes you down, remember, you can have courage because Jesus has overcome.

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resurrection and life

Jesus was close to Lazarus and his sisters. Lazarus was ill, so the family sent word to Jesus requesting he come and help Lazarus. Jesus does go and help Lazarus, but the Bible teaches he waited before going.

We know Jesus waited until Lazarus had been in the tomb for four days before helping. At this point, all hope had been lost. No one believed there was a chance Lazarus could be brought out of the tomb. However, the Bible records that is not the case.

John 11:23-25 says, 23 Jesus said to her, “Your brother will rise again.”

24 Martha answered, “I know he will rise again in the resurrection at the last day.”

25 Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die; 26 and whoever lives by believing in me will never die. Do you believe this?”

Jesus is getting ready to display his power over death. Life and death battled, and life won. Death’s grip could not hold Lazarus in the grave because of Jesus.

Because of Jesus, death’s grip cannot hold us in bondage. Jesus says he is the resurrection and the life. Ephesians 2 says it is in Christ we are made alive by grace. Jesus question to Martha is the same one he asks us, “Do you believe?”

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Can we find hope in Christ’s resurrection?

Yes, because of its validity, value, and victory.

Hope can be found in Christ’s resurrection.

The Validity of the Resurrection

With courtroom-like precision, Paul builds the case for Christ’s resurrection. The eyewitness accounts are overwhelming.

1 Corinthians 15:5-8 states, “He was seen by Peter and then by the Twelve. After that, he was seen by more than 500 of his followers at one time. Most of whom are still alive, though some have died. Then he was seen by James and later, by all the apostles. Last of all, I also saw him.”

It is easy to dismiss one person’s testimony, and perhaps the 12 disciples could be written off as hallucinating. But it is not as easy to discount 500 people seeing the same event at the same time. Jesus appeared to all these individuals after his resurrection.

He ate with them. He talked with them. He walked with them. They could see and touch his physical body. He was there. Those who saw Jesus could factually say he was no longer in the tomb.

The resurrection was not a myth. It was a historical event which brought value and victory.

The Value of the Resurrection

1 Corinthians 15 goes on to explain there is much value in the resurrection.

  • Our dying bodies are buried, and a body, which will live forever, is raised up.
  • Our broken bodies will be exchanged for glorious bodies.
  • Our weak bodies will be replaced with strong bodies.
  • Verse 44 says, “They are buried as natural human bodies, but they will be raised as spiritual bodies. For just as there are natural bodies, there are also spiritual bodies.”

In other words, we will shed all the struggle and heartache in this life. Our physical and mental difficulties will no longer plague us. The value of the resurrection is a new body granted through Christ’s victory.

The Victory of the Resurrection

“Then, when our dying bodies have been transformed into bodies that will never die, this Scripture will be fulfilled, ‘death is swallowed up in victory.’ ‘O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting?’ For sin is the sting that results in death, and the law gives sin its power. But, thank God, he gives us victory over sin and death through our Lord Jesus Christ,” says 1 Corinthians 15:54-57.

Death, which is man’s great equalizer, has been beaten by Christ. The day of Christ’s resurrection, he struck a death blow to death and brought victory.

As we search for hope in this life, we can find it in the validity, value, and victory of Christ’s resurrection.

 

The Days After the Resurrection

Jesus gives a starting point for sharing hope.

The time from Jesus’ resurrection to his ascension was eventful for his disciples. He appeared to them numerous times, and they never knew when or where he would show up. They needed to be ready to learn from Jesus at any time.

John 21 records Jesus appearing to some of his disciples as they were fishing. It was the early morning hours, and the men had been fishing all night. They caught nothing though until Jesus guided them. While the disciples were about 100 yards from shore, Jesus appeared on the shore. He suggested throwing the net on the right side of the boat. They did, and it was filled with fish.

They came ashore, and Jesus was waiting with a hot breakfast. Jesus needed to have a conversation with the disciples concerning the future, but first, he wanted to make sure their needs were met. If they were struggling and hungry, they would not be focused on what Jesus had to say.

The Bible encourages Christians to share our hope, and I believe we find a starting point in this post-resurrection appearance.

We need to help a person meet his or her physical needs before we can have an open door to discuss spiritual matters.

If a person is struggling and hungry today, he or she is not concerned about tomorrow. A starting point for sharing hope is helping meet physical needs.

  • It may be helping the person look for work.
  • It may be helping the individual identify ways to advance his or her skills to improve financial stability.
  • It may be helping a person navigate resources to find help.
  • Mostly, it is investing in the person’s life to earn the right to share our hope.

People are more content to discuss tomorrow when today’s needs are met.

 

 

The Evening After the Resurrection

Jesus offers encouragement in two ways.

The doors were locked. The day had been eventful. The disciples learned of an empty tomb early in the morning, and two of them just returned from Emmaus saying the Lord had appeared to them. Though the sun was setting, the excitement continued.

As the two disciples from Emmaus were speaking, Jesus appeared in the room even though the doors were locked. At first, this startled Jesus’ followers, then they became overjoyed when they realized it was truly Jesus. Jesus spent some time with them, and he encouraged the disciples in two ways.

Encouragement to help with their doubts.

The Gospel writers recall the disciples still had doubts in their minds. Jesus understood their doubts, so he offered an opportunity to touch his hands and feet. He also ate in front of them. A ghost or figment of their imagination would not have hands, feet, or the ability to eat, so it really had to be Jesus. He encouraged the disciples through their doubts.

One of the ways Jesus encourages people with doubts today is giving them an opportunity to see his hands and feet, the church, in action. The church should help one another as well as the community. The church is a picture of Jesus and gives us an opportunity to see him in action.

I wish I could say this was a perfect picture; however, the picture is not always perfect. I can say I believe the world is a better place because of the lives of genuine Christ followers. Their love and work shined in the world around them.

Check here for more suggestions to overcome doubts.

Encouragement to share their hope.

Jesus helped the disciples with their doubts, then he sent them to share their hope.

John 20:21 says, “Again Jesus said, ‘Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, I am sending you.”

Jesus never intended for the disciples to keep his resurrection a secret. The Lord does not intend for Christians to keep our hope a secret. He desires for us to share it with those around us.

In many ways, these pieces of encouragement are connected. The person with doubts sees the Christian community sharing hope. Our sharing of hope allows the Lord’s love to shine brightly. What ways have you found to share your hope?

 

The Hours After the Resurrection

Seven miles of pondering.

The empty tomb was just the start of Easter day for the disciples. Several women, including Mary Magdalene, returned to the disciples with the exciting news, and the disciples started piecing the events together; however, there was still much doubt in their minds concerning the women’s news.

Two of the disciples decided to travel to Emmaus. They were joined on the 7-mile journey by Jesus, but they did not recognize him. As they walked, they talked.

The conversation turned to current events: Jesus’ crucifixion and the tomb being empty. Jesus used the Scripture to help the disciples overcome their doubt and see the truth. They were wondering if everything was true, but as they studied the Scriptures, they pieced everything together and understood.

Luke tells us after Jesus left the two disciples, they returned to Jerusalem. This means they walked 14 miles in one day, so they certainly got a workout. The account also gives us an idea to help overcome doubts.

Ponder the Bible.

If you are struggling with doubts, try studying the Scripture. For the disciples, it helped clear up confusion and settle some doubts. It may do the same for you.

C. S. Lewis, a well-known author, was an Atheist in his early 20s only to convert to Christianity after pondering the Bible. His intellect determined the claims of Scripture were sensible, and the explanation of life given in the Bible made sense. Lewis commented in Mere Christianity, Jesus had to be telling the truth. Otherwise, he would have been a lunatic, and there was no other evidence of Jesus not being sane. Lewis’ study of the Bible is what helped him conquer doubt and embrace Christianity.

God understands you and I may experience doubts, so he provides the Bible to ponder. Challenge your doubts with the claims of Scripture.

Check here for more suggestions to overcome doubts.

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The Moments after the Resurrection

Don’t keep hope a secret.

The tomb was empty, but the day was not over. There was still much for the disciples to experience as the hours of Easter unfolded. Jesus appeared to them at various times through the day. Each time Jesus helped the disciples understand something valuable. He started with Mary Magdalene.

Mary was weeping and standing outside the empty tomb. In her mind she had lost Jesus. She assumed someone had taken his body to a permanent burial spot. Already grieved by the crucifixion, the empty tomb only added to her heartbreak, because she didn’t understand Jesus had risen.

Then Jesus appeared and they had a conversation.

John 20:14 says, “At this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing there, but she did not realize it was Jesus standing there.”

How often do we miss Jesus? We are consumed by our own thoughts, so we miss the fact he is standing beside us. Our worries and anxieties keep us from realizing he is there. Mary’s grief kept her from realizing Jesus was there, but he still had her well-being in mind.

In John 20:15, “He asked her, ‘Woman, why are you crying? Who is it you are looking for?”

Jesus checks on Mary before he instructs her. Mary was important to Jesus, and he wanted to take care of her needs. We too are important to Jesus, and he wants to take care of our needs. This is the reason Jesus and Mary are standing outside an empty tomb.

Verse 15 goes on, “Thinking he was the gardener, she said, ‘Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have put him, and I will get him.’

Jesus said to her, ‘Mary.’ She turned toward him and cried out in Aramaic, ‘Rabboni’ Which means ‘teacher.’

No doubt this would have been an exciting moment for Mary. Her hand on Jesus’ hand, and her hope was back. Jesus told her it was time to share her hope.

“Jesus said, ‘Do not hold onto me for I have not ascended to the Father. Go instead to my brothers and tell them I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God’ Mary Magdalene went to the disciples with the news, ‘I have seen the Lord,’ and she told them he had said these things to her,” says John 20:17-18.

Jesus told Mary it was time to share the hope she had found. She couldn’t force the other disciples to believe, but she could share hope with them.

We can share our hope with those around us. We can’t force them to believe, but we can illustrate our hope through our lives and actions. Our generosity, mindset, actions, and interactions speak volumes about the hope we have. Mary is told not to keep her hope a secret, but to go share it.

Share your hope today. Encourage someone in a Facebook post. Send a friend an encouraging text message. Call a neighbor to check on them before you go to the store the next time. Share your hope today.

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Not Goodbye But See You Later

The pain is real, and so is the hope.

Lazarus was a good brother and great friend. He was close to his siblings and friends, but suddenly one day, he was not there. He had passed away.

His sisters were filled with grief. Their pain was real; their hearts hurt as their tears flowed. Lazarus’ friends, including Jesus, were saddened. Jesus wept. Their pain was real; their hearts also hurt as tears flowed.

As they were hurting, Jesus offered hope.

Jesus says in John 11:25, “I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live even though they die.”

The hope offered to Lazarus’ family and friends was as real as the pain. It was a hope in the fact they were not saying “goodbye,” rather “see you later.”

The pain of losing someone close to us is hard. Grief is real, and our hearts hurt as our tears flow. It may be losing a spouse, parent, sibling, or friend causing the pain. For Chris Young, it was losing his best friend Adam.

This loss was part of the inspiration for Young’s song Drowning. The lyrics remind us grief is real, and it comes in waves. The song also reminds us we have hope of seeing our loved ones again. You may be drowning today, but you can have hope in the reality it is not “goodbye,” but “see you later.”

Jesus said, “I am the resurrection and the life. Anyone who believes in me will live even though he dies.” John 11 records Jesus calling Lazarus from the grave shortly after saying these words. Mary and Martha were able to see Lazarus again. Jesus himself went into the tomb but came back out. He reigns over death.

Though losing someone is hard, it does not have to be “goodbye” we say. We only have to say, “see you later.”

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Sunday…A Risen Hope

Don’t look for the living among the dead.

As the sun rose, the ladies were up and gathering spices. They planned to give Jesus as proper of a burial as they could. They didn’t find what they were expecting when they arrived at the tomb.

Luke 24 says, “They found that the stone had been rolled away from the entrance, so they went in, but they did not find the body of the Lord Jesus. As they stood there puzzled, two men suddenly appeared to them clothed in dazzling robes. The women were terrified and bowed with their faces to the ground, then the men asked, ‘Why are you looking among the dead for someone who is alive? He isn’t here. He has risen from the dead. Remember what he told you back in Galilee. That the Son of Man must be betrayed into the hands of sinful men and be crucified, and that he would rise again on the third day.’ Then they remembered that he had said this, so they rushed back from the tomb to tell his eleven disciples, and everyone else, what had happened.”

This would have been quite a scene. The disciples were still processing events and trying to figure out what to do next. Suddenly the door flies open and Mary Magdalene, Joanna, and Mary the mother of James rushed in followed by several other women. Perhaps all talking at once as they gave the exciting news to the Apostles.

Put yourself in the room. What would have you thought? What did the disciples think?

Luke 24:11-12 says, “But the story sounded like nonsense to the men, so they didn’t believe it. However, Peter jumped up and ran to the tomb to look. Stooping, he peered in and saw the empty linen wrappings. Then he went home again, wondering what had happened.”

The news seemed like nonsense to the disciples. They thought the ladies were so grief-stricken they were hallucinating. It certainly would have taken me a minute to grasp everything the ladies were saying, so I can understand the disciples struggle.

It took a minute, but the disciples started to grasp the fact Jesus was no longer in the tomb. He had risen. The hope they thought they lost on Friday is found.

The same hope is still here today. We celebrate today because Jesus has struck a death blow to death. Enemies defeated; Jesus is preparing Heaven for our arrival. That is what we celebrate today.

Our celebrations may look different than previous years. No matter the look or size of the celebration, the hope is the same. We can celebrate an eternal hope in Christ Jesus, who has risen, and that is worth celebrating.

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Saturday…In Between

In between hopeless and hopeful.

Yesterday was Friday, and it was an eventful day for the disciples. They watched as Jesus was crucified, and it was an emotionally draining day. They are unaware tomorrow is Sunday, and it too will be an eventful day. Today, Saturday, the disciples are in between. They are in between hopelessness and hopefulness. They are recovering from a devastating week, and they must decide what to do next.

Some of them go back to the only thing they know. They go back to fishing. If only they were aware of tomorrow’s events. They could anticipate what was to come.

Life sometimes puts us in between. We find ourselves having to recover from devastation. We are in between illnesses and healthy tomorrows. We are in between a broken heart and great relationship. We are in between loss and life after the loss. We are in a season when we must decide what to do.

Thankfully, we have hope because Sunday has already come. We can base our decisions on hope. We can anticipate what the Lord is going to do. As you find yourself in between, cling to the hope that you have in Christ.

Cling to this hope that will never erode or fade, never perish or spoil. As you are in between, cling to this hope that is eternal and in Christ.

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