Jesus trampled down death by death.
“Why do you look for the living among the dead?,” the angel said. “He is not here (dead in the cemetary); he has risen! Remember how he told you, …”
Forget the women’s shock of hearing from angels who looked like shining men. Heaven had caught them going to a graveyard to look for the living Son of God. Talk about getting things wrong!
These women had both the courage and compassion to carry burial spices to the tomb of their friend, Jesus, who was now a condemned criminal. But that morning their view of reality was shattered. Others had the same problem. Two men walking to Emmaus were told they had never truly understood “all that the prophets have spoken!” Peter, two nights before, had let fear rule over his heart enough to deny his friend Jesus thrice, when his captured leader, Jesus, actually had “all authority in heaven and on earth.” Peter had walked on water with Jesus and witnessed him raising people from the dead! But he finally found out that Sunday evening what Jesus had meant by saying, “On the third day ….”
In another instance of shattered reality, Nicodemus first came to Jesus assuming he was still a “teacher of Israel” expecting this “student” would answer questions about how he did miracles and spoke so well. Instead, Jesus proved he was the Teacher and challenged Nicodemus to be “born from above” and to get out of the dark. Jesus told him to come toward the “light that shines in the darkness.”
“God so loved the world that He gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life!” After receiving this message nothing about this life is the same.
Do you truly listen to the “Living Word,” Jesus Christ, when you read the Bible in your hands? Is there something God has said about your life or this world that you just don’t understand?
Pray for ears to hear now what God is saying rather than wait until the next time angels are scheduled to come with trumpets and announce the coming of the Lord in judgment. Perhaps, you too have been looking for the Living One in the wrong place and need this reminder that Jesus is “with you (the ones who believe in Him) to the end of the age.”
Zb is excited about telling stories. He discovered a way to combine two things he loves – stories of his life in Central Asia and the very lost young people of secular Europe. He has discovered that the young people he wants to reach share his love for travel, but struggle to relate to people from other cultures. Zb now tells his stories to dozens even hundreds in café’s, art museums and universities.
Zb’s stories highlight why Jesus is the key to understanding culture. Jesus’ birth story is unforgettable. The king of heaven is born in a stable because his parents couldn’t afford a room. Mysterious wise men follow an unusual star and shepherds heard an angel chorus. One winter night the Lord entered our world changing it forever and pointed the way how the humble may challenge culture.
Another master storyteller at Eagle Lake Camp in Colorado left a vivid impact on me. I can still picture his characterizations of Goliath’s dense shield bearer or King David “crossing the tracks” to help crippled Mephibosheth. The speaker ended his talk by reciting “The Touch of the Master’s Hand.” Like every boy listening in that A-frame, I knew my Master had a plan for my life and it was not insignificant.
What was your story in 2012? Get ready. Jesus has a story planned for you in 2013!
I recommend two, ten minute videos posted on YouTube that depict the story of the narrative poem: “The Touch of the Master’s Hand.”
Part one: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9jSlU45Y_lk
Part two: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jgEgpg2NV-k
Greg, Paul, Don
1961 Midland, MI
I began to worry about what happens after death as a four year old. One Saturday a TV sports program grabbed my attention. I watched a cliff diving contest in Acapulco until one of the divers had an accident. That night I began to have nightmares about drowning. From church I knew that after death one met God, the “Father”. I knew that when I told lies, my dad used his toughest form of discipline. I assumed that the punishment God would give for my unclean mouth had to be much worse.
One Sunday night after showing a children’s filmstrip, our pastor explained clearly and simply how someone like me with sins on my conscience could have eternal life. He explained that Jesus died in my place so that God could forgive my sins. Even more wonderful, I learned that because Jesus rose from the dead and was now the living ruler over all, I could live forever with Him too. Our pastor challenged us to choose whether we would believe God’s promise.
That night I kneeled alone beside my bed and asked God to forgive my sins and give me eternal life. Immediately, nightly fears about the dark closet and the crack between my bed and the wall were gone, never to come back. I remember running into my parents’ bedroom the next morning (probably before they were even awake) and excitedly announcing that I was now a Christian.