The Good News: JESUS HAS RISEN!

 

 easter-he-is-not-here-for-he-is-risen

When the Sabbath was over, Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James, and Salome bought spices so that they might go to anoint Jesus’ body. Very early on the first day of the week, just after sunrise, they were on their way to the tomb and they asked each other, “Who will roll the stone away from the entrance of the tomb?”                                                

But when they looked up, they saw that the stone, which was very large, had been rolled away. As they entered the tomb, they saw a young man dressed in a white robe sitting on the right side, and they were alarmed.

“Don’t be alarmed,” he said. “You are looking for Jesus the Nazarene, who was crucified. He has risen! He is not here. See the place where they laid him. But go, tell his disciples and Peter, ‘He is going ahead of you into Galilee. There you will see him, just as he told you.’”

Trembling and bewildered, the women went out and fled from the tomb. They said nothing to anyone, because they were afraid.        (Mark’s account–verses 16:1-8)

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The Stone: a physical barrier to entrance, a spiritual barrier to faith.

                                                      Who will roll away the stone?

The women could not enter the tomb until the great stone was removed from the entrance. It was an impediment to their purpose, they couldn’t move it themselves, and it blocked their view to what lay on the other side. They were worried about something God had already removed for them. They just needed to “look up” to see that their path was open and clear. Still, the women did not recognize it was God who had rolled away this physical barrier which now allowed them entrance and opportunity to remove the spiritual barrier of their disbelief.

Upon entering the tomb, they saw a young man dressed in white “and they were alarmed.” The young man told them not to be alarmed, for he had good news to tell them: “He has risen!” This angel from God showed them proof that Jesus was not there: “See the place where they laid Him.” Their physical view was clear now, not blocked by the stone, and the women could not dispute what their eyes beheld. Jesus was not there. Only this young man was present, and he was telling them something that, though foretold, they had not quite believed as they had come to anoint the body of Jesus, the crucified Christ buried in the tomb, His final resting place. A stone still needed to be rolled away, a spiritual one.

The women were uncertain in their faith. There was still a barrier. The reaction to the young man’s announcement that Jesus had risen and was going ahead of them into Galilee where they would see Him again was shocking. The angel told them to go and tell the good news to the disciples and to Peter. The women left “trembling and bewildered” in flight from the tomb. And, being afraid, “they said nothing to anyone.” They were still uncertain and confused.  No one would believe this. Did they really believe it, even after seeing that Jesus wasn’t there with their own eyes?

Jesus later met Mary Magdalene, rolling away the stone of her questioning belief, and she left to tell the disciples–who did not believe her testimony. Jesus appeared to the eleven disciples and “upbraided them for their unbelief and hardness of heart, because they had not believed those who saw Him after He had risen” (Mark 16: 13).

Who will roll away our stone?  Our uncertainty, confusion, disbelief, “hardness of heart,” and fear can all be rolled away by faith in the Lord, who goes before us. “The LORD himself goes before you and will be with you; He will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged” (Deuteronomy 31:8). All impediments to faith are ones God can remove—if we just let Him. Though we have not seen with our own eyes, we can believe those whose testimonies of first-hand witness tell us

 The Good News: JESUS HAS RISEN!

(Sharon G. Tate blog 03/27/16) teacherforjesus.com Meditations on God’s Word

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JESUS CHRIST: “I am the way, the truth, and the life.”

I-am-the-Way-

 Pilate said to Him, “What is truth?” (John 18:38)
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“TRUTH”–as defined by the dictionary, a book accepted by “most people.”
1)“Truth: a fact or principle that is thought to be true by most people.” (dictionarycambridge.org)
One must ask, “Who or what defines the ‘most people’ who think this is truth?”
2) “Truth: the real facts about a situation, event, or person.” (dictionarycambridge.org)
One must ask, “What is real? Is it only ‘real’ if ‘most people’ think so?”
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“TRUTH” –as defined by two writers not in the “most people” norm.
1) “Truth– is as old as God” –Emily Dickinson¹
One must ask, “How can we explain the meaning of ‘truth’ using today’s terms when its origin is from God who is not defined by age as we know it?”
2)“Truth is impossible to be soiled by any outward touch as the sunbeam” —John Milton ²
One must ask: “Does truth, then, reside within?”
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Pilate said to Him, “So you are a king?”
Jesus answered, “You say that I am a king. For this I was born, and for this I have come into the world, to bear witness to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth hears my voice.”
Pilate said to him, “What is truth?” (John 18:38)

Pilate did not recognize the embodiment of the Truth standing before him. He later washed his hands of Jesus and allowed the mob’s cries to “crucify him” happen. Pilate did not hear the voice of Jesus and did not accept the living Truth of Christ: “I am the way, the truth, and the life.” (John 14:6) Only Christ can define truth. Only Christ can be the truth we follow and believe. “Most people” cannot hear His voice as they are only hearing their own “truth” or one proclaimed by “most people.”

(24) So the Jews gathered round him and said to him, “How long will you keep us in suspense? If you are the Christ, tell us plainly.” (25) Jesus answered them, “I told you, and you do not believe. The works that I do in my Father’s name, they bear witness to me; (26) but you do not believe, because you do not belong to my sheep. (27) My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me; (28) and I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish, and no one shall snatch them out of my hand. (29) My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all, and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand. (30) I and the Father are one.” (John 22:24-30)

In a time when it is difficult to discern what is real, we need to look toward the hill and three crosses. We must focus our view toward the man in the center and not lose sight of the Truth, which He bore witness to and sacrificed His life for that we might live and be saved. This Truth must reside within each one of us if we hope to be with Christ eternally. His voice must be the One we hear within to guide us, advise us, direct us, shepherd us, and save us.

Truth—is as old as God—
His Twin identity
And will endure as long as He
A Co-Eternity— ¹

¹www.americanpoems.com/poets/emilydickinson
² www.bartleby.com

(Sharon G. Tate blog 03/20/16) teacherforjesus.com  Meditations on God’s Word

Jesus Wept

Jesus understands

 32) When Mary reached the place where Jesus was and saw him, she fell at his feet and said, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died.”
33) When Jesus saw her weeping, and the Jews who had come along with her also weeping, he was deeply moved in spirit and troubled.
34) “Where have you laid him?” he asked. “Come and see, Lord,” they replied.
35) Jesus wept. (John 11:32-35)

Jesus wept. Why? He could—and did—easily bring Lazarus back from the dead. He knew He could exchange their tears of sorrow for tears of joy. Jesus told the disciples, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.” (Matthew 28:18) There was no logical reason for Him to weep. Yet, He wept-with deep feeling.

He wept with empathy: “the feeling that you understand and share another person’s experiences and emotions: the ability to share someone else’s feelings.” ¹ Jesus witnessed the great sorrow of Mary and the Jews who were with her and was “deeply moved in spirit and troubled.” He understood what they were feeling and shared this grief and loss with them, even though He knew what they didn’t know or understand—that He could bring Lazarus back to them. Jesus was a brother in this moment, a man who shared the human sorrow of Mary and those Jews who came with her. Then, Jesus called Lazarus forth from the grave with the power given Him as Lord and Master.

Jesus was both man and God. Yet, He was not above meeting us at our human level. He came to this earth to become human.
(5) In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus: (6) Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage; (7) rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. (Philippians 2:5-7)
And we are called to become like Him in our relationships with each other, taking on the “nature of a servant,” not to be above others—but to meet them at their level with understanding and empathy.

Jesus goes with us through our sorrow, our pain, our loneliness, our desperation, our darkest hours-and weeps with us. He knows what we are experiencing and can empathize fully. The hope we have to overcome these times in our lives lies not in our tears- but in His. If Jesus did not understand us from the human level through His time here on this earth, He would not be as approachable and could not truly hear, see, sense, feel, and share in our daily struggles throughout this life. It is why we can go to Him in prayer with the confidence that He understands and cares.

Thank you, Lord Jesus, for “being made in human likeness” for us. Thank you, Jesus, for your tears.

¹ Empathy.http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/empathy

(Sharon G. Tate blog 03/13/16) teacherforjesus.com Meditations on God’s Word

GIVING HONOR TO GOD THROUGH OBEDIENCE FROM THE HEART

Obey God in love

“Honor your father and your mother, so that you may live long in the land
the LORD your God is giving you.” (Exodus 20:12)

49 “Why were you searching for me?” he asked. “Didn’t you know I had to be in my Father’s house?” 50 But they did not understand what he was saying to them.51 Then he went down to Nazareth with them and was obedient to them. But his mother treasured all these things in her heart. 52 And Jesus grew in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and man (Luke 2:49-52)

OBEDIENT. This word is on the grade level word lists I use as one portion of my literacy assessments with students. The interesting fact about this word is that, over the course of 25 years when I was the reading specialist at the high school and even now as a literacy tutor, almost all the students I have tested are not familiar with this as a sight word and mispronounce it or try to skip sounding it out altogether. Hmmm…what messages might we infer from this pattern?

OBEDIENT. It is, in fact, a word that we may not want to learn to recognize. Even being able to pronounce it might result in the knowledge and memory of its meaning and how we were disobedient to obedience, thus invoking childhood or adolescent visions of hearing the voice of a parent ordering us to our rooms, losing important privileges, being grounded for two weeks, or waiting in a chair outside the principal’s office. Even though we may not like to be obedient at times in our lives, it is something we must learn and accept for our own safety from the time we are toddlers– and for our own salvation as we mature in age and progress in knowledge of the Lord.

OBEDIENT. Jesus gave us the example of obedience. He was, in all respects, obedient to His heavenly Father and to His earthly parents. From a young boy the age of twelve, Jesus knew He needed to be talking with the teachers in His Father’s house. He was respectful, “listening to them and asking questions.” (Luke 2:46) Even though His knowledge was greater than these teachers, Jesus knew His place as a young boy in the company of elders. Jesus also left His Father’s house at that time and went back to Nazareth with His earthly parents and “was obedient to them.” (Luke 2:51) This young boy, only twelve, who could have been haughty, prideful, arrogant, overbearing, and condescending toward the teachers and His earthly parents was, instead, obedient. Jesus was raised to know and follow the commandments. He was a son who honored his earthly father and mother through obedience to them; He was a Son who honored His heavenly Father through obedience to Him— “Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but yours be done.” (Luke 22:42)

OBEDIENT. It is more than a word. It is a mental and physical act which leads us to the Teacher-to the Father-and to the Father’s House. We must be the examples of obedience to those who do not recognize the importance of the word in God’s plan of salvation. It is a word that may have negative connotations of weakness, compliance, and even oppression in a world that esteems strength through independence and self. But in God’s plan, “obedient” is a word associated with trust, love, hope, and freedom. When we are obedient to the Lord, we willingly give Him our love and trust while He, in turn, offers us His everlasting love in the promise of eternity with Him.

“God does not bless religious efforts—He blesses heart-felt obedience.” ¹ Let us give due honor to our Father through obedience from our hearts.

¹ Jim George. http://www.goodreads.com/quotes

(Sharon G. Tate blog March 6, 2016) teacherforjesus.com Meditations on God’s Word