Good News: JESUS HAS 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 16:1-8)

            *******************************************************************

     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 04/01/18) teacherforjesus.com  Meditations on God’s Word

 

Advertisements

The Man on the Path to the Cross

Crowds gather to watch,

Some crying and wailing,

Others yelling “Crucify Him!”

The man on the path–innocent.

 

His body scarred and bloody,

Flogged and spit upon,

Weakened and fatigued,

Carrying a weight–the cross.

 

Knees collapsing into sand,

Simon forced to lift the load,

Yet the burden remaining

Within the man on the path.

 

Looking ahead to Golgotha,

The place of the skull—

Death awaits, has waited. . .

Since his first cry in the manger.

 

The man has seen the path ahead–

In the temple on His Father’s business,

In the upper room sharing the bread,

In the garden praying alone “Thy Will.”

 

We watch from a distance, His path,

And know the final walk is victory.

The man, Son of God, on the cross,

Obedient to sacrifice–“It is Finished.”

 

(Sharon  G. Tate 03/25/18)    teacherforjesus.com  Meditations on God’s Word

JESUS WEPT: Tears that give us hope.

 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.

In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus: Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to His own advantage; 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 03/18/18) teacherforjesus.com  Meditations on God’s Word

WHAT WOULD I HAVE DONE? The question seeks an answer.

 

37 Peter asked, “Lord, why can’t I follow You now? I will lay down my life for You.” 38 Then Jesus answered, “Will you really lay down your life for Me? Very truly I tell you, before the rooster crows, you will disown Me three times! (John 13:37-38)

What would I have done?

The question seeks an answer.

Lay down my life for Him

And never disown my Lord.

Like Peter, I would boldly speak.

 17 “You aren’t one of this man’s disciples too, are you?” she asked Peter. He replied, “I am not.”

25 Meanwhile, Simon Peter was still standing there warming himself. So they asked him, “You aren’t one of his disciples too, are you?” He denied it, saying, “I am not.”

26 One of the high priest’s servants, a relative of the man whose ear Peter had cut off, challenged him, “Didn’t I see you with him in the garden?” 27 Again Peter denied it, and at that moment a rooster began to crow. (John 18:17, 25-27)

What would I have done?

The question seeks an answer.

Within myself, I find doubt-

Denial, fear, guilt, sorrow.

Like Peter, I am also weak.

60 Just as he was speaking, the rooster crowed. 61 The Lord turned and looked straight at Peter. Then Peter remembered the words the Lord had spoken to him: “Before the rooster crows today, you will disown me three times.” 62 And he went outside and wept bitterly. (Luke 22:60-62)

What would I have done?

The question seeks an answer.

I feel the Savior’s eyes on me-

Peering, knowing, forgiving.

Like Peter, I am weeping too.

13 . . . “Whom do men say that I the Son of man am?”

14 And they said, “Some say that thou art John the Baptist: some, Elias; and others, Jeremias, or one of the prophets.”

15 He saith unto them, “But whom say ye that I am?”

16 And Simon Peter answered and said, “Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God.”

17 And Jesus answered and said unto him, “Blessed art thou, Simon Barjona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but My Father which is in heaven.

18 And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build My church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. (Matthew 16:13-18)

What would I have done?

The question seeks an answer.

Respond with “some say” or declare-

“My Lord is the Christ, the Son of God.”

Like Peter, let me boldly speak.

A weak vessel becomes strong. His actions declare, “I am His disciple.”  His faith speaks God’s Truth, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” He follows the command to go and spread this Truth to others.

WHAT WILL I DO TODAY?

The question seeks an answer.

(Sharon G. Tate blog 03/11/18) teacherforjesus.com Meditations on God’s Word

The Empty Seat

 

Attendance taken.

Missing today.

 Check mark. √

Absent—beyond the check mark:

My day off, so I slept in.

Other things were scheduled.

Just didn’t feel like coming today.

I won’t be missed anyway.

****************************

24 And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, 25 not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.       (Hebrews 10:24-25)

Your presence is an important encouragement to my growth in the Lord as my presence should be to yours. When we are absent from one another on the Lord’s Day, it involves more than empty seats.

They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship,  to the breaking of bread and to prayer. (Acts 2:42) 

The fellowship of our church family is less with your absence or my absence. When we commune together during the passing of the bread and cup, a seat—mine or yours– is skipped over. Our family is missing an important member.

11 So Christ Himself gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors and teachers, 12 to equip His people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up 13 until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.  (Ephesians 4:11-13)

Together, we are strengthened and unified in the faith. We help each other strive to attain maturity in the Lord.

Let the message of Christ dwell among you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom through psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit, singing to God with gratitude in your hearts. (Colossians 3:16)

To “admonish” is to advise, counsel, urge, take to task. I need you and you need me “to teach and admonish one another” in the Lord.

12 Just as a body, though one, has many parts, but all its many parts form one body, so it is with Christ . . .15 Now if the foot should say, “Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body,” it would not for that reason stop being part of the body.16 And if the ear should say, “Because I am not an eye, I do not belong to the body,” it would not for that reason stop being part of the body.17 If the whole body were an eye, where would the sense of hearing be? If the whole body were an ear, where would the sense of smell be? 18 But in fact God has placed the parts in the body, every one of them, just as He wanted them to be. 19 If they were all one part, where would the body be? 20 As it is, there are many parts, but one body. (I Corinthians 12:12, 15-20)

The Lord misses you, and He misses me when we are absent. The body is not whole with the empty seat. He is there. His seat is never empty. For where two or three gather in My name, there am I with them.” (Matthew 18:20)

Let us be present with each other in the Presence of the Lord. You matter. I matter. 

Christ gave His life for you and for me.

 (Sharon G. Tate blog 03/04/18)  teacherforjesus.com  Meditations on God’s Word