As He Said
Do you believe in Easter? That may be a strange question near the end of July, but it is a valid question year-round. I remember a story of a woman who would ask this question to everyone she met. The answer they gave would give her an opportunity to share with them the true meaning of Easter: the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ, the hope of all of those who put their trust in Him. Our Pastor has been preaching on the infallible proofs of the resurrection. While there are many who still believe that Jesus was only a good teacher, or that His life was just a made-up story, the truth is that if it was placed in a court of law, the evidence for His life, death, and resurrection would hold up as fact. Despite many who would have benefited from disproving that He actually rose from the dead, no one was ever able to produce His body. You can go to the place where many other revered teachers are entombed, but in the place where Jesus was buried, you will find only an empty tomb! This is the anchoring hope of every Christian.
As I was studying through the Bible passages for myself, a phrase from Matthew 28:6 jumped off of the page. He is not here: for he is risen, as he said. Come, see the place where the Lord lay. “As He Said.”
It is recorded twice in Matthew, twice in Mark, and once in Luke that Jesus gave His disciples specific details of how His life would end, but that He would rise again the third day. (Matthew 16:21, 17:23; Mark 8:31, 9:31; Luke 9:22) Unfortunately, the disciples were a bit distracted with their own agenda. It was not until after Jesus’ resurrection that they recalled what He had told them several times over.
When therefore he was risen from the dead, his disciples remembered that he had said this unto them; and they believed the scripture, and the word which Jesus had said. John 2:22
What distracted the disciples so much that they completely missed this amazing announcement? The disciples were familiar with the prophecies of the Scriptures. They knew that the Messiah would come and set up His Kingdom one day. With this in mind, and Jesus in their midst, they were sure that this was the time that Rome would be overthrown and Jesus would take up His rightful place as King. Because of their position as His disciples, their thoughts revolved around ruling with Jesus and who would be greatest in His kingdom. (Mark 9:34, Luke 22:24) Their thoughts were on themselves, their rights, and their comforts. They completely missed what God was actually doing right in their midst. God’s plans are always so much bigger than ours, and if we are consumed by our own agendas, we, like the disciples, are going to completely miss what God is doing right in our midst.
2020 has turned our well-ordered worlds upside down and topsy-turvy, not only with a pandemic, but also a movement that screams for justice by history cancellation and destruction. Added to that is a vitriolic political scene that pits screaming matches on both sides. Where can a person find comfort and refuge in the midst of such chaos? There is only one place to find that kind of rest, and it is in Jesus’ Word, “as He said.” Because of the hope of the Resurrection, we have hope that this world is not our home. This is only a temporary stop on the way to the eternal.
Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me. In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also. And whither I go ye know, and the way ye know. Thomas saith unto him, Lord, we know not whither thou goest; and how can we know the way? Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me. John 14:6
Jesus plans on earth were never political. His whole life was spent to seek and save that which was lost.
Luke 19:10 For the Son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost.
He often reminded those with other agendas that their focus was wrong. In fact, He likened Peter to Satan for savoring the things of men over the things of God. That is a convicting rebuke for all of us who would place our agenda for politics over the value of a lost soul.
Jesus is coming again. If the state of our world is any indication, His return could be today. While no man knows the day or hour, we do know one thing, it is sooner than it has ever been before. Paul told us to comfort one another with this reminder.
But I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep, that ye sorrow not, even as others which have no hope. For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him.
For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent them which are asleep. For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord. Wherefore comfort one another with these words.
1 Thessalonians 4:13-18
These words should bring us comfort, but if they do not, then we need to find out why.
Do we believe in Easter? Is heaven truly our home because we have trusted in the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus to pay our sin debt and give us eternal life?
Do we savor what Christ savors? The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance. 2 Peter 3:9
Are we waiting and watching as faithful servants, looking for opportunities to do His will each day?
Blessed is that servant, whom his lord when he cometh shall find so doing. Luke 12:43
Until then, my friends, let’s Keep Calm, and Carry On!