Jesus died but that was not the end. The apparent end was the beginning of new life. This day we celebrate the wonder of the resurrection.
Christ has died. Christ is risen. Christ will come again.
This weekend at Eastbrook Church I gave a message entitled “Beginning to Live” about how the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus opens a new way to live our lives. It is a way of purpose, freedom, and joy.
When a person dies, there is a sudden and unsettling stillness that settles into their body. It feels and looks unnatural because there is an utter stillness. Unlike sleep, where the rhythm of breathing usually conveys a peaceful and restorative rest, the stillness of death seems harsh.
Jesus died on the cross. His brutalized body hung limp and bent at awkward angles; suspended by nails that tore the skin. His side was pierced and watery blood flowed out.
Two secret followers worked hard to remove His body from that instrument of cruel torture. They expended the effort to bury Him with dignity. It was likely a messy experience.Read More »
Jesus walked into Jerusalem hailed as a king. Within a few days, the crowd was calling for His execution: “Take Him away! Take Him away! Crucify Him!” (John 19:15).
A thorny crown fiercely adorned His kingly head (19:2). Purple robes signaled His royalty as soldiers spit on Him, slapped Him and mocked Him (19:3). But the only throne given to this King was a rough and brutal wooden cross (19:18). They raised Him up on it for all the world to see. A sign saying “Jesus of Nazareth, King of the Jews” displayed His identity in mocking irony (19:19).
Weak and pitiful, naked and bloody, thirsty andRead More »
Even though He taught God’s truth and healed many people, Jesus was arrested. Clearly, He said some revolutionary things and acted in some startling ways – like pushing things around in the Temple – but His arrest was part of a plot concocted by religious leaders.
He was shuffled from Annas, the former high priest, to Caiphas, the current high priest, to Pilate, the Roman governor, and pushed around in between (John 18:19, 24, 28). Religious authorities tried to rein Him in. Political authorities tried to wield power over Him. Like a common criminal, the King of the nations was mistreated.
Then Read More »
Before His arrest, Jesus gathered with His closest followers. After teaching them, He knew what was to come and so He prayed (John 17).
He prayed that God would be glorified through Him.
He thanked His Father for the privilege of unfolding the Father’s will in showing Himself to these closest followers. He prayed that they would have the full measure of His joy. He prayed that these followers would not be removed from the troubles of this world, but that they would be protected from the evil one. He prayed that they would be sanctified as He sent them into the world.
He prayed for those who would become followers of Him through these first followers’ proclamation. He prayed for unity within His followers, just as He and the Father experienced perfect unity. He prayed that the world would believe through the unity of the followers to come. He prayed that the love of God would fill them.Read More »