May 26th, 2014 by Christopher Caudle
Scriptures for today.
Psalm 119.1--24 · Exodus 15.22-16.10 ·1 Peter 2.1-10 · Psalm 12, 13, 14 · John 15.1-11
Prayer for today.
Almighty Father, you have given your only Son to die for our sins and to rise again for our justification: grant us so to put away the leaven of malice and wickedness that we may always serve you in pureness of living and truth; through the merits of your Son Jesus Christ our Lord, who is alive and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.
Question for today.
Bishop Jones urges in his Easter address, “Notice that in the Gospels' account of the resurrection the focus is never on the "how" of the resurrection, rather, on the mission imperative; to go find Jesus who has gone on ahead of us into Galilee.” How often do you put questions of “How?” ahead of questions about “What next?” Re-valuing the significance of those 2 questions can help us move forward, help us see more clearly the value of the Lord we are pursuing, open us to the strengthening for mission that Jesus both proclaims and provides.
Easter Joy, Easter Hope
Look at all the Easter drama; women in the dark, angels sitting on top of the stone, the empty tomb, the angels' invitation to "come and see", running to see Jesus. With a watershed event like the resurrection, there can only be action, drama and ironies. In the gospel of Matthew 28:1-10, all this drama takes place and the greatest irony is in verse 4. "And for fear of Him the guards trembled and became like dead men." Those who appear alive are actually dead. The one who is supposed to be dead is actually alive!
Hallelujah! He is risen! He is risen, indeed, Hallelujah! "Egerthe" is the Greek word used for "he has been raised." One word in Greek, four words in English, and all of Christianity rises or falls on the truth of the event of the resurrection of Jesus Christ.
Notice that in the Gospels' account of the resurrection the focus is never on the "how" of the resurrection, rather, on the mission imperative; to go find Jesus who has gone on ahead of us into Galilee. Where is Galilee? It is wherever you meet Jesus. It is here, right now, if you want it to be.
In the gospel resurrection accounts, there is nothing about "life after death". Instead, it is the exhortation to go meet Jesus now, in this world, where by His Holy Spirit He is transforming our lives to make a difference now. Yes, there is life after death and a new resurrection body that will come at the second coming. But, for now, it is the difference that the resurrected body, the life of Christ, His Holy Spirit makes in us today. Go quickly and tell. This is the message of the angels. This is also the message of Jesus to the women, "Go tell your brothers." Notice the word "brothers." He doesn't call them cowards, He does not even call them disciples as the angels did. Rather, "brothers" reflects the identity they now have in Christ as forgiven, loved, known, and accepted.
This, too, is our identity. This is the mission message we have to go tell the world. The death and resurrection of Jesus Christ indicates that vindication of the life of Christ, His love, His passion and His glory. All of His love and life, His generosity, His outreach to the outcasts, His call to holiness and purity, His identity as the son of God, all of this is vindicated at the resurrection. Go and tell the world. Use art, drama, songs, poetry, social justice, teach, preach, whatever it takes. The bodily resurrection of Jesus Christ compels us to show His glory in this world right now. The old age is disappearing and the new age of Christ continues to move in and through people like you and me. Our struggles, trials, temptations and burdens do not have to define us. The suffering will be redeemed. This is the Easter joy, the Easter hope.
May the power of the Easter life fill you with resurrection hope and mission.
Now, go quickly and tell!