Friday, April 02, 2021

Not Just Any Other Day

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This weekend the world's two and a half billion Christians will celebrate the torture, execution, and resurrection of an obscure Jewish carpenter.

Some will note the holiday in passing, and celebrate much like it was just any other day---or at least any other holiday.

Yet 700 years before Jesus appeared on earth, a prophet wrote: "He is despised and rejected of men...acquainted with grief...But He was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our His stripes, we are healed."

Today is not just any other day. Neither is Sunday.

The prophet began by asking, "Who hath believed our report? And to whom is the arm of the Lord revealed?

The prophet Isaiah continued telling us why this would not be just any other day in Chapter 53, verses 3 through 11.

The power of the story of the execution and subsequent resurrection, which we retell every year, is that it has all the themes that have followed humans throughout the ages. 

The corrupted official mockingly asks "Quid est veritas?"---What is Truth? 

And the hypocrisy of the religious elite shouting, "We have no king but Caesar," while claiming to be followers of God.

The mob...the treachery of a friend, the loneliness of the accused...The love and desperation of a mother.

How do you think Mary, the mother of Jesus, felt when she knew the 2000 lb stone had been rolled down an incline, sealing the entrance of the tomb for all time.

Certainly, she experienced hopelessness and desperation. And sadness.

Has anything happened to you this past year that has caused hopelessness?

We cannot fully comprehend God's purposes when we can only see the current circumstances---if we only focus on the near term. We must always consider what God is doing long-term.

Many Christians today see the very clear imprint of the End Times in our current events. I do. Yet as World War II broke out more than 8 decades ago, many saw Hitler as an anti-Christ himself---he certainly possessed the spirit of anti-Christ.

But when World War II wound down, with over 50 million dead and widespread suffering everywhere--- the stage had been set for the greatest explosion of Christian evangelism in the history of the world.

God had spoken through His prophet, but many misunderstood.

Like the men walking on the road to Emmaus after the crucifixion, who said to the risen, but unrecognized Christ, "We had hoped he was the one to redeem Israel" (Luke 24:21).

Which of your hopes has been dashed and unrealized? What plans have evaporated?

Yes, we live in uncertain times---troubling times. The Christian consensus prevailing since the American founding seems to have evaporated like the dew before the rising sun.

But remember, this is not just any other day---nor is Sunday.

On Sunday morning, an angel spoke to the women who had come to visit the tomb: "Fear not: for I know that ye seek Jesus, which was crucified."

"He is not here: He has risen as He said, Come see the place where the Lord lay."

"And go quickly and tell His disciples that He is risen from the dead: and behold, he goeth before you into Galilee, there shall you see him... And they departed quickly from the sepulchre with fear and great joy, and did run to bring his disciples word."

While running to share the good news, they ran right into Jesus, the Risen Lord.

If we stand at the tomb we will never find Him. He is not there. While running to tell the story of Jesus, they ran right into Him.

And he said to them: "Be not afraid: go tell my disciples..."

Neither Friday nor Sunday are just any other day.

Rejoice. He is risen. He is risen indeed.

Be Blessed.