Thursday, April 26, 2007

After Good Friday

At the close of the Good Friday service, you challenged us to meditate on what it would have been like for the disciples to see their Leader put to death. So, I put myself in the place of Mary (Martha and Lazarus' sister), and came up with the following:


What a Passover this has been! Martha and I have had so much preparation to do. This year’s celebration meant so much more than in the past. We’ve had so many blessings!

When our brother Lazarus died, we hoped Jesus would be there to say good-bye before we had to bury him. Those two had always been such good friends. Martha and I even sent someone to find Jesus to tell him that Lazarus was dying, but he didn’t come right away. And when he did arrive, it was too late. We had already buried my brother.

My sister was very gracious to the Teacher when he arrived to our home. But not me. I couldn’t help but think that if he had been here sooner, Lazarus would still be alive. After all, he gave sight to a blind man; surely he could save the life of a sick friend whom he loved dearly. I could see the sadness in his eyes. In fact, he did what I’ve seen few men ever do. He wept. When I took him to the tomb where we placed Lazarus, he asked something most sane men wouldn’t ask. He wanted the stone rolled back. Is he a mad man? My brother - Jesus’ friend - died four days ago! Doesn’t he realize how bad it will smell? And what does Jesus think he can do now anyway? Make Lazarus get up and walk?!?

But that’s exactly what he did. All Jesus had to do was speak. “Lazarus, come out!” And out comes my brother, who we knew was dead, walking! A mad man couldn’t bring a dead man back to life, especially after that much time!

I remember the first time Jesus came to the house. Martha is such the homemaker. She had to make sure everything was perfect for our guest. But I couldn’t help but sit at the Teacher’s feet and take in every word from him. Martha couldn’t stand it. She even asked Jesus to send me back to the kitchen! Do you know what he said? “Martha, Martha," my Lord answered, "you are worried and upset about many things, but only one thing is needed. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her."

But it was taken away from me. Jesus is dead. He did what only God could do with Lazarus, but couldn’t save himself. His mother and the other Mary anointed him and buried him, just like Martha and I did with Lazarus.

When Jesus first arrived at our home after we buried Lazarus, he said, “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies; and whoever lives and believes in me will never die.” I could believe in that when Jesus was here.

I don’t know what to believe any more.

Praise be to God that we do not have to go through that confusion! He Is Risen! Hallelujah!

Sunday, April 08, 2007

Signs of Easter, Part 2

Earlier this week I pondered what if someone stood on a corner with signs saying "He Is Risen" and "Hallelujah!"

The signs were made, and I recruited some youth from my church to wave the signs. Not only did they wave the signs, they unashamedly shouted, "JESUS LOVES YOU!" "JESUS DIED ON THE CROSS FOR YOU!" "HE IS RISEN!" "HALLELUJAH!" "HONK FOR JESUS!"

Drivers honked their horns and waved. One guy driving a pick-up truck shouted and pumped his fist in agreement as he drove by. I know this guy. "THAT'S MY NEIGHBOR!"

A broken-down car chugs by. "GOD HAS A CAR FOR YOU!"

Someone drove by in an old, beat-up looking motorhome. "GOD HAS A HOME FOR YOU!"

A man riding a bicycle whizzes by. "GOD CAN HELP YOU WITH YOUR PROBLEMS!"

"I'm telling you, once and for all, that unless you return to square one and start over like children, you're not even going to get a look at the kingdom, let alone get in. Whoever becomes simple and elemental again, like this child, will rank high in God's kingdom. What's more, when you receive the childlike on my account, it's the same as receiving me." (Matthew 16:2-5, MSG)

I want to be more like these kids.

Friday, April 06, 2007

The Garden

A while back, I read a work by Max Lucado called "Come Home, God Is Calling". In Chapter 3 of the piece (starting on page 9) is a reflection of Christ's arrest in the Garden of Gethsemane the night before the crucifixion (John 18:1-9)

As I read it, I placed myself in the story. I was there, with the disciples. I witnessed the soldiers - speira - no fewer than 200 men, all of them armed, all of them surrounding us.

"Who are you looking for?" Jesus asked.
They answered, "Jesus from Nazareth."
"I am he," Jesus said.

When Jesus said, "I am he," they moved back and fell to the ground. All of them.

I moved back and fell to the ground (in this scene as it played in my mind). When Jesus speaks, Satan falls. Why then, if I were with the disicples and with Jesus, did I fall back? Why didn't I remain standing?

Because I am a sinner. Yes, I've been saved through faith in Jesus, saved by grace. But I am also human, tainted by sin. That sinful nature in me, that weakness that Satan knows so well, is why I fell back when Jesus spoke.

Jesus spoke again. "If you are looking for me, let the others go."

The soldiers let us go. They let me go. Rather than stay with Jesus, stay with my Savior, I ran. Fast and hard. I was awed by this display of divine power, yet at the same time, I was afraid.

When Jesus speaks, Satan falls.

"If you are looking for me, let the others go."

Satan thought he ahd captured and defeated his enemy. Through what Jesus did on the cross, he defeaten Satan (not that Satan had a chance in the first place).

When Satan knocks on the door, ask, "Jesus, can you get that for me?" After all, it is Jesus that Satan is looking for. It is Jesus that Satan still , to this very day, is trying to stop. Satan torments you and me because he knows that it's in our hearts that Jesus dwells.

And when Jesus speaks, Satan falls. Every time.

Sunday, April 01, 2007

Signs of Easter

I was driving home today and found myself "thinking outside the box".....

You know those signs that people get paid to hold and wave back and forth on the street corners? The ones advertising everything from PIZZA to TAX RETURNS DONE to CARS FOR SALE to CELL PHONES....

What if....

On Easter Sunday, two people dressed as ANGELS waving signs that say "HE IS RISEN!" and "HALLALUJAH!", and someone dressed as the RISEN JESUS waving from a street corner.

It might not be "politically correct" to promote Christmas. But I haven't heard any uproar about promoting the RESURRECTION of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ!

Inscription on artwork: "For this very reason, Christ died and returned to life so that he might be the Lord of both the dead and the living. - Romans 14:9"

Artwork "Risen" by David Sorensen