Luke 24:1-12 – Exactly As He Said

Read Luke 24:1-12

Of course, it is exactly as Jesus had told them — it took seeing to believe. Why? Because it was just that hard to believe. Who dies and then comes back to life three days later? It doesn’t happen now, and it surely didn’t happen then. But God is like that – he can do the unbelievable, and he does, still today. I’ve got a cool example of this. . . keep reading.

Many of you know I’ve been writing this devotional blog for a while now. It was one of the things I dreamed of in retirement. I wanted to devote more time to God, being in his word, and reflecting on his messages for me. He inspired me to share these reflections and use my gift of writing to get his message out to the world. Several months ago, I began to walk through the book of Luke.

I don’t know what prompted me to choose Luke, but for some reason I did, deciding that Acts would follow. I didn’t count the days or the number of passages. When I got to the Palm Sunday text, it was no where near Palm Sunday. But, when Holy Week started I looked at the number of readings I had left, only to realize that the Easter text would fall on Easter. (I always write a day ahead for my readers.)

I got goosebumps when I realized it had worked out so beautifully. I couldn’t have planned it better myself. Now I realize this little miracle is simply that, little. What God did in the resurrection was the miracle of all miracles. As such, it is critical we don’t let the story end, buried in the tomb.

In yesterday’s reading, we heard how the women busied themselves to prepare the herbs and spices for the burial ritual. I imagined them deep in their sadness and feeling forlorn. We have all lost people who are dear to us. Jesus was that and more.

As they walk to the tomb this particular morning, I don’t imagine they spoke much, and their steps were heavy. Can you remember a time when you were mourning the loss of a dear friend, a loved one? There is a sense of being a bit lost and unsure. It’s hard to picture the world without them in it. Imagine the surprise when the saw the tomb empty!

How would you have reacted had you been with the women that morning? Would you have been surprised? Angry? Scared? It didn’t take the two men, presumably messengers from God, long to appear to bring good news to the women.  Yet, they were terrified. Of course they were, they didn’t expect to see men in dazzling clothes, only their Lord in need of their anointing. But the message the men spoke would change their lives forever! Jesus’ own words came rushing back to them in that instant, and they couldn’t keep it to themselves.

Oh–to have that kind of excitement about the word of God! Their faith was so alive at that moment. An empty tomb only meant Jesus was not there, but they knew it meant he had risen as he had said. If it were only so simple for us. Are we as eager to run and tell all our friends about Jesus?

Does this miracle of all miracles touch you to your core so that you cannot keep silent? What is holding you back?

Are we like the disciples? They thought it was complete nonsense, thinking these women had simply lost their minds. But, Peter had to see for himself. Peter knew in his heart that his Lord, his friend, the Son of Man was destined for so much more than death. But he had to see for himself. Do we need to see? Are we waiting for something?

The time for sadness and hopelessness is past. Jesus is alive! He conquered the grave for you and for me! He bore our sins once and for all. He did exactly what he said, and we can rely on his promises. There can be no greater joy than when we realize that God, creator of the universe, came into the world because he loved us too much to let us stay broken. Our sins were separating us from him, and he could no longer let that happen. We were created to be in relationship with our Heavenly Father.

I heard this week that Jesus is the only man who ever built a bridge to heaven with two pieces of wood. Think about it. That bridge is really Jesus, and he is why (and how) we can have full access to our Father God.

For those of you who may be interested, last year I wrote a special Easter post. You can find it HERE.

May you have a BLESSED Easter! Keep that Easter faith alive!

Let’s pray. Father God, your victory is won! Jesus arose as he told us all he would. Hallelujah! Our God reigns! Thank you for what you endured for me. Your glorious resurrection is the miracle of all miracles! Thank you for the joy and peace surrounding me as I reflect on what you have done. You have accomplished all that you set out to do. Now it is up to us to continue your work. Lord, my heart cries out for this broken world. Use me to stand for you and share your truth. I thank you for the privilege to live for you, to share about you, and to one day live in your holy presence. For now, continue to lead me in your will and way for my life. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

 

Luke 23:44-56 – Hopelessness

Read Luke 23:44-56

Over these past days we have focused on Jesus’ final hours before his death. Today we hit bottom. Have you had a time in your life when you felt like you have hit rock bottom? Perhaps you’re stuck in the muck at the bottom of the pit of hopelessness and can’t find your way out. Don’t spend much time there, but do remember the feeling you had. Hopelessness.

Sometimes it’s hard to insert ourselves in the crucifixion and burial part of the story because we know what happens next. I’ve been really focusing on trying to set aside my knowledge of the final victory to feel the hopelessness his friends and followers felt. Continue reading “Luke 23:44-56 – Hopelessness”

Luke 23:26-43 – Watch the Lamb

Read Luke 23:26-43

Crucifixion is such a horrible way to die. Sometimes we forget. We wear crosses to signify our Christian heritage, but we are wearing a symbol of extreme torture. We can not forget what Jesus endured for us. The cross can be our reminder.

The ridicule, the mockery, the pain and agony. This passage made me think of a song sung at our church in Parkersburg during Lent by one of my favorite vocalists! You can listen to Watch the Lamb HERE. The video is very powerful and helps us to see the story come to life through the eyes of Simon, the Cyrene. Continue reading “Luke 23:26-43 – Watch the Lamb”

Luke 23:1-25 – Guilty of What?

Read Luke 23:1-25

Jesus is now on trial for his life. Those in authority, Pilate, the Roman governor, and Herod Antipas, king over the Galilean region, could find nothing wrong with Jesus. They would have been happy to have him flogged and released. They were at least of the right mind – Jesus was not a criminal deserving of death.

What happens next is the crowd turns against Jesus and a death sentence results. Where did that crowd come from? They can’t be the same people who were singing praise and hanging on Jesus’ every word just hours and days before, could it? Perhaps this was a different crowd? I’ve seen it portrayed that the “good guys” are kept out of the courts that day, and it is only the rebels and friends of Barabbas who gain access.  Continue reading “Luke 23:1-25 – Guilty of What?”

Luke 22:66-71 – Are you the Messiah?

Read Luke 22:66-71

So in today’s reading we are witnesses to Jesus questioning by the council. This is an intermediary step we are not familiar with in our culture today. We are generally not questioned by the “church” before the “state.” But these are the disgruntled individuals who brought a claim against Jesus, the very claim that led to his arrest.

There had been men prior and there will be men after Jesus who claim to be the Messiah, or “somebody” as referenced in Acts 5. If truly from God, the power would be unleashed. We see the power of God released in Jesus. Jesus says, “But from now on the Son of Man will be seated in the place of power at God’s right hand.” Continue reading “Luke 22:66-71 – Are you the Messiah?”