May 19, 2014
Today’s Text and Thought of Encouragement:
“But the angel said to them, ‘Do not be afraid; for behold, I bring you good news of a great joy which will come to all the people. For to you is born this day in the town of David a Savior, Who is Christ, the Messiah, the Lord!”
Luke 2: 10, 11
“This Is Good News”
“This is Good News –
The grave is empty,
Christ is risen.
This is the Good News –
The light shines in the darkness,
And the darkness can never put it out.
This is the Good News –
Once we were no people,
Now we are God’s people.
Christ is our peace,
The indestructible peace
We now share with each other.”
Ruth Burgess &
Today’s Study Text:
“Jesus said to (Mary), ‘Do not cling to Me, do not hold Me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father. But go to My brethren and tell them, I am ascending to My Father and your Father, and to My God and your God.’ Away came Mary Magdalene, bringing the disciples news that she had seen the Lord and that He had said these things to her.”
John 20: 17-18
“He is Risen” Part 5
“Go and Tell”
“Our pasts and our presents can keep us from seeing and believing. It is love, faithfulness, staying with Jesus, near to the cross and becoming the beloved disciples, the ones whom Jesus loves, that allows us to be truly members of His community and know His God and our God and His Father and our Father. The Resurrection is an invitation, an unbelievable invitation into the community of Jesus, his Father and his Spirit.”
And Morning Came
Is there anything that I am trying to hold onto that is blocking me from receiving something new that Jesus offers me?
“Jesus forced open a door that had been locked since the death of the first man. He met, fought and beat the King of Death. Everything is different because He has done so.”
C. S. Lewis
“Our old history ends with the cross; our new history begins with the resurrection.”
One of the most impressive qualities that is apparent in the life of Jesus down through history is His accessibility. God had every right to turn His back on the residents of earth who chose to rebel against His love. However, because of the immense love which is the essence of God’s being, He gave up His beloved Son who came to earth to redeem you and me. But Jesus also told His disciples at their meal together in the upper room, before Jesus’ death, speaking specifically to Philip after he asked for Jesus to, “show us the Father…Jesus replied, ‘Have I been with all of you for so long a time, and do you not recognize and know Me yet, Philip? Anyone who has seen Me has seen the Father…What I am telling you I do not say on My own authority and of My own accord: but the Father Who lives continually in Me does His works. Believe Me that I am in the Father and the Father in Me;…If you cannot trust Me, at least let these works that I do in My Father’s name convince you’” (John 14: 8-111, Amplified Bible).
I take some time to share Jesus’ own words regarding His relationship with His Father. For we are able to witness in the life of Mary Magdalene, as she reached out to grasp hold of Jesus, that His approachable openness had opened the door of healing to individuals like Mary and others labeled as social outcasts. However, those who were marginalized because they were “different” were also able to get a glimpse of what their Father in heaven was like. Jesus revealed a picture of His Father and how His Father treated people like you and me – those who were in “sin and trespasses,” as the Apostle states.
In his commentary on John 20: 1-18, Gregory A. Robbins notes “Jesus has a uniquely intimate relationship with God, whom He calls ‘Father.’” But then Professor Robbins underscores the fact that the Apostle John goes to great “pains” to make clear that God is a ‘Jesus-related Being,’ that is, God works redemptively in and through all that Jesus does and undergoes. Hence, Jesus is the Father’s ‘Son’ but (John’s Gospel) goes further. It says that those who have the eyes of faith to perceive this can themselves become ‘children of God.’” In John’s words, “But to as many as did receive and welcome Him, He gave the authority and privilege to become the children of God, that is, to those who believe in and trust in His name” (John 1: 12, Amplified Bible).
What a tremendous gift bestowed from our Father to His wayward earthly children. And as Professor Robbins observes, “that is why Mary cannot hold on to Jesus. Her story and His, His experience and hers, cannot be anchored to the past. Nor is it singular. Instead, (Jesus) calls Mary by name to announce to the disciples – and by extension to all who would believe – a new creation, an unimaginable future. The good news that Mary reports to the disciples is only the beginning of an ongoing revelation of what resurrection and implications might mean.”
Today as you and I read the Biblical account of a stone rolled away and an empty tomb; when we receive the report of heavenly angels, we too believe and when the belief in the Resurrection story infuses our lives as it did all Jesus’ followers, we also are faced with our own responsibility to spread the Good News. As John relates, “Away came Mary Magdalene bringing the disciples news that she had seen the Lord and He had said these things to her” (John 20: 18). As Clayton J. Schmit explains, “This is the first sermon. It is delivered by a woman. She saw and believed and announced…she only required only a word from Jesus. Then she went and told. Here is the message for us. Christ is risen – go tell someone!” This is our “commission” story. You see, death didn’t have the final word with Jesus…and it won’t with you and me either!
“Mary obeyed the risen Jesus. Fighting her impulse to cling to a familiar body, (she left) the garden to tell what she knows to be true. An expected ending is now a beginning – of telling the truth about life to those who want to deal only in death…Mary speaks, and in her speaking we find our own voice.”
Nancy Claire Pillman
“The First Gold of Dawn”
“The long day
stretched into night
and time crept onward
towards the new day.
With the first gold of dawn
came a Resurrection,
a new hope that grew
with the rising sun,
and went out to a waiting world.”
Dorothy Valcàrcel, Author
When A Woman Meets Jesus
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