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Archive for Resurrection

Easter

by Mike Moore

We call it Easter. The word appears only once in the Bible and it is not referring to the event we celebrate this Sunday. It is one of my most favorite days of the year.

He is alive.

And everything is different because of it.

Education is great. But no one ever educated someone to walk out of a tomb. Medical science is wonderful. But it has limits. Even the best doctors and nurses can only keep us alive for a few years. Death seems so final. We talk about final expenses and final illness and final wishes. Philosophies are often nice, but no one ever thought his way out of a grave. Diplomacy is often impressive. No one ever agreed to rise from the dead. Military power is sometimes awesome. But no army or navy ever freed a dead person. And congresses and parliaments don’t have the power to conquer death.

Did it really happen? The evidence is overwhelming. And the wild theories giving other choices are really weak alternatives. Wrong tomb? The authorities could go to the right one and produce the body. Animals stole the body? Sure, a few animals got together and rolled away a two-ton stone and overpowered the guards. Try again. The followers stole it? Hardly. They had forsaken Him in a cowardly way. And if they stole it, would they have been willing to die for a hoax?
Great legal and historical scholars have studied the facts and decided Christ did indeed rise. Lawyer Frank Morison set out to refute the evidence and ended up writing a book called,
Who Moved the Stone? supporting the resurrection. Simon Greenleaf of Harvard Law School concluded that the resurrection was one of the best-supported events in history, according to the laws of legal evidence administered in courts of justice.

When I was a youngster in school we had holidays at Easter. We had the Friday before and the Monday after off from class. Later, the holidays grew to a full week and became known as Spring Break and they were not always at Easter time. People have forgotten in many ways what the date on the calendar means.

Spring is about new beginnings and new life after the deadness of winter. Easter is about much more than new clothes and ham dinners and colored eggs. Many will not give it a second thought, just as Christmas is only presents, food, Rudolph, and the office party. Some folks will go to church, just as they do on Mother’s Day or Christmas and feel as though they are doing God a favor.

Go ahead, visit Mecca and see the tomb of Mohammed, or view the grave of some other religious founder. Honor some dead leader. If it makes sense to follow someone who cannot defeat death, go ahead. Not me. If it does not work for the founder, the leader, I don’t want it. Losing coaches don’t conduct clinics on how to win games. Losing generals don’t tell how to win battles. But the One who rolled away a stone and walked out of a tomb, can tell me about this life and the next and victory over death. He tells us to trust Him for our eternal well-being. The Bible puts it so well, “Why seek you the living among the dead?” and “He is risen, as He said.”

He is alive.

Jesus

by Mike Moore

Who was and who is Jesus Christ?

First, there is the tense. Tense means time. Time is not important or limiting to Him. Dr. Mark Cambron, a great Bible teacher of years past, always said, “Time is an island in the sea of God’s eternity.”

People have trouble deciding whether to say, “Jesus was” – past tense, or “Jesus is” – present tense, or “Jesus will” – future tense.

All are correct. But He must never be left in the past. He is not some First-Century teacher who ran contrary to Roman law and was executed. He is not some long-dead reformer or religious founder. He is not in a tomb in a Judean hillside. He is now, and He is alive. The well-known American news magazine was wrong when the cover story asked, “Who WAS Jesus?”
More has been written about Him than about anyone else. He is the center of it all.

But just who was and is Jesus Christ?

The theories and ideas are legion. Islam, that come-lately religion which swept out of Arabia in the 600s, says He is the next-to-the last prophet. The cult known as Jehovah’s Witnesses says He is a created being. Many in the pablum-sounding liberal mainline denominations say He was a good man, an example.

The Bible says He is God and He is Man.

There is no “good man” middle ground. Good men do not go around claiming to be God. He is something different.

Many, if not most people, certainly in America, may give Him no thought at all. There is not time. People must climb the business ladder and watch their favorite team and take the kids to soccer and play golf and go shopping.

It is time to stop and consider this story and the claims of this Person. Because if it is true that He is what He claimed to be and that He came back from the dead, it is worth our time.

He is different than Gandhi, or Buddha, or George Washington or another famous person of history.

Jesus Christ was born to a teenage mother in a small village about five miles from Jerusalem. He lived on earth for 33 years. He was killed. Then He came back from the dead. He said He will return.

I believe Him.

I Am the Resurrection and the Life

April 13, 2015

Many friends and I have been empty_tombgrieving the death of a college classmate recently. She and I were freshmen together. I looked forward to meeting her along with others at a local restaurant for coffee. I was aware that she was in the building because of her laugh. What a laugh it was! When she laughed, she really laughed. And it was contagious. Others seemed to catch it and laugh with her. She lived her life with eternity in mind, especially during the last couple of years when she endured much suffering. She will be missed. I could not help but think of her when I penned these words.

During His ministry on earth Jesus, the God-Man, demonstrated His amazing power over nature, angels, disease, demons, and death itself. Amazingly, He raised three people from the dead: the widow of Nain’s son (Lk. 7:14), Jarius’ daughter (Matt. 9:25), and probably his most famous resurrection was that of Lazarus (John 11:1-27).

Lazarus never said a word, but his story is still speaking around the world today. His testimony begins in the little town of Bethany. It was located about two miles from Jerusalem where Jesus was staying. Jesus received word that Lazarus, a dear friend, was sick. Lazarus’ sisters, Mary and Martha, had sent word to Jesus, possibly thinking that Jesus would come right away. Instead, Jesus sent word that Lazarus was not going to die but that his sickness was to shed light upon the Son of God.

The text clearly says that Jesus loved all three of these siblings: Lazarus, Mary, and Martha. But He waited in Jerusalem two more days. Two more days! Why? It is simple. He waited for Lazarus to die. When He was at last ready to depart for Bethany, He told His disciples that Lazarus was asleep and it was time to go and wake Him up.

The disciples’ response was understandable. Sick people need rest and it’s good that he is asleep. It is obvious that they were not yet tuned in. Then Jesus rocked them by announcing that Lazarus was dead. Dead! But He quickly followed up with these incredible words. “And I am glad for your sakes that I was not there, that you may believe. Nevertheless, let us go to Him” (John 11:15). Lazarus is dead and the Lord is glad? I can’t begin to imagine how these men must have responded to these words. “That you may believe” was possibly lost in the moment.

When Jesus arrived on the scene, He discovered that Lazarus had been dead four days. Four days! I’ve often wondered what went through Mary and Martha’s minds during this time. Where is He? Why doesn’t He come? Does He really care for us? He did so many wonderful things for so many people, why not us? They must have had a myriad of thoughts, and some of them not good. And He was only two miles away! Then comes the majestic moment.

Jesus met Martha face to face. The air must have been ripe with emotion. Martha’s cried, “Lord if you had been here my brother would not have died.” It’s hard to know how her words came out and what she was really thinking. She followed up quickly by saying that God may yet do something.

Jesus’s words, “Your brother is going to rise again,” may have simply hung in the air as Martha tried to process them. She obviously missed the true meaning. She exhibited poise, however. She filled an awkward silence by choking out, “I know he will rise at the resurrection.”

Our Lord’s words should be indelibly emboldened upon every believer’s heart. “I am the resurrection and the Life. He who believes in Me – though he may die – yet shall he live.” And His next words reveal the most miraculous truth of all. “He who lives and believes in Me shall never die. Do you believe this?” I imagine Him saying it softly, like this: “Martha, Martha, look at Me. Don’t you know who I am? Martha, I am the resurrection! When I am here, the resurrection is here. I am the One who gives life. When I am here, life is here.”

I am awed when I think of the truth of these words: “He who lives and believes in me will never die.” Believers that die go instantly into the presence of Jesus Christ. For us nothing comes between leaving this world and entering the next. We do not die! The very millisecond that this physical life ends, we are face to face with Christ. We are absent from the body and present with the Lord. Halleluiah!

The supernatural moment finally came. Jesus asked those around to move the stone away from the grave! Hold it! Lazarus had been dead too long! His body was already a stench. “Move it away,” Jesus commanded. They obeyed. Then Jesus spoke boldly, “Lazarus, come forth.” He wasn’t saying it loudly for Lazarus to hear. After all, He was the One who spoke all of creation into existence. He was the One who breathed life into Adam. He was the One who said, let there be, and it was. No! He wanted all those standing around to hear. He wants us now to hear. He wants those who read this who are spiritually dead in their sins to hear. Lazarus immediately obeyed His command. The one who was dead came to life and walked out of that tomb.

Our Lord’s words, Lazarus come forth, shout to us now and continue to reverberate down thought the corridors of human history. Jesus said that He was glad for “your sakes that you may believe.” Believe what! Believe that only God can give life to the dead. Jesus Christ is God, and only He can give you life. “And this is the record that God has given to us eternal life and this life is in His Son. He who has the Son has life” (1 John 5:11). Do you believe this?

Resurrection and the Mercy Seat

April 24, 2011

Sitting with my wife at the Baptist Hospital in Jackson, Mississippi, looking out the window on a beautiful sunshiny day, is not where we wanted to be this Resurrection morning.  We are consciously aware because of Romans 8:28 that we are never out from under God’s amazing love and care for us. Our Savior’s words, “I will never leave you nor forsake you” come to mind. I was supposed to preach a sunrise service early this morning and a late morning service in my pulpit at Glendale Baptist Church.  Depressed and discouraged? Not really! Linda made a dandy audience and listened attentively as I preached my Resurrection sermon to her. It was my desire to receive and give just one fresh glimpse into the Resurrection. I found such a peek as I put a few passages together. One came from Matthew’s account of the Resurrection in Matthew 28:2, the second from Luke 24:4, and the third from John’s gospel in John 20:12.

Matthews begins his look at the Resurrection by saying that, accompanied by an earthquake, “an angel of the Lord ascended to the empty tomb of Jesus Christ and rolled back the stone from the door and sat on it.”  We know that the angel did not move the stone to let Jesus out. Our Lord had long been gone. The stone was rolled away to let the women in, followed by the disciples, and us. What a picture! “He is not here for He has risen as He said He would. Come see the place where the Lord lay,” confirm this truth. These precious words have echoed down through the ages to give hope to the hopeless and to signal that death has lost its fearful sting.

Now the glimpse! Matthew mentions one angel, Luke on the other hand, says that there were indeed, two angels. What I want us to focus in on just a moment is John’s positioning of the angels.  He placed one at the head of the place where Jesus had lain and one at the foot. This brought into my mind a mental picture of the mercy seat and the Day of Atonement. On that day the high priest would go into the Holy of Holies and sprinkle blood on the mercy seat. This blood was a temporary shadow of what God required to hide the guilt of the people’s sin.

Remember the two cherubim located at each end of the mercy seat? Hebrews says that above it (the mercy seat) were the cherubim of glory overshadowing the mercy seat (Hebrews 9:5).  In my opinion these angels were there to shed light (glory) upon the holiness of God, one symbolizing His righteousness and the other His justice. The first representing righteousness demanded that sin be paid for by the shedding of blood and the other to remind Israel, and us, that his justice must be satisfied in order for the sinners to approach God. However, this being a temporary shadow brought back into the people’s minds the consciousness of their guilt before God. This happened because the blood of animals could never satisfy God.

Then Christ came, suffered, died, and rose again. What the blood of the animals could never do, His did. As our forever High Priest, He made the ultimate sacrifice of Himself thereby satisfying forever God’s demand against our sin. He paid the debt in full.

Catch this!  I visualize through Matthew’s eyes the two angels at either end of the empty tomb signifying that God’s righteous, just demand against our sin has been forever met.  Christ’s resurrection guarantees that our God is forever satisfied with His offering for sin. The angels – like the cherubim at the mercy seat – witness to this fact. What an amazing glimpse into God’s truth! Oh what a Savior we have. Have a great resurrection day.