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Monday, April 9, 2007
We had a very cold Easter morning with temperatures below freezing but a small group of Jonquils are still blooming by our shed!
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"After that, He appeared to more than five hundred of the brothers at the same time, most of whom are still living, though some have fallen asleep" (1 Corinthians 15:6).
Years ago a proud, ungodly professor tried to reason with a young child who believed in the Lord Jesus; "My dear little girl, you don't know whom you believe in. There have been many christs, in which of them do you believe?" The child confidently replied, "I know which one I believe in. I believe in the Christ who rose from the dead!"
This weekend, all over the world, Christians again acknowledged and celebrated the glorious resurrection of Jesus Christ. Indeed, it is true, He is risen and He lives forevermore! "He came to seek and to save the lost." Although our backgrounds from various regions of the globe are vastly different, all who accept Christ number among those saved from sin. What a joy to know that our Redeemer lives and makes intercession in heaven for us this very day!
The faith of the Christian believer has a sound, objective, verifiable historical basis. There were many appearances of the resurrected Christ over the 40-day period from the day of His resurrection to the day of His ascension that are not recorded in the historical portions of the Gospels or Acts. In 1 Corinthians 15 the apostle Paul lists the names of some whom Christ appeared to following His resurrection, including one remarkable group of more than five hundred who are not mentioned anywhere else in Scripture.
This particular appearance to over 500 in one setting must have been a part of the record transmitted through the apostolic preaching. I yearn for more details of this encounter but will have to wait till heaven to speak personally to these unnamed eyewitnesses. It must have been quite a meeting!
Can you imagine the stir in the crowd for those trying to get a glimpse of what others were describing as the person of Jesus. Voices could be heard, "Jesus! It's Jesus! He's alive!" Still others pointed to the moving figure in the distance, "There He is!" Surely many excited parents propped children on their shoulders to get a view of Christ. Others squeezed through small openings in the crowd so they could get a closer look of the resurrected Christ. There was no closed-circuit TV for those unable to get a glimpse so there's little doubt that some were frantic in their attempt to get a good view of this walking Miracle. Many of them were still alive when Paul wrote, but since this was written some 25 years after the event, some had "fallen asleep" (a phrase the early church used for "death.")
Today, as people of faith, we are among those who rely on these eyewitness testimonies. After one post-resurrection experience Jesus said to an eyewitness, "Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed" (John 20:29).
Many years later Peter, an eyewitness himself, wrote to all subsequent generations of believers, including ours: "Though you have not seen Him, you love Him; and even though you do not see Him now, you believe in Him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy" (1 Peter 1:8).
Today, I believe! My family believes. And this day we again choose to follow and obey the resurrected Lord Jesus. Will you join us?
Be encouraged today,
Stephen & Brooksyne Weber
Daily Prayer: Father, we are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy when we gather with believers on Resurrection Sunday and unitedly proclaim, "The Lord is risen. He is risen indeed!" Though we were not personal eyewitnesses to the resurrection of Your Son we have personally witnessed this intimate change that Christ has made in our hearts. The completion of Christ's incarnation took place at the tomb when death was swallowed up in victory as He overcame the power and terror of death's penalty. Satan's plot failed as God's plan flourished making us more than victorers through Christ who loves us and atoned for our sins! Thank You, for all You endured so that we might have abundant and eternal life. Amen.
Digging Deeper: The historian Luke begins his accounts with these thoughtful introductions. "Therefore, since I myself have carefully investigated everything from the beginning, it seemed good also to me to write an orderly account for you, most excellent Theophilus, so that you may know the certainty of the things you have been taught" (Luke 1:3,4). "After His suffering, He showed himself to these men and gave many convincing proofs that He was alive. He appeared to them over a period of forty days and spoke about the kingdom of God" (Acts 1:3). Peter reminds his readers that, "We did not follow cleverly invented stories when we told you about the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but we were eyewitnesses of His majesty" (2 Peter 1:16).
Today's suggested music:
Here's an interesting online version of "Christ The Lord Is Risen Today" (audio) (The lead-in in this song may throw you off for the arrangement that follows. It's not for everyone, but it certainly has a joyful uplifting tempo to compliment the uplifting message.
A stately pipe organ version
"He Lives" audio This is not the song we were looking for by this title but we were blessed by this version! Take a listen.
"Because He Lives" audio
Yesterday my family joined my older brother Pat and his family for Easter. He pastors Faith Community, a church in Easton Pennsylvania, which is about 100 miles away from our home. Yesterday he faithfully proclaimed the resurrection of Jesus Christ and we sang two of my favorite Easter songs: "Christ the Lord is Risen Today" and "Christ Arose". We joined his family for a delicious Easter dinner following the service and visited throughout the afternoon until we nodded off. Following our Sunday nap Pat, Brooksyne and I took our customary walk from his house down to the Chain Dam on the Lehigh River. (video) We tease about Mom's variation of any reference to a dam - she would commonly refer to it as "Chain Darn" lest the meaning of the word be misunderstood :-)
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