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Monday, April 22, 2019

Rutt Farm sunset 4/21/19 (Click to enlarge)
Last night's sunset over the Rutt farm.
(Click on photo to for a larger view with Scripture)

"Nonsense Or Historical Fact"

Message summary: What is your view of the resurrection of Jesus Christ? How does it impact you? Do you believe the resurrection of Jesus Christ is nonsense or historical fact?

Listen to our message on your audio player.

"Why do you seek the living One among the dead? He is not here, but He has risen. Remember how He spoke to you while He was still in Galilee, saying that the Son of Man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men, and be crucified, and the third day rise again. And they remembered His words, and returned from the tomb and reported all these things to the eleven and to all the rest. Now they were Mary Magdalene and Joanna and Mary the mother of James; also the other women with them were telling these things to the apostles. But these words appeared to them as nonsense, and they would not believe them" (Luke 24:5-11).

Then came the morning that sealed the promise
Your buried body began to breathe
Out of the silence, the Roaring Lion
Declared the grave has no claim on me

Yesterday many worship leaders and pastors joyfully proclaimed to their congregations, "The Lord is risen!" with the congregation responding, "He is risen indeed!"

It's an ancient declaration of faith that can too easily become a mere cliché on Easter. However these four words express the very bedrock of Christian faith; "He is risen indeed". Yesterday our church played a brief clip from a sermon by Billy Graham in 1966 (Listen here) in which he contends that the announcement, "He is not here; He has risen!" is the greatest announcement the world has ever heard.

The literal, bodily resurrection of Jesus Christ is a genuine, historical event validated by many eyewitnesses. It is the core doctrine of the Christian faith once for all entrusted to the church of Jesus Christ for all time.

Today there are many who consider the message of the resurrection of Jesus Christ nonsense. But have you considered that this was the initial reaction of the disciples!

Very early on Resurrection morning some of the women had gone to the tomb. They were planning to anoint a dead body with spices but had a glorious encounter instead!

Two men (angels) dressed in white first proclaimed the glorious resurrection message to these devoted women, "Why do you look for the living among the dead? He is not here; He has risen! Remember how He told you, while He was still with you in Galilee: 'The Son of Man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men, be crucified and on the third day be raised again". "Then they remembered His words" (Luke 24:5-8).

"When they came back from the tomb, they told all these things to the eleven and to all the others" (Luke 24:9). The disciples were together early that morning. Though it is not written in Scripture they were surely discussing recent events and considering what the future held for them without their leader.

Upon the arrival of the Mary Magdalene, Joanna, and Mary (mother of James), we would surely expect the disciples to receive their wonderful news with great joy and ready belief. After all, they had heard the phrase "and on the third day be raised again" more than once and even by Jesus Himself. They should have been jumping up and down, shouting, singing praises, doing high-fives, and waking up the neighborhood with the triumphant message, "Jesus is risen from the dead! He's alive!".

But Luke records their stunning reaction. "But they did not believe the women, because their words seemed to them like nonsense" (Luke 24:11). These disciples, who had worked so closely with Jesus during His earthly ministry, did not believe and considered the message of the women "nonsense".

Why did these disciples fail to initially believe the resurrection message? They had seen His great miracles; healing the sick, opening the deaf ears and blind eyes, making the lame walk again, and even raising people from the dead. They had certainly grown in their relationship with Jesus during those years. During His ministry they had heard Him share repeatedly about His forthcoming death and resurrection. This teaching intensified as Jesus' ministry progressed and is especially prominent during His final time with them prior to His arrest and trial.

But upon hearing the message for the first time they did not believe and considered the words nonsense. At least this dispels the notion that it was merely a made-up story they wanted to believe.

Of course each one of these disciples quickly came to believe and went on to serve and die for the risen Lord.

What is your view of the resurrection of Jesus Christ? How does it impact you? Do you believe the resurrection of Jesus Christ is nonsense or historical fact?

Hallelujah, praise the One who set me free
Hallelujah, death has lost its grip on me
You have broken every chain
There's salvation in Your name
Jesus Christ, my living hope

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Praying manDaily prayer: Jesus, Your mission on earth in obedience to the Father, ultimately led to Your obedience of death on the cross. But on the third day You defied death and rose to life again. Your resurrected body was identified by the nail scars visible in Your hands and Your feet. Nails driven into Your innocent body by our sinful hearts, for when we were dead in our trespasses and sins You died for us, the ungodly. How undeserving we are of Your sacrificial death and the Father's gift of eternal life. With humble hearts we receive this tremendous gift of salvation with hearts of gratitude and rejoicing. Amen.

I find value in a blog (oddly named Juicy Ecumenism) that addresses the apostasy (falling away) in the modern church, particularly in mainline denominations. Sadly the battles for Biblical faithfulness long fought in the mainline denominations now impact the Evangelicals as well.

The various writers of the blog hold to a faithful Biblical position but some commenters do not. One commenter, responding to an assertion of the historical resurrection, made this proud, mocking assessment, speaking for so many moderns who continue to see the Resurrection as "nonsense",

I am not a five or six year old who would be developmentally expected to have a literal understanding of a narrative text. Mature readers have sophisticated comprehension skills that are not dependent on a literal reading of a narrative text. With millions of other Christians – and non-Christians – I celebrate and embrace a resurrection faith – without relying on a literal understanding of a decaying corpse rising up after a few days."

Note: She can talk about "resurrection faith" whatever she may mean by that, but to be a genuine Christian absolutely must include belief in the literal, bodily Resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead!

Easter whiteboard 4/21/19
Each morning Ester writes a greeting and Scripture verse on a whiteboard in our dining room. The "See you soon" was from Brooksyne before she left at 6 am to join the choir and orchestra in their sound check at church. Adding a third service for Easter made it an early start for those participating.

Sunset over Donegal Creek 4/21/19
Sunset over Donegal Creek
Last night we took a walk along our long-time favorite walking path which begins across the road from our house.

Marietta Kwanzan Japanese Cherry trees  4/19/19
Friday we drove by these  Kwanzan Japanese Cherry trees in Marietta.
For two weeks in April, a mile-long display of 250 cherry trees are flowering on Front Street along the railroad tracks. The trees were planted in the mid-1900's by town resident James Sagris.

Marietta, PA house 4/19/19
Marietta is located on the east bank of the Susquehanna River about 5 miles from where we live. It was first settled in 1727. Much of the borough is in the Marietta Historic District and has many interesting homes and buildings, such as this "half house".

Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

"Christ The Lord Is Risen Today" The Billy Graham message snippet referred to in the message (video) was used as an introduction to this song in our church's Easter service yesterday. This is from 1966 which was near the time he had a crusade in Kansas City Missouri, the first time I ever went to a Billy Graham crusade.

"Is He Worthy?"  Video  Calvary Church Choir, Orchestra and congregation which includes a brief exhortation and prayer by our pastor. This is a rather unusual song that we first heard last fall.

"Living Hope"  Video  Calvary Church Choir, Orchestra and congregation. This song really blessed us yesterday! What a joy to celebrate the glorious resurrection of Jesus Christ in services around the world yesterday. Brooksyne joined with the choir in three services yesterday and will sing again tonight in their Monday evening service.

"When Death Was Arrested"  Video  Aaron Shust

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Scripture references are from The Holy Bible: New International Version. © 1984 by International Bible Society; NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, Copyright © 1995 by The Lockman Foundation, New King James Version (NKJV) Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. and the King James Version.

Personal Mission Statement: "I am created by God to bring Him glory. Through God's Son Jesus Christ I have been redeemed and make it my life's goal to please the Lord. My mission in life is to honor God through my faith and obedience and prepare myself and all whom I may influence for eternity."

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