A daily, Bible-based perspective of hope, encouragement and exhortation.
Message summary: Today, we join hundreds of millions of fellow believers around the world in declaring, “He is risen indeed!”
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"The Lord is risen indeed" (Luke 24:34).
Henry Gariepy writes,
“Our gospel ends
not with a Corpse, but with a Conqueror,
not with a Tomb, but with a Triumph,
not with a Victim of death, but with a Victor over it!”
Were you able to gather with other believers yesterday? We sure hope so! The early service we attended fortified our spirits with the eternity-changing truth that "The Lord is risen indeed". What a joy to sing the great songs of our faith and hear a biblical message proclaiming the risen Lord.
The word "indeed" is significant in the daily text as well as in the affirmation made yesterday by hundreds of millions of Christ-followers all over the world. Our worship leader reminded us of the billions who have made this confession throughout the history of the Church beginning on that first Resurrection Day.
But there was doubt and disbelief mixed in. We consider the well known moniker assigned to Thomas, "doubting Thomas" which expressed his first reaction to the news. But he quickly became believing Thomas when confronted with the evidence! Even at the time of the Ascension we read, "And when they saw Him they worshiped Him, but some doubted" (Matthew 28:17).
To illustrate this I want to share a story that took place over fifteen years ago; my Mom’s final Easter here on earth. We traveled up to the Lehigh Valley in Eastern Pennsylvania for our family Easter meal with my brother Pat and his family. My 84 year old mother, Georgia Mae, was living with us at the time, and recently had knee replacement surgery, followed by a lengthy period of rehabilitation, so this was an extra special trip for her.
After we arrived and had our customary greetings, my brother gathered us altogether and said, "I have Genelle (our sister) on the phone. Let’s sing Happy Anniversary to her and Cesar". (She and her husband, Cesar, who lived in Miami Florida at the time, were celebrating their 25th wedding anniversary.)
We all began to sing heartily as we mentally pictured the two of them at the other side of the telephone connection in Miami. But as we got to the line where we personalize the song, "Happy Anniversary Genelle and Cesar", they walked right into the room! We were totally surprised. With hands over her mouth Brooksyne screeched. Mom was somewhat in shock, but after it fully sunk in, she with very damp eyes, took my sister in her arms and hugged her over and over.
As I saw them come in I recall the way my mind worked as it assimilated the information. I was spatially disoriented. I conceptually had them in Miami and for a couple of seconds my brain circuits were all messed up. My surprised expression was not verbal, but surely my eyes bugged out as my mind adjusted to a reality so different than my assumption.
Magnify that experience a hundred fold and I believe some of this same dynamic is at work with the early resurrected appearances of our Savior. The disciples seemed so confused; they were startled and frightened. They doubted since it was too incredulous to believe and they thought they saw a ghost.
After the experience with the "in person phone call" I feel more personally how the disciples might have responded at their first glance of the resurrected Christ. Their last sight of Jesus was that of a brutally beaten, lifeless form being taken from the cross to be buried in a tomb sealed off by a huge stone and guarded by soldiers. Now, in their very presence, they see a fully restored body. Defeat turned into victory – it was too good to be true! But, praise be to God, it was and is true!!
Though there was a period of disbelief, reality eventually sunk in. This actually ended after Jesus appeared in the midst of the disciples with Thomas who voiced what others were probably wondering. But they all came to believe and live out their lives proclaiming the risen Lord.
The phrase "He is risen indeed" is a tremendous statement of faith. It is actually the eye-witness testimony of the two disciples whom the Lord met on the road to Emmaus. (This wonderful story is found in Luke 24:13-35.)
We tend to use the traditional rendering, “The Lord is risen indeed". The word for “indeed” is translated “true” or “really” in many other versions. The actual underlying Greek word is “ontos” (those who studied philosophy may recall the word “ontology”, which is the study of existence and reality).
"He is risen indeed" is 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. The literal, bodily resurrection of Jesus Christ is a genuine, historical event validated by many eyewitnesses. It is the core doctrine of the faith once for all entrusted to the church of Jesus Christ for all time.
Today, we join hundreds of millions of fellow believers around the world in declaring, “He is risen indeed!”
I serve a risen Savior,
He’s in the world today,
I know that He is living,
Whatever men may say!
Be encouraged today,
Stephen & Brooksyne Weber
Daily prayer: Father, how our hearts rejoice as we celebrate and honor the historic fact that death has lost its sting since the devil’s power over it has been destroyed. We no longer have to fear death since Jesus is the Victor over death. Death has been swallowed up in victory so that there is no dread or fear for the believer. The cringe of death is but a moment but the joy of eternity is unending. Thank You for providing us entry through the gates of heaven through our Lord’s sacrificial death and glorious resurrection. It is in His name that we pray. Amen.
This week our messages will be on the resurrection of Jesus Christ as taught in each of the major sections of the New Testament.
Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources
"Death Was Arrested" Video Maranatha! Music
Joe Cullen is a young man who grew up in the church we served in New England which we have mentioned frequently over the years. He is a staff pastor at Philadelphia Christian Center. Ester sent me this powerful recitation interspersed with music he shared yesterday with the congregation (cued to where Joe begins). The senior pastor, Phil Menditto is a college friend of ours and started and has served this city church for over 40 years! Video
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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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