He Is Risen!

Matthew 28:1-7

After the Sabbath, at dawn on the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went to see the tomb.

Suddenly there was a great earthquake, for an angel of the Lord descended from heaven, rolled away the stone, and sat on it. His appearance was like lightning, and his clothes were white as snow. The guards trembled in fear of him and became like dead men.

But the angel said to the women, “Do not be afraid, for I know that you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified. He is not here; He has risen, just as He said! Come, see the place where He lay. Then go quickly and tell His disciples, ‘He has risen from the dead and is going ahead of you into Galilee. There you will see Him.’ See, I have told you.”

The verses above describe one of the most celebrated events in Christian history. The importance of this event cannot be understated. It is the cornerstone of every believer’s concept of life after death.

Jesus’ rising from the dead gives us hope of a life eternal in heaven with Him. Therefore, do not fear death but embrace it as the first step toward your heavenly home for all eternity.

Take Up Your Cross

Mark 8: 34-38 Calling the crowd along with his disciples, he said to them, “If anyone wants to follow after me, let him deny himself, take up his cross, and follow me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life because of me and the gospel will save it. For what does it benefit someone to gain the whole world and yet lose his life? What can anyone give in exchange for his life? For whoever is ashamed of me and my words in this adulterous and sinful generation, the Son of Man will also be ashamed of him when he comes in the glory of his Father with the holy angels.”

After Jesus’ encounter with his disciples concerning who they thought he was, he offers the following discourse on how to save your life as well as how to live it.

Some of his comments might be confusing and against today’s standard of how to be successful. Jesus says that if we want to follow him we have to deny ourselves. In today’s society that’s almost an impossible task because we tend to think of ourselves first.

When we are happy with our successes we become prideful and think we are the ones responsible. If we don’t want to confess that Jesus is the reason then it would indicate we are ashamed to be associated with his name. Based on that Jesus said, “if you are ashamed of me in this sinful world then upon the day I come into glory with the Father, I will be ashamed of you.”

That statement has significant and lasting results on where one spends eternity. If we don’t accept him as our Lord and Savior and proclaim His gospel of the good news, He will not stand in our place before the Father on judgment day.

This Easter take the time to reflect on what Jesus did on the cross and the end result. He beat death, rose from the grave and sits at the right hand of the Father. Our acceptance of His death for the remissions of our sins will position us to spend eternity in heaven with Him.

So, don’t be ashamed of the name of Jesus but instead Take Up Your Cross and proclaim the Good News. He is alive.

Events of Jesus’ Life Before His Crucifixion

As Jesus and His disciples traveled throughout the area known as Caesarea Philippi, he performed many miracles. These miracles were a physical display of His power as God in the flesh. Since Jesus had been performing these miracles, such as healing a blind man, He wanted to know who the many people in the crowds thought He was.

Jesus asked His disciples traveling with Him. “Whom do men say that I am?” His disciples responded by saying, “People think you are Elijah, or John the Baptist come back in the flesh and some even think you’re a prophet.”

Jesus took His question one step further and asked His disciples directly, “Who do you say that I am?” Peter answered Him saying, “You are the Christ.” Why was Jesus interested in finding out what His disciples thought about Him. Jesus was preparing His disciples for the ultimately reality of His coming suffering and crucifixion.

Peter, the ever present vocalist for the group said to Jesus when he heard all this, “Lord may this never be.” Jesus rebuked him and said, “Get behind me Satan.” Peter at this point really didn’t understand that Jesus had to die on the cross for our sins.

So, being a Christian is to sincerely believe that Jesus is the Christ and that He died for our sins so that we might have life eternal in heaven. Our belief is based on our faith in the fact that Jesus rose from the dead and has conquered death for all those who believe.

Next Sunday is Easter. A holy and highly celebrated holiday among Christ’s followers. As we approach this important day we will continue to look at some of the events prior to Christ’s crucifixion. Understanding these events will give us a firmer foundation in the belief that Jesus is the risen Savior and Christ.