Sunday, April 5, 2015

He Is Risen!

Now on the first day of the week Mary Magdalene came to the tomb early, while it was still dark, and saw that the stone had been taken away from the tomb. So she ran and went to Simon Peter and the other disciple, the one whom Jesus loved, and said to them, “They have taken the Lord out of the tomb, and we do not know where they have laid him.” So Peter went out with the other disciple, and they were going toward the tomb. Both of them were running together, but the other disciple outran Peter and reached the tomb first. And stooping to look in, he saw the linen cloths lying there, but he did not go in. Then Simon Peter came, following him, and went into the tomb. He saw the linen cloths lying there, and the face cloth, which had been on Jesus' head, not lying with the linen cloths but folded up in a place by itself. Then the other disciple, who had reached the tomb first, also went in, and he saw and believed; for as yet they did not understand the Scripture, that he must rise from the dead. Then the disciples went back to their homes.
But Mary stood weeping outside the tomb, and as she wept she stooped to look into the tomb. And she saw two angels in white, sitting where the body of Jesus had lain, one at the head and one at the feet. They said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping?” She said to them, “They have taken away my Lord, and I do not know where they have laid him.” Having said this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing, but she did not know that it was Jesus. Jesus said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping? Whom are you seeking?” Supposing him to be the gardener, she said to him, “Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have laid him, and I will take him away.” Jesus said to her, “Mary.” She turned and said to him in Aramaic, “Rabboni!” (which means Teacher). Jesus said to her, “Do not cling to me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father; but go to my brothers and say to them, ‘I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.’” Mary Magdalene went and announced to the disciples, “I have seen the Lord”—and that he had said these things to her. John 20:1-18 (ESV)
Either Jesus bears our sin, or we do. If the Father turned His face away from His beloved Son when He was regarded as a sinner, we can be sure that the Father will turn away from every sinner who stands before the Judgment Bar on his own merits. We are either saved by His rejection, or we must bear our own rejection for all of eternity. (Erwin Lutzer, Cries from the Cross, 103) 
The cross properly understood exalts no one whom it first does not humble; it gives life only to those whom it first "puts to death." The cross exposes the futility of our self-righteousness; it reminds us that we are sinners, incapable of bringing about our own reconciliation with God. Before the cross we can only stand with bowed heads and a broken spirit. Unless we see ourselves as deserving of the verdict that Pilate gave to Jesus, unless we see ourselves a worthy of hell, we will never understand the Cross. Someone has said that it is difficult for us to embrace the cross in a day when person enjoyment is king. Contrary to popular belief, the central message of Christianity is not the Sermon on the Mount or Jesus' parables about love toward one's neighbor. The message that changed the first-century world was that human beings are guilty, helplessly guilty of sins for which they cannot atone. The cross shatters all pride and undercuts the ultimate value of self-effort. The cross stands as proof of God's great love but also reveals our own ugliness. (Erwin Lutzer, Cries from the Cross, 16-17)
Men will never come to Jesus, and stay with Jesus, and live for Jesus — unless they really know why they are to come, and what is their need. Those whom the Spirit draws to Jesus — are those whom the Spirit has convinced of sin. Without thorough conviction of sin, men may seem to come to Jesus and follow Him for a season; but they will soon fall away and return to the world. ~ J.C. Ryle, Holiness
The gospel is not a general belief in heaven and hell or hope for a better life beyond; it is not even confidence in a resurrection at the end of the age. It is the announcement that Jesus Christ himself is our life, for he is our peace with God. He does not merely show us the way; he is the way, the truth, and the life (John 14:6). (Michael Horton, Gospel-Driven Life, 80)
Though planted in a specific time and place in our history, the cross was in God's heart before the world began. His love has always been sacrificial, liberal, and costly. (Michael Horton, Putting the Amazing Back into Grace, 69)
The most satisfying reality we could ever know is Jesus. So to give us this reality, He must give us Himself. The love of Jesus drives Him to pray for us, and then die for us, not that our value may be central, but that His glory may be central, and we may see it and savor it for all eternity. (John Piper, Pierced by the Word, 16)

© Becky Laney of Operation Actually Read Bible

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