Sunday, April 5, 2015

He is risen! (Easter Story 7) (Col 1:18-20, Mark 16:9, John 20:1- 21:31, Mark 16: 9, Luke 24:50-53)

"It is finished!  We are free : )"

© Karen Kyle Ericson, all rights reserved.
"18 And He is the head of the body, the church, who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in all things He may have the preeminence.
19 For it pleased the Father that in Him all the fullness should dwell, 20 and by Him to reconcile all things to Himself, by Him, whether things on earth or things in heaven, having made peace through the blood of His cross."
Col 1:18-20

Peter, John's partner in the fishing trade, was outspoken!  John would often talk to Peter, and let him do the talking to others. In the gospels you'll often find John and Peter with Jesus.  John describes himself as the "disciple that Jesus loved" in many places.  Jesus made people feel loved.  He never forces people to be someone aren't.  He let John and Peter be themselves.  This is one of the mysteries about Jesus, everyone who knew Him felt loved- no one felt left out.  Those who know Christ today, know His love for them.
1 Now the first day of the week Mary Magdalene went to the tomb early, while it was still dark, and saw that the stone had been taken away from the tomb. 2 Then she ran and came to Simon Peter, and to the other disciple, whom Jesus loved, and said to them, "They have taken away the Lord out of the tomb, and we do not know where they have laid Him."
John 20:1-21:19

John outran Peter and got to the tomb first.  But he didn't go in.  It was Peter who jumped in first.  All they found was the burial cloths.   The handkerchief that was around His head was folded neatly.  It's like Jesus appreciated the love people had shown him after death.  I wonder if He smiled when He resurrected.  Although the religious leaders were sure the disciples would steal His body, the disciples never understood what Jesus meant by the resurrection.
3 Peter therefore went out, and the other disciple, and were going to the tomb. 4 So they both ran together, and the other disciple outran Peter and came to the tomb first. 5 And he, stooping down and looking in, saw the linen cloths lying there; yet he did not go in. 6 Then Simon Peter came, following him, and went into the tomb; and he saw the linen cloths lying there,  7 and the handkerchief that had been around His head, not lying with the linen cloths, but folded together in a place by itself. 8 Then the other disciple, who came to the tomb first, went in also; and he saw and believed. 9 For as yet they did not know the Scripture, that He must rise again from the dead. 10 Then the disciples went away again to their own homes.

Mary stayed at the tomb, weeping.  Mark 16:9  "...He appeared first to Mary Magdalene, out of whom He had cast seven demons."  Jesus had changed Mary's life dramatically.  He freed her from demons.  Now she could think clearly and live a normal life.  He set her free but what would she do without Him?  Would it go back the way it was?
11 But Mary stood outside by the tomb weeping, and as she wept she stooped down and looked into the tomb. 12 And she saw two angels in white sitting,one at the head and the other at the feet, where the body of Jesus had lain. 13 Then they said to her, "Woman, why are you weeping?"
She said to them, "Because they have taken away my Lord, and I do not know where they have laid Him."
14 Now when she had said this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing there, and did not know that it was Jesus. 15 Jesus said to her, "Woman, why are you weeping? Whom are you seeking?"
She, supposing Him to be the gardener, said to Him, "Sir, if You have carried Him away, tell me where You have laid Him, and I will take Him away."
16 Jesus said to her, "Mary!"
She turned and said to Him, "Rabboni!" (which is to say, Teacher).
She knew the Master's voice when He called her name : ) He would be with her always.  Jesus is with us today.
17 Jesus said to her, "Do not cling to Me, for I have not yet ascended to My Father; but go to My brethren and say to them, 'I am ascending to My Father and your Father, and to My God and your God.'"
18 Mary Magdalene came and told the disciples that she had seen the Lord, and that He had spoken these things to her.

Another priceless moment.  The disciples were hiding out in fear of the religious leaders.  The doors are locked; the room is dark.  When suddenly someone appeared in the room with them!  I can only imagine the shock on their faces.  He showed them His hands and side.  It was Jesus!  Jesus breathed on them and they received the Holy Spirit to:  be their Helper, bring to mind all they had heard, and teach them (John 14:26).  
19 Then, the same day at evening, being the first day of the week, when the doors were shut where the disciples were assembled, for fear of the JewsJesus came and stood in the midst, and said to them, "Peace be with you."  20 When He had said thisHe showed them His hands and His side. Then the disciples were glad when they saw the Lord
21 So Jesus said to them again, "Peace to you! As the Father has sent Me, I also send you."  22 And when He had said this, He breathed on them, and said to them, "Receive the Holy Spirit.  23 If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained."

Then there was doubting Thomas.  Thomas wasn't with them when Jesus appeared.  When the other disciples told him, he required his own proof.  So, 8 days later, Jesus appeared again.  This time Thomas was there, He let Thomas touch his side and hands.  Thomas believed.  Jesus made a special promise to those of us who haven't seen Him.  He understands.  
"Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.
John 21:29

24 Now Thomas, called the Twin, one of the twelve, was not with them when Jesus came. 25 The other disciples therefore said to him, "We have seen the Lord."
So he said to them, "Unless I see in His hands the print of the nails, and put my finger into the print of the nails, and put my hand into His side, I will not believe."
26 And after eight days His disciples were again inside, and Thomas with them. Jesus came, the doors being shut, and stood in the midst, and said, "Peace to you!"  27 Then He said to Thomas, "Reach your finger here, and look at My hands; and reach your hand here, and put it into My side. Do not be unbelieving, but believing."
28 And Thomas answered and said to Him, "My Lord and my God!"
29 Jesus said to him,  "Thomas, because you have seen Me, you have believed. Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed."

30 And truly Jesus did many other signs in the presence of His disciples, which are not written in this book; 31 but these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing you may have life in His name.
John 20:21-31

Jesus promised He would meet up with the disciples in Galilee.  This is one of my favorite stories.  All of the remaining disciples are present.  Peter announces he's going fishing.  Those annoying disciples insisted on going with him.  No privacy!  Peter had seen Jesus, but he still had to come to grips with his denial of Christ.  I understand how it feels to do the wrong thing as a Christian.  I wondered if God could ever use me again.  It filled me with a sorrow I couldn't shake for a long time- I felt worthless.  I learned God's forgiveness in a huge way and was able to jump back into ministry, wiser with more compassion.
After these things Jesus showed Himself again to the disciples at the Sea of Tiberias, and in this way He showed Himself:  2 Simon Peter, Thomas called the Twin, Nathanael of Cana in Galilee, the sons of Zebedee, and two others of His disciples were together. 3 Simon Peter said to them, "I am going fishing."
They said to him, "We are going with you also." They went out and immediatelygot into the boat, and that night they caught nothing. 4 But when the morning had now come, Jesus stood on the shore; yet the disciples did not know that it was Jesus. 5 Then Jesus said to them, "Children, have you any food?"
They answered Him, "No."
6 And He said to them, "Cast the net on the right side of the boat, and you will find some." So they cast, and now they were not able to draw it in because of the multitude of fish.
John 21:1-19 

John recognized Jesus first.  Peter was so excited, he jumped into the sea and swam to Him!  Jesus had fixed them breakfast.  He had the fire going, bread and fish.  God fixed them breakfast!  He cares about the details of our lives.
7 Therefore that disciple whom Jesus loved said to Peter, "It is the Lord!" Now when Simon Peter heard that it was the Lord, he put on his outer garment (for he had removed it), and plunged into the sea. 8 But the other disciples came in the little boat (for they were not far from land, but about two hundred cubits), dragging the net with fish. 9 Then, as soon as they had come to land, they saw a fire of coals there, and fish laid on it, and bread. 10Jesus said to them, "Bring some of the fish which you have just caught." 
11 Simon Peter went up and dragged the net to land, full of large fish, one hundred and fifty-three; and although there were so many, the net was not broken. 12 Jesus said to them, "Come and eat breakfast." Yet none of the disciples dared ask Him, "Who are You?" — knowing that it was the Lord. 13Jesus then came and took the bread and gave it to them, and likewise the fish.

Peter had denied Christ 3 times.  It would always be branded in his conscience.  Jesus asked him if he loved Him 3 times.  And he replied, "Yes" 3 times back.  It was as though Jesus gave him a chance to receive forgiveness.  He is the God of second chances. 
15 So when they had eaten breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter, "Simon, son of Jonah, do you love Me more than these?"
He said to Him, "Yes, Lord; You know that I love You."
He said to him, "Feed My lambs."
16 He said to him again a second time, "Simon, son of Jonah, do you love Me?"
He said to Him, "Yes, Lord; You know that I love You."
He said to him, "Tend My sheep."
17 He said to him the third time, "Simon, son of Jonah, do you love Me?" Peter was grieved because He said to him the third time, "Do you love Me?"
And he said to Him, "Lord, You know all things; You know that I love You."
Jesus said to him, "Feed My sheep."  18 Most assuredly, I say to you, when you were younger, you girded yourself and walked where you wished; but when you are old, you will stretch out your hands, and another will gird you and carry you where you do not wish."  19 This He spoke, signifying by what death he would glorify God. And when He had spoken this, He said to him, "Follow Me." 
Peter was eventually martyred.  He was to be crucified but asked to be hung upside down.  He felt he didn't deserve to be hung as Jesus was.

It was time for Jesus to return to Heaven.  But, the disciples aren't sad.  They returned to the temple in Jerusalem with great joy!  They were continually praising and blessing God.  The cross couldn't destroy God, a tomb couldn't contain Him.  He is risen!   Hallelujah!  And today, we know Him in our hearts.  One day we will see Him face to face.
50 And He led them out as far as Bethany, and He lifted up His hands and blessed them. 51 Now it came to pass, while He blessed them, that He was parted from them and carried up into heaven. 52 And they worshiped Him, and returned to Jerusalem with great joy, 53 and were continually in the temple praising and blessing God. 
Luke 24:50-53 NKJV

It's important to note that the same Peter who fell into the water instead of walking on top of it, asked Jesus to wash all of him instead of just his feet, and just couldn't get that demon out of the man, found enough faith to perform miracles. He healed many in Jesus' name, recorded in the book of Acts.  He became a great leader in the Church. And John had a vision on the island of Patmos.  He was chosen to record the Book of Revelation.  If he truly was shy, this would've been the perfect assignment for him- although he did fall on his face a few times during the vision.  God has a plan for us all.  Jesus changes lives.

Happy Easter to you!  May you know the presence of Jesus and experience His love this Easter.

We got to see the movie, "God's Not Dead," it was a great movie if you get to see it. 
Here's a song by the Newsboys, God's NOT Dead (link)

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