Why we celebrate this week – Day 7

 Well, we have made it to the end of the series from Vicki on why we celebrate this Holy week. I really do hope that those of you who have read through the series have enjoyed it and most importantly learned something from it. 

Was something moved in your heart?

Did you understand something in a different way?

 The last few entries have been dark, heavy, burdensome and even hopeless… BUT all of those things are removed because of the events of Day Seven! Following the Jewish Sabbath—the last day of their week—a new day and a new week dawned. Mary Magdalene, a devoted disciple of Jesus, carried a basket filled with the spices needed to anoint and prepare her beloved Jesus’ body for proper burial. As she approached the tomb where she had watched Jesus laid, she likely wondered how she would ever remove the rock covering its entrance. No need to wonder… for THE STONE WAS ROLLED AWAY and THE TOMB WAS EMPTY!Mary thought the Jews had taken Jesus’ body away. Angels told her not to ”…seek the LIVING among the dead… for He has RISEN!” Mary ran to tell the others. John ran to the tomb to see with his own eyes that his best friend was indeed alive. Peter ran to the tomb in hope that this might afford him a chance to be reconciled to the One he had denied. Everyone ran… but where was Jesus? Where was His body? After that initial period of excitement, Jesus’ followers locked themselves in a room together—still afraid of the men who hated Jesus enough to kill Him. As they gathered and talked about the events of the week, the horror of the crucifixion, the empty tomb and all Jesus had said to them while He was still alive… He appeared in the room among them! He comforted them and encouraged them. Imagine the initial fear, the multitude of questions, the need to touch Him and see that He was real, that He was RESURRECTED though He had been dead—imagine also the regrets, the shame, the relief…Over a period of forty days Jesus appeared alive to over 500 eyewitnesses! He explained that everything from the Creation in Genesis to the final prophecy in Malachi painted a picture of Him. He was the ‘…seed of the woman come to defeat Satan… the fulfillment of the Law of Moses… the furnishings of the tabernacle… the Redeemer… the Intercessor… the Leader… the Hope of Israel… the son of Abraham… the King from David… the suffering servant… and most of all, the Messiah!’ He assured them, commissioned them to go and make disciples from all nations and told them to Love God with everything in them and to Love their neighbors as they loved themselves.

They Jewish leaders and local Roman authority thought they had successfully silenced this early church movement they called The Way (named that because of Jesus saying He alone was the Way, the Truth and the Life). What they had no way of knowing is that God’s plan was not foiled but had been instead perfectly set in place. Persecution would scatter the church and the Gospel message of Jesus taking sin with Him upon that cross spread like wildfire throughout Israel and the surrounding nations. Victory to the Father; and Defeat to the Enemy!

But, what about Peter? What about that reconciliation he so desperately needed? In His absolute mercy and grace… Jesus brought that about too. In John’s 21st chapter we find the apostles doing what they knew before Jesus called them to follow Him. As they fished on the Sea of Galilee, they watched a man cooking fish on the seashore. The haul from the night was disappointing and they were preparing to row ashore. The man shouted for them to ‘cast the net on the other side of the boat’ for a better catch. Peter, discouraged and frustrated, did just that… and the net filled with fish! John—remembering this same thing happening before—told Peter that the man on the seashore ‘was the Lord!’

Instead of waiting for the boat to be rowed to shore, Peter dove over the side and swam to Jesus. No condemnation. No criticism. No humiliation. Restoration! Jesus challenged him three times (the same as the number of denials) to ‘tend His sheep and shepherd His flock’. Peter, the denier was restored not only personally to Jesus but restored to a position of authority in the early Christian church. That final act of kindness elevated Peter to be a passionate and outspoken evangelist and to actually give the first public sermon after Jesus had ascended into heaven—returning to His Father.

That is why we Celebrate this Week!
Because of the Empty Tomb…

• Sinners are Restored to their Creator
• Death is Crushed and Eternal Life is Ours
• Fear is Gone and We have Jesus’ Blood to Cover Us
• We are Free—Free to Serve as Jesus’ Hands and Feet
• The Story from Genesis to the Cross is Completed

SCRIPTURE: “Do not let your heart be troubled; believe in God, believe also in Me. In My Father’s house are many dwelling places; if it were not so, I would have told you; for I go to prepare a place for you. If I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself, that where I am, there you may be also.” John 14:1-3

Note: I realize that most of you who read these entries are fellow believers who already know part of or most of this story. If, however, anyone has read these and for the first time you realize that Easter isn’t about eggs, jelly beans, chocolate bunnies or baskets… please message or email me. I want to talk to you more about the implications of the Resurrection and what Jesus did for you! God’s richest blessings on each of you as His Word has come alive in your heart.

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