Easter ~ The Rest of the Story and then Some!

24 Apr

You’re likely to see a lot more people in church on Easter Sunday… well, maybe.

A husband and his wife arose one Easter morning and the wife dressed for church. It was just about time for the service when she noticed her husband hadn’t moved a finger toward getting dressed. Perplexed, she asked, “Why aren’t you getting dressed for church?”

He said, “Cause I don’t want to go.”

She asked, “Do you have any reason?”

He said, “Yes, I have three good reasons. First, the congregation is cold. Second, no one likes me. And third, I just don’t want to go.”

The wife replied, wisely, “Well, honey, I have three reasons why you should go. First, the congregation is warm. Second, there are a few people there who like you. And third, you’re the pastor! Get dressed!” *

Radio personality Paul Harvey often surprised his listeners with a surprise “twist” on his stories, saved until the very end. Broadcasts concluded with the warm tag line, And now you know … the rest of the story.” Though the folksy storyteller died in 2009, his tag line will live on in the minds of those who loved him; and his book, Paul Harvey’s the Rest of the Story, includes 82 tales with the punch line that makes us smile.

Garden Tomb - signJesus Tomb and signSign at Jesus' TombI (Dawn) read a post by my friend Lynn Mosher recently that got me thinking about not only the resurrection of Christ, but events following that miraculous day. Lynn wrote, “Who removed those gruesome nails from Jesus’ body?” It was something I’d never thought about. Of course, someone had to take down Jesus body for burial … and it was likely Joseph of Arimethea who extracted “the bloody nails driven for the sins of man.” It made me wonder what other things I might not have considered.

Actually, as I’ve thought about Easter this year after visiting Jesus’ tomb in Jerusalem, I’ve dug deeper than ever before into the facts surrounding His death and resurrection. I’ve been spurred on by my friend, Nancy Leigh DeMoss of Revive Our Hearts. I followed her broadcast series, titled “The Incomparable Christ” ~ an expansion of the chapters in the book by the same name, authored by Oswald Sanders.

As an Easter devotional, I wanted to share some of Nancy’s thoughts from that series.

“There is no way to overstate the importance of Jesus’ resurrection to the 1st century followers of DoorAtTomb_SignChrist,” she said. “Before the resurrection, they were timid, fearful . . . the thought that their lives might be at risk caused them to run for cover . . . and then, the news of the resurrection, along with the empowering of the Holy Spirit, transformed those first disciples into a bold band of believers who were willing to lay down their lives for Christ’s sake. The Church was birthed and spread through the proclamation that Christ died for our sins and was raised from the dead.

“Apart from Christ’s resurrection from the dead, we have no hope of eternal life,” Nancy said. “According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead (1 Peter 1:3).”

Nancy then shared Seven implications of the Resurrection for those who have placed their faith in Christ.

  1. The Resurrection means there is hope in the most desperate circumstance.
  2. The Resurrection means that God always keeps His promises. (Matthew 28:5-6; 16:21-22)
  3. The Resurrection means that death is no longer to be feared. (John 11:25-26)
  4. The bodily Resurrection of Christ assures us of our own bodily resurrection. (1 Corinthians 6:14; Philippians 3:21)
  5. The Resurrection means that God has accepted and approves of the work Christ did on the cross, and therefore He accepts and approves of us! (Ephesians 2:6; Romans 4:25)
  6. The Resurrection means the power and dominion of sin in our lives has been overcome (Romans 6:4-5)
  7. The Resurrection means that the same power that raised Christ from the dead is available to us. (Philippians 3:10; Ephesians 1:19-20)

So, the BLESSINGS DIDN’T END on Resurrection Sunday.

  • They kept coming as Jesus appeared later to His disciples and others in Israel for the 40 days before His ascension to Heaven (Acts 1:1-3).
  • They kept coming as the early church grew in its relationship with the Holy Spirit, sent by God.
  • And they keep coming as we, today, can live in that same Resurrection power ~ and as we enjoy the High Priestly ministry of our Savior (Hebrews 8:1; 10:12). We enjoy the blessing of His advocacy for us (1 Tim. 2:5-6)
  • ; 1 John 2:1), and His intercession (Romans 8:34; Hebrews 7:25).

I often consider whether I am living as if Jesus’ death, burial and resurrection make a difference. Does it change me?  In the words of a hymn by Christian F. Gellert (1715 – 1769):

“… Jesus lives, and by his grace, Vict’ry o’er my passions giving,
I will cleanse my heart and ways, Ever to his glory living…”

My favorite Easter scripture isn’t typical; but it is a reminder not only of what Jesus did for me, and is now doing for me, but of the wonderful truth that He is coming again!

Colossians 3:1-4:  Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God. When Christ, who is your life, appears, then you also will appear with him in glory.

And that, Friends, is “the rest of the story … and beyond!”

* Adapted, http://www.case-studies.com/articles/pastor_appreciation_month.htm


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