In the end of the sabbath, as it began to dawn toward the first day of the week, came Mary Magdalene and the other Mary to see the sepulchre. And, behold, there was a great earthquake: for the angel of the Lord descended from heaven, and came and rolled back the stone from the door, and sat upon it. His countenance was like lightning, and his raiment white as snow: And for fear of him the keepers did shake, and became as dead men. (Matthew 28:1-4)
THE CONFLICT OF THE AGES IS PLAYING OUT in the Easter story. Satan is struggling to snuff out the life of the promised redeemer. God is calmly asserting His power and determination to sacrifice the Lamb of God and raise Him from the dead. One day He will reign on the Throne of David in Jerusalem as the rightful ruler of the world.
AT EASTER TIME, the authorities stationed some of the toughest, battle-hardened Roman soldiers at the tomb. These guards were there to make sure Jesus’ followers do not steal His body out of the tomb and say that He rose from the dead. Their mission was to get rid of Jesus.
WHEN JESUS RAISED LAZARUS FROM THE DEAD, some of them wanted to kill Lazarus. But the chief priests consulted that they might put Lazarus also to death; (John 12:10) Anything Jesus did, they were opposed to it. Jesus was a threat to them. Lazarus was an advertisement on Jesus’ behalf.
BUT, DIDN'T JESUS GO AROUND DOING GOOD THINGS, healing people, and lifting their burdens? Yes, Jesus healed people, raised the dead, and on two different occasions, fed the hungry. Here is what got under the skin of the religious leaders: The world cannot hate you; but me it hateth, because I testify of it, that the works thereof are evil. (John 7:7)
IF JESUS WOULD JUST "GO ALONG TO GET ALONG." But, He was not a back scratcher. His mission was not to be a good mixer and make everyone feel good about themselves. Our land is filled with that kind of religious activity today. It’s a good money-maker. The Bible calls it “itching ear” ministries. For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables. (2Timothy 4:3-4)
WHAT ARE FABLES? FABLES ARE GOOD-SOUNDING, INTERESTING STORIES. They are not true stories; just good-sounding stories. Entertaining stories. Jesus wouldn’t go-along; so, they killed Him. The apostles wouldn’t go-along. So, they killed them, all but old-man John who reached 90 or so.
THE TWO MARY'S CAME EARLY TO THE TOMB on the first day of the week. They were going to do a good job of coating Jesus’ body with spices to reduce the death odor. They didn’t realize that had already been done. About the time they arrived at the tomb, there was another earthquake and an angel rolled back the huge stone in front of the tomb…and sat on it. That was so the women could see inside the tomb, that it was already empty. There was a great light, like lightening. It was so great that it literally frightened these battle-hardened soldiers into unconsciousness. They were all out, cold.
THE ANGEL CALMLY TOLD THE TWO LADIES: “Fear not.” The angel knew why the women were there: they were coming to attend the body of Jesus. “He’s not here! He’s been raised from the dead!” “Go tell His disciples.”
WHAT A MESS THE HIGH PRIEST AND THE TEMPLE LEADERS had made in trying to get rid of Jesus. They were politicians and had a stash of Temple money, so they tried to buy themselves out of their mess. They paid the stunned soldiers good money to lie about what happened. Tell everybody you fell asleep on guard duty and Jesus’ followers came and stole the body. Sure. Going to sleep while on guard duty was a death penalty. They would explain all of this to their Sergeant. Trying to get rid of Jesus.
FOLKS ARE STILL AT IT TODAY; trying to get rid of Jesus. The fact that Jesus died for the sins of the world is a strong statement against the sinful character of human beings. They get it. If Jesus had to die for the sins of the world, we are bad eggs. Maybe we’re bad enough to pay a parking ticket, but not bad enough to incur the death penalty. Most people know they are not perfect, but certainly not bad enough that Jesus had to die for them to pay their sin debt. So, we need to get rid of Jesus.
I’M WONDERING, DEAR FRIEND, where you are in this Jesus thing? Would you really like to get rid of Him and just explain to God that you’re a pretty good person? That you don’t need a blood sacrifice to pay for your sins? A lot of people are trying to get rid of Jesus. But just remember this, Heaven and earth will pass away, but God’s word will not pass away. God does not lie, and we are in deep trouble with Him because we are everyone, sinners. (Romans 3:23) The wages of sin is death but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord. (Romans 6:23).
Today’s question is: What will you do with Jesus? Tomorrow’s question is: What will Jesus do with you? “Whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.” (Romans 10:13) Ω
Read Through the Bible in a Year
APRIL 2, 2018 – MONDAY
A.M. Judges 8-9 P.M. Luke 8:22-56+
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Memory Verse This Month:
Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen. (Matthew 28:19-20)
Song for Today:
The Rocks Will Cry Out (2:42) – (Adult Choir) (C.M.C. Southern Pines, NC)
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