Saturday, October 31, 2015

He is Risen Indeed! by Linden Malki

Peter was running on pure Spirit-power, that day in Jerusalem. And he had the most important message: "Fellow Israelites, listen carefully to these words: Jesus the Nazarene, a man thoroughly accredited by God to you—the miracles and wonders and signs that God did through him are common knowledge—this Jesus, following the deliberate and well-thought-out plan of God, was betrayed by men who took the law into their own hands, and was handed over to you. And you pinned him to a cross and killed him. But God untied the death ropes and raised him up. Death was no match for him." (Acts 2:22-24 The Message)

After watching and learning, Peter began to "get it." We see Jesus putting him on the spot: "And how about you? Who do you say I am?" Simon Peter said, "You’re the Christ, the Messiah, the Son of the living God." ( Matthew 16:15-16 The Message) But even after seeing what he'd seen, and hearing what he'd heard, it wasn't enough. When the chips were really down, we see this: "Aren’t you one of his disciples?"He denied it, "Not me." One of the Chief Priest’s servants, a relative of the man whose ear Peter had cut off, said, "Didn’t I see you in the garden with him?" Again, Peter denied it. Just then a rooster crowed. "(John 18:20-27 The Message)

This is where it begin to really change for Peter and the others: " Peter and the other disciple left immediately for the tomb. They ran, neck and neck. The other disciple got to the tomb first, outrunning Peter. Stooping to look in, he saw the pieces of linen cloth lying there, but he didn’t go in. Simon Peter arrived after him, entered the tomb, observed the linen cloths lying there, and the kerchief used to cover his head not lying with the linen cloths but separate, neatly folded by itself. Then the other disciple, the one who had gotten there first, went into the tomb, took one look at the evidence, and believed." (John 20:6-10 The Message)

After the Ascension and the Pentecost experience, Peter knew what was really important. This is what he wrote after years of serving Jesus: " What a God we have! And how fortunate we are to have him, this Father of our Master Jesus! Because Jesus was raised from the dead, we’ve been given a brand-new life and have everything to live for, including a future in heaven—and the future starts now! God is keeping careful watch over us and the future. The Day is coming when you’ll have it all—life healed and whole." (1 Peter 1:3-5 The Message)

Jesus has a well-deserved reputation as a great teacher; but this is not be enough to explain 2000 years of changed lives. It's worth listening to what He said because of what He did and who He is--the risen and living Lord. There is a story from the early days of the USSR, when a Communist activist had given an impassioned speech against religious belief. A priest in the audience (probably required to be there) asked to speak a few words. They were "Christ is Risen!" To which most of the audience replied, as their automatic response, "He is Risen Indeed!" Fast forward--

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