Resurrection Hope, Peace, and Joy

“Then, following him, Simon Peter came also.
He entered the tomb and saw the linen cloths lying there.
The wrapping that had been on His head
was not lying with the linen cloths
but was folded up in a separate place by itself.”
John 20:6-7

“They have taken the Lord out of the tomb, and we don’t know where they have put Him.” Peter and John hear the weeping words of Mary Magdalene, and they rush to the tomb. Arriving first, John bends over and peers in. When Peter appears, he immediately enters the tomb, followed by John. Strips of linen, possibly still caked with scabs and spices, lie there. But where is the body of Jesus? And what’s this? The cloth that had been wrapped around Jesus’ head is laid by itself. Not merely tossed aside, but neatly folded up.

John and Peter must have known the custom of some carpenters in first century Palestine. A carpenter carried a sweat cloth to wipe his face as he worked. To show a job was completed, an illiterate carpenter folded up the cloth and left it on or near his work, indicating to the one who hired him, “My work is finished.”

After Jesus said “It is finished” and gave up His spirit, Joseph of Arimathea and Nicodemus lovingly took down Jesus’ disfigured body from the cross, a body that was “marred beyond human likeness.” (Isaiah 52:14) They gave Jesus a decent burial, washing his body and wrapping it in strips of linen with 75 pounds of spices, an amount used in royal burials. As was the Jewish custom, they wrapped his face with a cloth and laid Him in a new tomb.

Yet now here is an empty tomb except for grave-clothes and a neatly folded cloth. A robber would never have left order behind. If someone had stolen Jesus’ body, the grave-clothes would most likely be gone with it.

“The cloth was folded up by itself, separate from the linen.” Why? Commentator Matthew Henry believed Jesus is sending us a message: “No one stole Me away. On the contrary, I rose up alone. I walked out alone. I alone did this, for I alone could do it. I am Almighty God.”

As John and Peter gazed at the folded cloth, did Jesus’ words about the work He must do flood back into their souls? Did they remember how Jesus promised that after three days He would rise again?

According to John 20:19, we know they were afraid. The disciples had locked the doors because of their fear of the Jewish leaders. But then Jesus Himself in the flesh suddenly stood among them and breathed “Peace be with you!” Peace that bursts their hearts with joy!

Jesus has finished what He came to do – to die in our place to redeem us from sin and death, and He has risen again just as He promised. We don’t need to look for him among the dead. He is risen!

Are we still mourning the death of Jesus, or are we opening the eyes of our hearts to what Jesus has finished for us and to the hope and joy of His glorious resurrection?

“My Redeemer Lives”
by Nicole C. Mullen

P.S. This is an edited version of a post from 5 years ago, before many of you were reading this blog. I hope it will strengthen your heart to know our Redeemer lives. Because He lives, we can face tomorrow and whatever troubles come our way!

We are traveling to a family event this week to attend a special ceremony and to celebrate our son’s retirement from the Air Force after 20 years in the military. I hope to post again on April 3. 🙂

“Now may the Lord of peace Himself
give you peace at all times and in every way.
The Lord be with all of you.”
2 Thessalonians 3:16

Soul Longings to Know Jesus More

“My goal is to know Him
and the power of His resurrection
and the fellowship of His sufferings,
being conformed to His death.”
Philippians 3:10 HCSB

Lord Jesus Christ,
I Want to Know You

I want to really, truly know You. Deeply, personally, intimately. In the depths of my soul. To believe in You, not just about You. I want Your desires and Your passions to become mine. I want to “know” You so well that I will live and breathe You with every step I take in this life.

I Want to Know the Power of Your Resurrection

I want to not only believe You rose from the dead, but that it was personally for me. That You left my sins buried there in the grave, and now I am truly free. I don’t want to live weighed down with a heavy burden of my own sins and the sins against me. I want to be freed from the chains of shame. I want to inwardly experience that same power that rose You from the dead, to be saturated in and fired up with Your resurrection power in me that I will live for You with all my heart, soul, strength, and mind. That I will live in and through You and Your power with every fiber of my being. That I will fly freely for You.

I Want to Know the Fellowship of Your Sufferings

I want to grasp more deeply how much You suffered for me. How You suffered such excruciating pain out of Your deep love for me. But Lord, sometimes it’s so hard to ask to know more of the fellowship of Your sufferings, because I know that means I, too, must learn what it is to suffer. But You have said that if I want to share in Your glory, I must also share in Your suffering. And Lord, I know You have taught me more about You and the bottomless depths of Your love through sufferings. It is through sufferings that I learn to be more like You. It is through sufferings that I experience more of the power of Your resurrection. But oh, Lord, no matter what kind of sufferings I go through in this life, it will never, ever be even a speck of what You have suffered for me. What body, mind, and soul anguish You endured! Thank You, Jesus, for Your unconditional, fathomless, faithful love!

I Want to Become More Like You in Your Death

I want to continually be conformed to Your likeness. In the inward depths of my soul. I want to die to myself and live for You. I want my selfish desires to fall away. I want You to increase and me to decrease. I want to be so planted into the likeness of Your death that I will willingly take up my cross and follow You, no matter what the cost. I want to be ready to suffer for Your sake. Please, Lord, make me strong in You and for You.

“Jesus Is Alive”
by Fellowship Creative

“Captured By Your Love
That You Would Give Your Life
Oh I Stand Amazed that
Jesus Is Alive”

 

The Tomb Is Empty!

empty-to-life

Our lives can feel so empty when loved ones leave us, whether through death, family or friends leaving home or moving, or troubles that take their minds or hearts away from us. Empty chairs. Empty places. Empty hearts.

But not every empty is sad.

I remember a story of a 9-year-old boy with Down’s Syndrome whose Sunday school teacher made certain Philip was treated like everyone else. But some children left him out, because he was different.

A week before Easter, the teacher said, “I have a plastic egg for each of you. Find something that reminds you of life. Put it inside your egg, and bring it back next week.”

The next week the teacher gathered together all the eggs. One by one, he opened the eggs and found a flower, a blade of grass, a butterfly, and even a stone. Then he opened one that was empty.

“Someone did it wrong,” said some children.

As the teacher stared at the empty egg, a hand tugged his shirt.

“I didn’t do it wrong,” said Philip. “The tomb is empty!”

The teacher used this empty egg as an illustration of the glorious Easter message.

With mourning hearts, some women visited Jesus’ grave. Their hearts felt so empty of Jesus. When they arrived, they saw the stone that closed off the grave was rolled away. An angel sat on it. His appearance was like lightning, and his clothing was as white as snow.

Shaking with fear, probably with rounded eyes and gaping mouths, they were speechless.

Then the angel spoke to the women. “Don’t be afraid!” he said.
“I know you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified.
He isn’t here! He is risen from the dead, just as He said would happen.
Come, see where His body was lying.”
Matthew 28:5-6 NLT

Looking in the grave, they found it empty of Jesus. He is not here! He is risen!

Though still frightened, their empty hearts filled with new life and joy as they ran to tell the disciples as the angel had instructed them.

On the way, Jesus met them. They ran to Him, grasped His feet, and worshiped Him. And Jesus again told them, “Don’t be afraid. Go tell My brothers. They will soon see Me.”

Jesus is alive! Because the tomb is empty, our hearts may be filled with life everlasting! Our hearts no longer have to feel so empty. There is hope. Death has been conquered and defeated. Abundant life is possible and freely given.

freedom

“Dance Your Shoes Off” or “Rise Up”
by Second Baptist Church in Houston

I know I shared this before, but I’d like to share it with you again. It still gives me goosebumps and lifts my spirit to rise up in praise along with them. I hope it will fill your empty hearts with hope and joy. More than 2,000 people gathered to celebrate the resurrection of Jesus. The purpose of “Dance Your Shoes Off” was to proclaim the resurrection of Jesus Christ in a powerful and celebratory way. Each participant left a new pair of shoes on the field for those in need.

“We claim the victory
He won on Calvary
Celebrate the King of Glory
So rise up
People of the Lord, rise up.”

cutecolorsplantline1

Linking up with: 

Holley – Coffee For Your Heart 

Jennifer – Tell His Story 

Kelly – Cheerleaders of Faith

Barbie – Weekend Whispers

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