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Sunday, 5 April 2015

It's Sunday - Friday is over!

Apologies to Tony Campolo who, as far as I am aware, coined the phrase "It's Friday, but Sunday's coming."  He was referring, of course to the fact that what we have named "Good Friday" was not the end of a story.  Sunday; the day after the Jewish Shabbat; the first day of the week; the day on which the Creator said "Let there be light"; the day that millions are celebrating; the day when the tomb in which the body of the crucified Jesus of Nazareth had been laid; brought the amazing news - that the tomb was empty!

The traditional greeting used by disciples of Jesus - and still used, albeit to a lesser extent, today - was "The Lord is risen!", with the response "He is risen indeed!".  What an amazing message!  What an amazing truth!  Some have tried to deny it - but that is only to be expected.  However, any honest, unbiased, investigation of the available evidence will surely lead to the conviction that it is true.  None of the proposed 'explanations' stand up to any scrutiny at all.  I deal with the topic, more fully, in my second book in the "Getting to know you ..." series - The Apostles' Creed - which is due to be published shortly! (watch this blog for further news!).

But why is the resurrection of Jesus of such apparently great importance?  Paul tells us in I Cor 15:17-19 that: "If Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile and you are still in your sins. Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ have perished. If for this life only we have hoped in Christ, we are of all men most to be pitied."   Basically, the resurrection of Jesus is the claim on which the whole Gospel message stands, or falls.  It was the resurrection that marked Jesus out as the true Messiah - the Anointed One of God.  Oh, others had been restored from death - not only by Jesus Himself, but also by Elijah; Elisha; Peter; and Paul.  However, each of these had eventually died again.  Only Jesus "... is able for all time to save those who draw near to God through Him, since He always lives to make intercession for them." (Heb 7:25; emphasis added).  It is His glorious resurrection that assure me that, at the Last Day I also shall receive a new resurrection body as He "... will change [my] lowly body to be like His glorious body, by the power which enables Him even to subject all things to Himself." (Phil 3:21).

Because of the pagan association of the word "Easter", many (including me) now refer to this day as "Resurrection Day".  However, there is a very real sense that every day is Resurrection Day.  This is because we may celebrate the resurrection of Jesus at any time, and in any place.  Today is a day of great hope - and, in Jesus, every day can be a day of great hope. 

Is your hope in Him?  It's that same hope that enabled 21 young Egyptian believers to die on a Libyan beach, at the hands of evil men, with the very Name of Jesus on their lips.  When students at the Garissa university in Kenya were being murdered, some are reported as having cried out "Lord Jesus, help me."  The scoffers - including their murderers - have asked "Where was He?"  I will tell them - He was there with them.  He was administering martyr's grace, for a martyr's death.  He was reassuring them that this mortal life is not everything and, if they were true disciples, they are now with Him in a way that they could never have been while in their mortal, decaying, bodies.

It's Sunday - Friday has gone.  The Lord is risen; He is risen indeed!  Hallelujah!

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