March 28, 2016

Easter....Part 3

A reflection as if I was present at the events from 2000 years ago...
Yesterday, was so amazing that I just never had time to write down my thoughts...

If you recall I spent Saturday locked inside my home, fear overtaking all the hope that I'd come to know through Jesus these last years. (See Easter...Part 2) After watching the events of Thursday & Friday unfold...the sheer horror of it all & I just could not understand. I had moments of recall to things Jesus had taught us, but in all honesty...that fear of being next to suffer like just overwhelmed my thoughts. 

So, I did what anyone who was afraid of the law would do....I locked myself inside the house. Others were with me. We were all scared! Scared of the unknown...scared because we witnessed our leader brutally beaten & killed then sealed inside a tomb surrounded by a legion of those Roman Centurions...scared because we believed we were next in line to be taken captive, tried unfairly & killed because we so openly followed Him.

Yesterday dawned a really beautiful morning. The sun was shining, but my heart was so full of darkness & heavy thoughts. There is a knock at the heart leaps to my throat & is pounding. My stomach is in knots. And I cautiously went to the door. Time moving so slowly as I open the door. It was just some of the gals that followed Jesus...Mary Magdalene & friends. They are yammering on....slow down...I don't understand anything you are saying because you are all talking at once.

I can barely wrap my head around what they are trying to say...they went to the tomb to finish anointing the body because everything happened so quickly that we needed to get him off the cross  & into the tomb before the Sabbath. So these wonderful loving ladies headed out early this morning to finish the burial preparations. Something about an earthquake in the garden, angels, and the tomb was empty. HOW IS THAT POSSIBLE? There is NO WAY anyone was able to get into that tomb to steal His body...those Centurions would NEVER let that happen!!

A couple of the guys, Simon Peter & John, headed out quickly to the tomb to see for themselves. I stayed back because I was so consumed with fear and anxiety, I could not bring myself to go outside. The guys came back & Simon Peter said he went into the empty tomb and sure enough there were Jesus' burial cloths and the one that had been around His head was folded neatly separate from the other linen. What does that mean? I'm so confused by all of this.

Well....LAST the BEST THING ever happened and NOW I understand what Jesus had been teaching us! But I'm getting ahead of myself.

We were sitting inside the locked house, when  2 of our friends came knocking...oh man there went my heart & stomach again...time slowing down as the knock occurs. Then they come in & tell us of an encounter along the Road to Emmaus. This guy came up to them & started asking them what they were talking about. It was getting late, so instead of letting this person continue on His way, they invited Him in to stay.

As they sat talking, this man took bread and broke it....just like Jesus did just a few short days ago. And that quickly the man disappeared and they beat feet here to Jerusalem. IT WAS JESUS! HE IS ALIVE! 

My head is I listen to them share every detail of their walk & conversation with Jesus. Then in the blink of an eye-there was JESUS! He was standing inside our locked house with us. At first, I really thought that we all were seeing a ghost...but no. There were the wounds in His hands, His feet, His side. "Peace be with you."Do you have anything here to eat?" "This is what I told you wile I was till with you: Everything must be fulfilled that is written about me in the Law of Moses, the Prophets and the Psalms." I could not believe my eyes and my ears.

There was Jesus...alive...eating fish and I finally understand all He had taught us over the last 3 years. He never came to overthrow Rome...He came to save the whole world for all eternity.

I have no idea what today or tomorrow will hold for me now...but I know life changed in one single moment. I will NEVER be the same again. Because Death was Arrested and my life began in that single moment...and I couldn't sit still inside that locked house anymore. I am a new person thanks to Jesus and the events of these last 3 life is beginning now. I wonder what that is going to look like?

March 26, 2016

Easter...Part 2

It's Saturday. I'm waking up. Yesterday, surely was just a bad dream...a nightmare, right? Those awful events that flood my mind as I open my tired swollen eyes...they did. not. actually happen did they?

I reach full consciousness & reality sets in. My eyes...are swollen from crying. My body exhausted. My heart broken...because I realize that My friend Jesus is dead. My innocent friend...gone. And the memory of yesterday comes flooding in...I can't stop the deluge of thoughts...they are rampant and I just want them to stop. I want the pain to stop. But I am powerless.....  

He WAS innocent! could you?!?! How could you turn on Jesus like that? Jesus who did nothing but love us, sure He corrected & rebuked us (& others) at times...but He always loved! ALWAYS! How could's because of you that He's dead today! 

He is dead! It can't be...but it is. 
I watched as the arrested Him in the garden. And He healed that man's ear. 
I watched Him be dragged before Pilate & the crowd screaming for Barabas to be released. The thunderous "Crucify Him!" is ringing in my ears. Make. It. Stop. 
I watched Him beated, flogged, skin torn to the point that if I hadn't known it was Him I'd no longer recognize Him. 
I watched Him drag that cross to the hill. And a man step in to help Him carry it. 
I watched Him take those nails in his hands & feet. The sound of metal on metal...I don't know if I will ever be able to hear that sound again without cringing. 
I watched as they lifted that cross & dropped it into the ground. Oh...the agony. 
My friend...hung between criminals. HOW HAS THIS HAPPENED? I don't understand. The tears come again. My heart is crushed. 
I watched as He was mocked, his clothes gambled for, and yet...

His eyes...oh those eyes, that could penetrate to your deepest parts. They were still so full of love for all of us there: His friends, His family, His followers, the guards, the mockers, the religious leaders & the prisioners. When He asked God to forgive us, when He told that criminal on the cross he'd be with Him in paradise...THAT was LOVE. How?!? How can He love like that? 

I watched as the sky grew dark...eventhough it wasn't nighttime yet! I heard My friend cry out from that cross, asking God why He'd been forsaken. My heart broke! All He had taught us about God, His father & in this His darkest moment...God turned His back on Him. WHY?!? And then....3 words It. Is. Finished. And my friend Jesus...was dead. Along with all of my hopes, my dreams, and His promises...dead right there on that cross in front of me. 

I DON'T UNDERSTAND!!! I'm angry! So angry right now! 

I watched as they removed Jesus from that cross & placed Him in that tomb. A shred of thankfulness that my friend had a place to be buried. But that shred is quickly usurped by the disbelief, the anger, the...the...I don't even know what to call all these feelings raging inside of me right now. I've never felt anything like this before. 

I  watched and I did nothing. Nothing to help Him. Not one thing. My actions were on autopilot, I was in shock. Surely this would NOT actually happen. Surely He WOULD triumph...afterall, He IS innocent! I've NEVER seen Him do ANYTHING wrong. He was NOTHING like those criminals He hung between yesterday. feels like a lifetime ago and yet mere minutes at the same time. IF I could rewind the clock 24 hrs...what could I do differently to change the outcome?!!? 

He. Is. Dead. And my hope for all that my friend Jesus was going to be is dying too. I don't know my purpose anymore. My heart is broken. I'm weeping again, tears I thought were dried up are pouring down my face as the images of yesterday that I watched just continually loop in my head. 

I'm just going to lock my door & not answer if anyone comes because I could be next. Fear is now my companion & I don't know how to stop it from overpowering me. 

Easter....Part 1

Today, I am reflecting & thinking about how much Jesus loves much so that He willingly gave himself for me, took my punishment for my sin/my choices. 
I am attempting to put myself into the crowd that watched Him an innocent man be beaten, mocked & crucified. Who would I have been in that crowd? Would I have gone along with the crowd & called for His death? Would I deny Him? Would I lock myself in a room? Would I weep? Would I recognize that THIS IS THE SON OF GOD?

And the challenge in my feeble attempt is that I KNOW Sunday is coming....My Lord, Savior of all, is NO LONGER in the grave! My sins are forgiven, eternal death is beaten & the same power Jesus exerted when He ROSE from the dead...that power is IN me! 

Jesus loves YOU! He died for YOU! He chose YOU over heaven's perfection! Will YOU choose Him this Easter?
Not sure what that means? Message me...we can talk! Join me at Hopewell Christian Fellowship, Elverson tonight at 7pm or Sunday morning at 9am/11am. He is waiting for YOU with 2 free gifts: mercy, found at the cross & power to overcome the trouble of this world, found in the empty tomb. 

I hope to see you this weekend, but even more so...I hope we can be together for eternity!