My pastor asked me to put together a devotional for Sunday morning breakfast this Easter morning. I thought I would share what the Holy Spirit and I put together for you and I hope you receive a blessing from it. We have to go back in time a couple of thousand years ago to begin…
It was three days ago that the apostles and disciples of Jesus witnessed His horrific torture and death. Someone they had lived with, followed and learned from. They loved Jesus and knew who he was…
Mat 16:15 He said to them, “But who do you say that I am?”
Mat 16:16 Simon Peter replied, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.”
And in Matthew 16:21, Jesus told the disciples of his death and resurrection, so it should have come as no surprise what would happen, yet in their grief, they wept for his death and seemed to forget the part about resurrection.
I can imagine that Peter was especially distraught because he had denied Jesus those three times. Guilt on top of grief.
And that was ok. Ecclesiastes 3:4 tells us there is a time to mourn. Mourning for the death of Jesus was right and good, but there is good news or as Paul Harvey would say…”the rest of the story”. Let’s pick up the story in MATTHEW 28:1-10…
Mat 28:1 Now after the Sabbath, toward the dawn of the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went to see the tomb.
Mat 28:2 And behold, there was a great earthquake, for an angel of the Lord descended from heaven and came and rolled back the stone and sat on it.
Mat 28:3 His appearance was like lightning, and his clothing white as snow.
Mat 28:4 And for fear of him the guards trembled and became like dead men.
Mat 28:5 But the angel said to the women, “Do not be afraid, for I know that you seek Jesus who was crucified.
Mat 28:6 He is not here, for he has risen, as he said. Come, see the place where he lay.
Mat 28:7 Then go quickly and tell his disciples that he has risen from the dead, and behold, he is going before you to Galilee; there you will see him. See, I have told you.”
Mat 28:8 So they departed quickly from the tomb with fear and great joy, and ran to tell his disciples.
Mat 28:9 And behold, Jesus met them and said, “Greetings!” And they came up and took hold of his feet and worshiped him.
Mat 28:10 Then Jesus said to them, “Do not be afraid; go and tell my brothers to go to Galilee, and there they will see me.”
And now let’s pick up the story in LUKE 24:10-12
Luk 24:10 Now it was Mary Magdalene and Joanna and Mary the mother of James and the other women with them who told these things to the apostles,
Luk 24:11 but these words seemed to them an idle tale, and they did not believe them.
Luk 24:12 But Peter rose and ran to the tomb; stooping and looking in, he saw the linen cloths by themselves; and he went home marveling at what had happened.
Luk 24:36 As they were talking about these things, Jesus himself stood among them, and said to them, “Peace to you!”
Luk 24:37 But they were startled and frightened and thought they saw a spirit.
Luk 24:38 And he said to them, “Why are you troubled, and why do doubts arise in your hearts?
Luk 24:39 See my hands and my feet, that it is I myself. Touch me, and see. For a spirit does not have flesh and bones as you see that I have.”
Luk 24:40 And when he had said this, he showed them his hands and his feet.
Luk 24:41 And while they still disbelieved for joy and were marveling, he said to them, “Have you anything here to eat?”
(Confused like I was at the above underlined text? I dug into my unconfuser model 3000 and it says it means that they thought the news too good to be true.)
Luk 24:42 They gave him a piece of broiled fish,
Luk 24:43 and he took it and ate before them.
Luk 24:44 Then he said to them, “These are my words that I spoke to you while I was still with you, that everything written about me in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms must be fulfilled.”
Luk 24:45 Then he opened their minds to understand the Scriptures,
Luk 24:46 and said to them, “Thus it is written, that the Christ should suffer and on the third day rise from the dead,
Luk 24:47 and that repentance for the forgiveness of sins should be proclaimed in his name to all nations, beginning from Jerusalem. “
Many times in the story, we see fear manifest itself in Jesus’ followers. Do you remember the disciples in the boat on the stormy sea who were afraid of dying and then Jesus said:
“It is I; be not afraid.” Joh_6:20
In every event He says to us, “IT IS I; BE NOT AFRAID.” If friends turn on us and cause distress, if death enters our lives and bereaves us, if sickness lays us aside and fills us with pain, He says, “It is I; be not afraid.”
If losses, crosses, and trials come upon us, and discourage, distress, and perplex us, He says, “It is I; be not afraid.”
If death approaches, and calls upon us to leave the body and close our eyes, He says, “It is I; be not afraid.”
Should we hear bad news on TV or Social Media, He says “It is I; be not afraid”
If we see disasters natural or otherwise come upon us, He says “It is I; be not afraid”
Think of our risen Lord and be happy, Christian! Your fears are groundless and your brightest hopes are well founded. Rejoice in Jesus!
Flee FROM sin, FROM self, FROM the world; but flee TO Jesus. His heart is ever toward us, His ear is open to us, and His hand is ready to help, protect, and deliver us. His throne is our asylum, His promise is our comfort, and His omnipotence is our guard.
The debts of our sins are paid and forgiven and His resurrection is our comfort and peace. He is our shepherd and He will take care of his flock. Praise be to God!
Thanks to Rev. James Smith (1798 - 1871) for the inspiration!