Thursday, August 10, 2017

Timeless Truths - I AM Series #6: I Am the Resurrection and the Life

Each I AM describes who Jesus is AND who we are to be.

Jesus said to her [Lazarus’ sister, Martha], “I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die; and whoever lives by believing in me will never die.
John 11:25-26a
It is through Jesus that we find both resurrection and life.

Early on the first day of the week, while it was still dark, Mary Magdalene went to the tomb and saw that the stone had been removed from the entrance. So she came running to Simon Peter and the other disciple, the one Jesus loved, and said,
“They have taken the Lord out of the tomb, and we don’t know where they have put him!” 
So Peter and the other disciple started for the tomb. Both were running, but the other disciple outran Peter and reached the tomb first. He bent over and looked in at the strips of linen lying there but did not go in
Then Simon Peter came along behind him and went straight into the tomb. He saw the strips of linen lying there, as well as the cloth that had been wrapped around Jesus’ head. The cloth was still lying in its place, separate from the linen. 
Finally the other disciple, who had reached the tomb first, also went inside. He saw and believed. (They still did not understand from Scripture that Jesus had to rise from the dead.) Then the disciples went back to where they were staying.
Now Mary stood outside the tomb crying. As she wept, she bent over to look into the tomb and saw two angels in white, seated where Jesus’ body had been, one at the head and the other at the foot. 
They asked her, “Woman, why are you crying?”
“They have taken my Lord away,” she said, “and I don’t know where they have put him.” At this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing there, but she did not realize that it was Jesus. 
He asked her, “Woman, why are you crying? Who is it you are looking for?”
Thinking he was the gardener, she said, “Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have put him, and I will get him.” 
Jesus said to her, “Mary.”
She turned toward him and cried out in Aramaic, “Rabboni!” (which means “Teacher”). 
Jesus said, “Do not hold on to me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father. Go instead to my brothers and tell them, ‘I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.’ ”
Mary Magdalene went to the disciples with the news: “I have seen the Lord!” And she told them that he had said these things to her.
On the evening of that first day of the week, when the disciples were together, with the doors locked for fear of the Jewish leaders, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you!” After he said this, he showed them his hands and side. The disciples were overjoyed when they saw the Lord. 
Again Jesus said, “Peace be with you! As the Father has sent me, I am sending you.” And with that he breathed on them and said, “Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive anyone’s sins, their sins are forgiven; if you do not forgive them, they are not forgiven.”
Now Thomas (also known as Didymus), one of the Twelve, was not with the disciples when Jesus came. So the other disciples told him, “We have seen the Lord!”
But he said to them, “Unless I see the nail marks in his hands and put my finger where the nails were, and put my hand into his side, I will not believe.” 
A week later his disciples were in the house again, and Thomas was with them. Though the doors were locked, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you!” Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here; see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it into my side. Stop doubting and believe.” 
Thomas said to him, “My Lord and my God!” 
Then Jesus told him, “Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.”
John 20:1-29

John 20
Peter, John, and Thomas are the only listed disciples. The others were fearful and hiding.
We are like the disciples.
Young in faith, like John.
Denying Him, like Peter.
Doubting Him, like Thomas.
Fearful of the relationship, like the other disciples who were behind locked doors.

While the following questions are associated with the Easter story, each of us must give an answer to all three of them.
Verse 15. Who are you looking for?
There is a sense of recognition in all of us.
Mary recognized His voice.
Thomas recognized His wounds.
Peter recognized his insight when he realized he'd betrayed Jesus.
We too often miss Jesus because we’re looking for someone else.

Verse 5. What are you waiting for?
John was the first to reach Jesus’ tomb . . .
Peter was the first to enter.
What do Christians wait for today?

What will it take to believe?
What will it take to act?
What will it take to make a difference?
What will it take to live the way Jesus wants us to live?

Too many of us qualify our desire to believe with “if." 

Mary, the disciples as a group, and Thomas all saw, then believed.
Seeing reassures and reinforces.

Now that we’re at the end of this series, what’s your action plan?

You have two options.
One. Choose to believe.
Two. Go because we are sent by Christ. (John 20:17)

Too many arrive at belief and don’t go
It’s easiest to stay and hide.

However, the options are not "either/or."
The options are "both/and."

Christ’s message today is the same as it was then:
Go into the world and make a difference.”

Next Timeless Truth: Timeless Truths: Who, Me? or A Fish, a Worm, and a Wrong Direction - Baccalaureate 1984

Special thanks to Dr. Scott Peterson, Vice President For University Relations at Mt. Vernon Nazarene University for the central teachings in this series.

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  1. This was really good. One of my favorite stories in the Bible is when Mary thinks Jesus is the gardener and all it takes is for Him to say her name... the intimacy of that moment, the gentle, loving way He must have spoken her name. Just thinking about it brings me to tears. "There is a sense of recognition in all of us." I hadn't thought about it that way before. It shows He reveals different aspects of Himself to each of us. He's such a personal God.

    1. That is the truth. Thank you for your comments.


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