There is something special about the whole church family making it a priority to gather, especially on Resurrection Sunday! God was very gracious in our TWO services! Each service was full, with every other pew roped off. We are grateful!
Yes, the TOMB is EMPTY. Even a week later. So let's live, lead, and serve as if it's true.
Just before Easter, I wrote briefly about Mary hearing the words of Jesus, calling her by name after his resurrection and sending her on mission. This post-resurrection theme repeats other places in Scripture...
After the resurrection, Jesus comes back to his failed disciples & instead of bringing up their mistakes, he sends them on mission.
In the Kingdom of God, our mistakes don't make us “unusable.” It’s through our mistakes that God demonstrates his incomparable grace in our lives.
I think of Peter specifically. Jesus asked Peter three times, "Do you love me?" after the resurrection. The 3 questions cancel out Peter's 3 denials & Jesus sends Peter on his way. This is a season in which we are all invited to confess again, anew, our love for Jesus. Like Peter, I've denied Jesus plenty of times. I have - in word and in deed - distanced myself from his love and teachings. I have denied him through prayerlessness, apathy for the poor, and clinging to the words of others instead of his.
Like Peter, I am filled with contradictions. But the resurrected Jesus comes, and invites me to confess once again, my love for the Savior and my allegiance to the King of the Kingdom. Jesus doesn't need to confess his love to Peter because it's never wavered. But in asking Peter to confess his love once again, he offers a way for us to live in freedom and not condemnation.
We may well have John 3:16 memorized. But I love the few verses that come right after it...
16 “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. 17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him. 18 Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God.
Did you catch that? Jesus came to save, not to condemn. We do just fine condemning others and especially condemning ourselves. We don't need help with condemnation. But we are helpless to save ourselves. We need desperate rescue. And we are helpless to save others.
But our mission moves forward to point others to the Only One who can save - Jesus, who died, was buried, and rose from the dead!