Saturday, March 26, 2016

Double Billed for Our Sins

By Allen White

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!”
John 20:1-2

Jesus’ disciples had just experienced the weekend from you know where. Jesus -- their teacher, their friend – had died a criminal’s death in the cruelest way possible.

When I watch the movie, The Passion of the Christ, I start cringing about halfway through knowing that the whipping scene is coming. It’s hard to take on video. I can’t imagine being there.

Mary Magdalene and the others were completely heartbroken and confused. Mary was overcome with grief. The Man who loved her and accepted her unconditionally died like He was the worst person in the world. She went to His tomb to pay her respects.

Mary discovered what she never expected. The stone was rolled away. The tomb was empty. She concluded that the cruelty of Jesus’ tormentors didn’t stop at His death. They continued to humiliate Him and to taunt His followers. What should she do?

Mary quickly found Peter and John. She reported what she saw and what she concluded. They went on to investigate. She stayed behind.

When we wake up on Easter morning, we know that Jesus was resurrected. After all, it is the old, old story. Mary Magdalene and the others weren’t sure what to expect. Yes, Jesus had predicted His death and His Kingdom. But, what did that really mean?

Jesus made references to destroying the temple and raising it up in three days (John 2:18-20). The religious leaders were angered because they thought Jesus’ prediction was literal -- impossible, but literal. Yet, is it more impossible rebuild a building or come back from the dead?

Jesus’ disciples didn’t have the knowledge that we have, but we share in their experience. They knew Jesus’ words, yet they had never experienced the things He had predicted. When God, through His Word, tells us that our character will be that of Christ’s (Philippians 2:5-11), we understand those words, yet there is so much that we haven’t experienced.

When God’s vision for our lives is for us to become humble, patient, kind, forgiving and more, it’s all good in theory, but how is that actually going to happen? Our Savior made promises to us. Our God wants us to experience a life that is beyond our everyday life. The tomb is open, but what does that mean in my life today?

Jesus Christ is the hope of the world. The sins we’ve committed can never be erased, but Jesus offers a second chance (and a third, and a fourth…). The relationships that we’ve burned through can only be resurrected by forgiveness. Our character flaws can only be corrected with God’s power and a humble heart.

Jesus paid it all. What are you still paying the price for today? Have you accepted His free gift of salvation? It’s not complicated. The instructions are pretty straight forward: Romans 10:9-10. You just need to be willing.

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