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If I could go back in time to the first Easter, I hope that my choice would have been to go to the tomb early on Easter Sunday.
Walking the typically rocky road with home-made sandals, I know that I could have felt my heart pounding. It would have been so loud that I couldn’t hear the women talking about the predicament of moving the stone. Knowing what I know now, but keeping it secret from those in that day, I would be straining to look ahead.
Maybe the sight of the absent soldiers would have confirmed what I know. They had been blown on to their backside and been terrified that they would be executed for failure to do their duty. All they had to do was keep Jesus’ disciples from stealing the body.
Yet, a power so great as to knock these professional soldiers out-of-the-way, disintegrate the Roman seal on the tomb as if it was never placed there, and then to move the stone out of the ditch in one instantaneous episode took place in a blink on an eye. Like frightened children the soldiers reported to their authorities and rehearsed the lie that they were told to give. That was better than execution or imprisonment to them.
The women were shocked to see the stone moved away. Their confusion would have been my excitement. Hearing the angel conversation would have thrilled my mind.
All the theology that I have learned would be validated through a few words. As the women wondered what to do, they may have asked me what we should all do. That’s when I would have let some of today’s Bible knowledge leak out, “Let’s go tell the disciples what we have seen!”
On the jog back to the gathering, I would have left the women, “You go report what we saw. I’ve got two disciples on the road to Emmaus that I need to see.”
“What are you going to say to them?” they would have asked in surprise.
“I want to hear what their companions will be telling them,” I would smile. “Don’t worry what anyone else says. I believe what y’all (Texan for “all of you”) believe. HE HAS RISEN!”
We loathe hurtful people. We have a particular distaste remembering when hurtful people turn their hate on us. What normal humans relish in being reviled?
Maybe for you it was during a family gathering and the whispering started when you walked into the house. Small groups of people stopped their conversation. Some stared at you with that smile of mockery.
Or perhaps it was at the office. Across the way near the water cooler three co-workers were whispering as they stole a glance or two in your direction. When you stared back they acted as if nothing was happening.
Worse yet, possibly it was at church when you were tortured with piercing words. They made you the victim of their gossip. To top it off they had the audacity to consider themselves and their fellow slanders the righteous ones.
Anyone who has led or anyone who has tried to accomplish anything knows what it is like to have a chunk of their heart torn out by those who practice hate.
What if that pain in your past could be removed as if it never happened? If a wave of a hand could make it all disappear, scars and all? Jesus did that for us when He died on the cross.
We needed miracle in our lives. The pain was so excruciating that we sinned in response. We traded insult for insult.
Now, tired and weary of the pain we looked for redemption. Jesus gives it to us through His sacrifice on the cross. The guilt and pain are placed on Jesus.
He takes it all and pays the price to get rid of it all forever. Do you feel the relief? But, there is more!
He not only made our hurt from others disappear it was so powerful He took away the act of the gossips go away too. All of the world’s sins were taken on by Jesus on to Himself as He died on the cross for them all. That is a good sacrifice. That is why the Friday commemorating Jesus’ death is called Good.
While the Savior hung on the cross, people mocked him. They spit on him. They threw things at him. He felt the hate for us.
He was beaten with angry hands. A whip tore his flesh. Worst of all the Father abandoned him because that was the price of sin. He felt all this for us.
The darkness of separation from the Father did not last for the Son. It was over. Jesus declared, “It is finished!” Good words on our Good Friday.
This is almost incomprehensible. I actually am living and I am 65 years old. For many years I will openly admit that I thought that this was not just a number, this was a symbol for OLD.
There was plenty of warning for this landmark in life. The US mail service started it. In each of my daily deliveries there were invitations to join old people’s groups. Retirement plans, parties, investments and “special” products took up most of my mailbox space.
Maybe being frugal was finally an asset. Discounts were mixed into this onslaught of advertisements. Businesses wanted to attract loyalty to the almighty discount for Seniors.
The Feds were in on this too. They kept sending reminders of Social Security. The not so subtle message was work longer before drawing on your retirement funds.
Clearly they were running out of money and wanted to kick the old people can down the road before paying up. OK. I’ll work a few more years longer.
Uncle Sam doesn’t know it but I love doing my job. Every day it is not about how to survive on a fixed income but on how I can make a difference in the lives of other people. In fact I am privileged to make an eternal difference in the lives of other people.
I get to expand the everlasting news in the lives of people with the hours that I put into my daily job. Calling it a “job” is a misnomer. It is a ministry where I have the joy of teaching truth and loving well.
That’s the motto of my occupation. I teach the Bible. No it’s not old worn out religion. It is lively and delightful joy.
Jesus Christ is at the center of all that I do. He is not fiction or imaginative “good luck”. Instead, He is the real deal. Jesus brings love and forgiveness into the lives of people.
My “job” is to pass that good news on to as many people as possible. Retirement is not in the picture. As long as God gives good health, I will keep on doing this “work”.
Maybe it’s this life that keeps me feeling young and going strong. Even at 65 I have my eyes set on making the next 5 years the best years of my life. Want to join me?