Join the “Fellowship of the Unashamed”
The stone that sealed the tomb of Jesus was but a pebble compared to the Rock of Ages.
Today we get to celebrate the amazing gift of Easter Sunday. Eleven words recorded in Matthew 28:6 changed human history: "He is not here, for he has risen, as he said.” The stone that sealed the tomb of Jesus was but a pebble compared to the Rock of Ages. And because of the incredible miracle of the resurrection, we can all live with unshakable joy and hope.
"He is not here, for he has risen, as he said”Matthew 28:6
There is no natural explanation for the empty tomb of Christ.
The disciples could not have overpowered the Roman guards, nor could they have convinced more than five hundred eyewitnesses that a dead man was alive (1 Corinthians 15:6). And even if they somehow had, none would have died for a lie.
If the women went to the wrong tomb, the authorities would have corrected their error. If the authorities stole the body, they would have produced it. If Jesus did not die at the cross, that means he survived a spear thrust near his heart and three days in a mummified, air-tight burial shroud.
In his emaciated condition, he would have then had to shove aside the stone, appear through locked doors, and do the greatest high jump in history at the Ascension we see in Acts 1:9.
Easter is the foundation of the Christian faith. Because Jesus rose from the dead as he predicted, he must be divine. If he is divine, his words must be true. If he claimed to be our Savior and Lord, it must be so.
Now the risen king calls you and me to serve in his kingdom.
My favorite confession of faith was written in 1980 by an African Christian before he was martyred for his faith. I have quoted it often and am stirred each time by its words. Let’s celebrate the resurrection of Jesus today by making its commitment our own:
I am part of the “Fellowship of the Unashamed.” The die has been cast. I have stepped over the line. The decision has been made. I am a disciple of Jesus Christ. I won’t look back, let up, slow down, back away, or be still. My past is redeemed, my present makes sense, and my future is secure. I am finished and done with low living, sight walking, small planning, smooth knees, colorless dreams, chintzy giving, and dwarfed goals.
I no longer need preeminence, prosperity, position, promotions, plaudits, or popularity. I now live by presence, lean by faith, love by patience, lift by prayer, and labor by power. My pace is set, my gait is fast, my goal is heaven, my road is narrow, my way is rough, my companions few, my Guide reliable, my mission clear. I cannot be bought, compromised, deterred, lured away, turned back, diluted or delayed.
I will not flinch in the face of sacrifice, hesitate in the presence of adversity, negotiate at the table of the enemy, ponder at the pool of popularity, or meander in the maze of mediocrity.
I am a disciple of Jesus Christ. I must go until heaven returns, give until I drop, preach until all know, and work until he comes. And when he comes to get his own, he will have no problem recognizing me. My colors will be clear.
So as we enter our guided prayer today, may the same be true of us.
Today’s devotional is written by Jim Denison
1. Reflect on the miracle of Jesus’ resurrection from the dead. Imagine the stone being rolled away and the risen Christ emerging from his tomb. Take a moment to worship him in the splendor of his resurrection glory.
“When they saw him they worshiped him” (Matthew 28:17).
2. Charles Wesley wrote, “Christ the Lord is risen today, sons of men and angels say. Raise your joys and triumphs high; sing, ye heavens and earth reply.” What “joys and triumphs” can you claim because Jesus rose from the dead? How would you like to respond with gratitude to your risen Lord?
“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead” (1 Peter 1:3).
Finally, consider the relationship between Easter and spring . . .
3. Henry Wadsworth Longfellow wrote, “Twas Easter Sunday. The full-blossomed trees filled all the air with fragrance and with joy.” Give thanks to God for the new life and hope that is yours this day.
“Let your steadfast love, O Lᴏʀᴅ, be upon us, even as we hope in you” (Psalm 33:22).
In The Purpose Driven Life, Rick Warren noted, “God specializes in giving people a fresh start.” This “fresh start” began with Jesus’ first disciples on Easter Sunday. On this day, they learned that their risen Lord would forgive their failures, abandonment, and betrayals leading to his death.
Their first impulse was to share with others the transforming grace they had received. This is still the best way you and I can celebrate the resurrection of Jesus. Secular people are often more open to spiritual truth at Christmas and Easter than at other times of the year. You have a strategic opportunity to explain the reason for your celebration today.
So as you go, pray by name for someone who needs the hope of Easter. Then ask God to help you be an answer to your prayer.
Extended reading: Matthew 28
Pray by name for someone who needs the hope of Easter. Then ask God to help you be an answer to your prayer.