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[thoughts] Resurrection! (February 5-11, 2007)

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  • Mark Roth
    Thoughts for the Week Mark Roth http://www.anabaptists.org/clp/youth/ ... This edition goes out today to 4015 subscribers. Thank you! ... THE BODILY
    Message 1 of 1 , Feb 7, 2007
      Thoughts for the Week
      Mark Roth

      This edition goes out today to 4015 subscribers. Thank you!

      (Daniel 12:2,3; John 5:28,29; Acts 24:14,15; Revelation 20:11-15)


      Imagine the situation in that home in Bethany when it became
      clear that Lazarus was terminally ill. The sisters knew Jesus had
      healed many, many people; they knew He could also restore their
      brother to full health. So they sent for Jesus; hope abounded. The
      messengers returned, reporting their mission accomplished; hope
      grew. Lazarus' condition deteriorated, yet he clung to life by a
      thread; hope hung on. Then Lazarus died; but not hope. Hadn't
      Jesus also raised two people from the dead? Didn't Jesus have a
      special relationship with Lazarus, Mary, and Martha? Of course
      hope lingered on! Jesus would surely come and raise Lazarus.
      But eventually Lazarus' body had to be buried. By the time Jesus
      arrived, hope was gone for seeing Lazarus again in this life.
      After all, his body was already decaying. How can you possibly
      hope anymore at *that* stage?

      In these imaginings, we can see a bad situation getting
      progressively worse. We definitely can see the tenacity of hope.
      And we can also see the realism of hope: Once things get bad
      enough, to continue to hope is pointless. But into this
      decomposing, hopeless situation Jesus inserts a new dimension:
      Himself! No matter how beyond-hope a matter may seem, Jesus
      can bring life. So hang on to your faith in Jesus and never give
      up hope, no matter how realistically hopeless everything may seem.


      Christ deliberately delayed arriving where His help was so
      critically needed. Why?

      "That the Son of God might be glorified" (John 11:4). The
      contrary seemed so true. Jesus waited and ran the risk of being
      credited with callousness, insensitivity, and powerlessness. But
      He knew what would bring the most significant glory to Himself,
      so He waited patiently.

      "To the intent ye may believe" (John 11:15). Here again, the
      silent wait could have provoked unbelief, or at least a significant
      weakening of faith, not just in Mary and Martha, but also in His
      immediate band of disciples. But He knew when it was all over,
      their faith would be way stronger than it would have been had
      He gone right away and "merely" healed Lazarus. So He waited.

      "That...thou shouldest see the glory of God" (John 11:40).
      Perhaps the people were becoming somewhat jaded to the power
      of Jesus and the glory of God. The human mind shows a
      remarkable ability to adapt in the presence of repeated
      manifestations of supernatural power. Knowing this, Jesus may
      have decided to reveal a new degree of God's power and glory.
      So He waited.

      "That they may believe that thou hast sent me" (John 11:42).
      People abounded who questioned who Jesus was and who had
      sent Him. And they were probably outnumbered by the skeptics.
      The time had come to help them believe. The time had come for
      Him to tie a more-than-extraordinary miracle to His claims to
      deity. So He waited till Lazarus was absolutely, positively,
      unarguably dead.

      Is it possible His silence to your request springs from similar
      reasons? He hasn't changed, you know; He continues the same
      as always.


      For most of us, *rejoicing* in the resurrection's reality isn't all
      that difficult if we can focus our minds long enough. *Living*
      in that reality? Well, that can be such a markedly different story,
      eh? Perhaps we can help ourselves a little by reviewing the
      significance Christ's resurrection should have for us.

      Confidence. How many words have I preached and written in the
      defense and proclamation of the Gospel of Christ? I'm only one
      among millions! And how many millions have lived their lives
      and suffered their deaths with full confidence in the faith?
      Christians can do this with such zeal, commitment and
      confidence only because of the resurrection. "And if Christ be
      not risen, then is our preaching vain, and your faith is also vain"
      (1 Corinthians 15:14).

      Hope. I suppose most folks know how it works to survive a
      week (or month or year) on the basis and in anticipation of
      something. Hope keeps us going...until that event or whatever is
      at last realized. Then that hope does us no more good. (If that
      hoped-for thing is not realized, then we have a different batch of
      problems!) The hope of the Christian is of vastly greater reach
      because of the resurrection of Jesus. "If in this life only we have
      hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable" (1 Corinthians
      15:19). "Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ,
      which according to his abundant mercy hath begotten us again
      unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the
      dead" (1 Peter 1:3).

      Expectation. The phone rang. Upon picking up the receiver, I
      heard the teacher's desperate voice. The computer had locked up
      and she feared losing all her hard work. When she remembered
      I had recovered from a similar mishap, her expectations soared
      for her own predicament. In a minuscule way this helps us
      understand why Jesus' resurrection gives us expectations for our
      own. "For since by man came death, by man came also the
      resurrection of the dead" (1 Corinthians 15:21). We can look
      forward to eternal incorruption, glory and power in a spiritual
      body (1 Corinthians 15:42-44).

      Justification. I suppose few people know the frequent battlings
      of my heart against such evils as lust and bitterness, suspicion
      and materialism. How tired I get of the offenses! But thanks be
      to God, I *am* doing better. He has forgiven me every time, I
      know. But the Lord's resurrection offers me more: "Who was
      delivered for our offences, and was raised again for our
      justification" (Romans 4:25). Do you get this one?! Because of
      His resurrection, our sinning life gradually gives way to a
      victorious life. Praise Him!


      Thanks for being a subscriber to "Thoughts for the Week"!
      Mark Roth

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