Tag Archives: resurrection

Walking Through Friday with Hope for Sunday

I am writing this on Good Friday and have been reflecting on the trajectory of Holy Week. Resurrection Sunday is the culmination of Holy Week. We can’t get to Sunday without walking through Friday. Resurrection is not possible without first dying.

The alley of shadows at dusk...

Jesus’ death and resurrection provide for us more than I can adequately give account for here, the primary of which is the forgiveness of sin and eternal life in Christ. Following Jesus as he walked through this last week of his earthly life reveals another aspect of his death and resurrection that is worth our attention.

Since we are surrounded by so many examples of faith, we must get rid of everything that slows us down, especially sin that distracts us. We must run the race that lies ahead of us and never give up. We must focus on Jesus, the source and goal of our faith. He saw the joy ahead of him, so he endured death on the cross and ignored the disgrace it brought him. Then he received the highest position in heaven, the one next to the throne of God. Think about Jesus, who endured opposition from sinners, so that you don’t become tired and give up.
Hebrews 12:1-3, God’s Word Translation

At some point in our lives, we will walk through the darkness of Maundy Thursday and Good Friday, hoping and praying for Easter Sunday to come, so that we can get the relief from our sufferings that we so earnestly long for. What we often forget is that on mid-day of Friday, as Jesus died, so we must die too. For us it is an internal dying, letting go of anything and everything that would keep us from living in the fullness of life that God has planned for us. This life is full union with God in Christ. As a friend shared with me recently, we must continue to let go until we find that place of “It is enough, just God and I.”

This union was the hope and goal of all the saints in the great cloud of witnesses. (Hebrews 12:1, NIV)  It is also a life long process, with episodes that greatly resemble the Holy Week that Jesus exampled for us. The beauty of this process is that it concludes with resurrection and new life.

I write this as I am walking through my own Good Friday experience. I have people I trust who have been telling me to “trust the process,” and “You will make it through, just keep your eyes on Jesus.” They have been a lifeline to me. I pray that wherever you find yourself this Holy Week, that you would be encouraged just as I have been by this passage and the good words of loving friends.

Grace and peace,
Brook

The Easter Story

sunrise with rainbow effectEven though it’s evening on Resurrection Sunday, I still want to wish you all a Happy Easter. Below is a collection of scripture passages that tell the Easter story.*  I compiled it to be read at the Community Easter Celebration my church held outdoors this morning. I thought I would share it with you here. This blog post is dedicated to Giovanni Serrato and Stacey Hamilton for their willingness to read it before the gathering this morning with next to no advance notice.
Enjoy! He is risen!

Grace and peace,
Brook

In the beginning was the Word
and the Word was with God
and the Word was God.
The Word was with God in the beginning.
Everything came into being through the Word,
and without the Word
nothing came into being.
What came into being
through the Word was life,
and the life was the light for all people.
The light shines in the darkness,
and the darkness doesn’t extinguish the light.

The Word became flesh
and made his home among us.
We have seen his glory,
glory like that of a father’s only son,
full of grace and truth.
(John 1:1-5, 14)

God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him won’t perish but will have eternal life.
(John 3:16)

This is how the love of God is revealed to us: God has sent his only Son into the world so that we can live through him. This is love:it is not that we loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son as the sacrifice that deals with our sins.
(1 John 4:9-10)

Christ Jesus: Though he was in the form of God,
he did not consider being equal with God something to exploit.
But he emptied himself
by taking the form of a slave
and by becoming like human beings.
When he found himself in the form of a human,
he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death,
even death on a cross.
(Philippians 2:5-8)

That evening a man named Joseph came. He was a rich man from Arimathea who had become a disciple of Jesus. He came to Pilate and asked for Jesus’ body. Pilate gave him permission to take it. Joseph took the body, wrapped it in a clean linen cloth, and laid it in his own new tomb, which he had carved out of the rock. After he rolled a large stone at the door of the tomb, he went away. Mary Magdalene and the other Mary were there, sitting in front of the tomb
(Matthew 27:57-61)

When the Sabbath was over, Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James, and Salome bought spices so that they could go and anoint Jesus’ dead body. Very early on the first day of the week, just after sunrise, they came to the tomb. They were saying to each other, “Who’s going to roll the stone away from the entrance for us?” When they looked up, they saw that the stone had been rolled away. (And it was a very large stone!) Going into the tomb, they saw a young man in a white robe seated on the right side; and they were startled. But he said to them, “Don’t be alarmed! You are looking for Jesus of Nazareth, who was crucified. He has been raised. He isn’t here. Look, here’s the place where they laid him. Go, tell his disciples, especially Peter, that he is going ahead of you into Galilee. You will see him there, just as he told you.
(Mark 16:1-7)

It was still the first day of the week. That evening, while the disciples were behind closed doors because they were afraid of the Jewish authorities, Jesus came and stood among them. He said, “ Peace be with you.” After he said this, he showed them his hands and his side. When the disciples saw the Lord, they were filled with joy. Jesus said to them again, “ Peace be with you. As the Father sent me, so I am sending you.” Then he breathed on them and said, “Receive the Holy Spirit.”
(John 20:19-22)

After his suffering, he showed them that he was alive with many convincing proofs. He appeared to them over a period of forty days, speaking to them about God’s kingdom.
(Acts 1:3)

Now the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain where Jesus told them to go. When they saw him, they worshipped him, but some doubted. Jesus came near and spoke to them, “ I’ve received all authority in heaven and on earth. Therefore, go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to obey everything that I’ve commanded you. Look, I myself will be with you every day until the end of this present age.”
(Matthew 28:16-20)

All scripture passages are from the Common English Bible.

* I am completely aware that this collection of scripture passages deals very little with Jesus’ earthly life and is thus not fully narrative. For the sake of time and poetic/literary license, I moved quickly from the pre-incarnate logos to death on a cross with only a quick glance toward Jesus’ earthly life. Thank you for understanding, and I hope you enjoyed the reading.

Loving On Purpose

Recently I read a number of accounts of restoration and resurrection in the Bible. Surprisingly, none of them were in the Easter story. What I was reminded about, though, is that God has always been in the business of restoring and resurrecting.

The_Raising_of_LazarusThe account that stood out to the most was the story of the resurrection of Lazarus. Yes, Jesus waited until Lazarus was dead to make his way to Bethany, but when he got there he fully entered into the situation, listening to and comforting Lazarus’ sisters, Martha and Mary. Jesus allowed his grief to align with their grief, since he dearly loved this family. It was from this place of empathetic union that formed an environment where healing could flow, even resurrection.

Jesus wasn’t the disaffected physician or the practitioner seeking to simply fix their problem. He loved them on purpose. Yes, he knew that by bringing Lazarus back from death would cause many to believe in him, but that didn’t stop him from loving his friends because they were his friends.

It is interesting that this resurrection story occurs just weeks before the Easter story, and is but one of many instances that Jesus brought people back from death. This speaks to me that resurrection and restoration are vital aspects of the mission of God’s kingdom and are, as Jesus exampled, an outcome of love. As a mission of God’s kingdom, it is also a mission of the people that make up that kingdom.

Looking forward to Easter, the purpose behind our many Easter events is to bring about an environment of love where restoration and resurrection can take place. May this be a vital part of all our preparations and planning. It is only fitting for the people of God’s kingdom.

Grace and peace,
Brook

When Jesus saw her crying and the Jews who had come with her crying also, he was deeply disturbed and troubled. He asked, “Where have you laid him?”
They replied, “Lord, come and see.”
Jesus began to cry. The Jews said, “See how much he loved him!”
John 11:33-36

Where Our Expectations Lie: Trusting Jesus to Bring Realignment

We all have expectations, and they are not all crazy. They do, though, at times need to be realigned. In the story of the walk to Emmaus, the Jesus encounters two of his disciples and helps them get their expectations of him pointed in the right direction. Luke 24:13-35

This talk was given at Valley Life Center Foursquare Church in Santa Clara, CA.

Right click here to download this file.

It’s Still Easter

The thoughts in this week’s devotional I owe in large part to the author of one of my favorite blogs, Storied Theology. Thank you, Dr. Kirk.

 

Today, as I was reading Luke 24 as suggested by Pastor Stuart in his Daily Scripture Reading email, I was stopped by verses 30-31.

“After he took his seat at the table with them, he took the bread, blessed and broke it, and gave it to them. Their eyes were opened and they recognized him, but he disappeared from their sight.”

Now we can infer a lot from this passage of why the disciples didn’t recognize Jesus. But, we do know that after he broke the bread for supper their eyes were opened.

 

Last weekend we celebrated the resurrection of Jesus after his death by crucifixion. Easter is impossible without Good Friday. And, as we see in this passage in Luke, it’s still Easter. Resurrection life and power were not limited to Jesus and the Easter event 2000 years ago. Jesus made himself alive in the hearts of his disciples that evening after they recognized his sacrifice for it symbolized in the breaking of bread.

 

To continue with this thought, it is still Easter today. The resurrection life and power is still available for us as we choose to lay our lives down at the cross. The cross is not only for us and our sin, but also for others that they might come to experience Jesus’ resurrection life and power. The cross for us is also service to others through which Easter can flow, today.

 

Grace and peace,

Brook