Our Risen Savior
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“The gifts of the Master are these: freedom, life, hope, new direction, transformation, and intimacy with God. If the cross was the end of the story, we would have no hope. But the cross isn’t the end. Jesus didn’t escape from death; he conquered it and opened the way to heaven for all who will dare to believe. The truth of this moment, if we let it sweep over us, is stunning. It means Jesus really is who he claimed to be, we are really as lost as he said we are, and he really is the only way for us to intimately and spiritually connect with God again.”—Steven James
How wonderful, how marvelous is Your love for us, dear Savior, to think You were willing to do all that for us! You didn’t desire it, but “nevertheless not My will, but Thine, be done.”1
Thank You for Your love, for being willing to go through all that. What a day of rejoicing that must have been when You rose and You realized it was all over. You had won the victory, the world was saved!
You rose in victory, joy, liberty, freedom from Your enemies and from the hands of men and the cruelty of men, never to die again. So that You could redeem us as well from the same, and prevent our having to go through it. “O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory? The sting of death is sin. But who hath delivered us from the body of this death? I thank the Lord through the blood of Jesus Christ.”2 Thank You, Lord, for that glorious victory!—David Brandt Berg
A description of our risen Savior: He is enduringly strong; he is entirely sincere. He is eternally steadfast; he is immortally gracious. He is imperially powerful; he is impartially merciful. He is the greatest phenomenon that has ever crossed the horizons of the globe. He is God’s Son; he is the sinner’s Savior. He is the captive’s ransom; he is the breath of life. He is the centerpiece of civilization; he stands in the solitude of himself. He is august and he is unique; he is unparalleled and he is unprecedented. He is undisputed and he is undefiled; he is unsurpassed and he is unshakeable. He is the loftiest idea in philosophy; he is the highest personality in psychology. He is the supreme subject in literature; he is the fundamental doctrine of theology. He is the Cornerstone and the Capstone. He is the miracle of the ages.—S. M. Lockridge
Jesus’s resurrection is the beginning of God’s new project not to snatch people away from earth to heaven but to colonize earth with the life of heaven. That, after all, is what the Lord’s Prayer is about.—N. T. Wright
Philip’s Egg—A Story
Philip was born with Downs syndrome. He was a pleasant child, happy it seemed, but increasingly aware of the difference between himself and other children. Philip went to Sunday school faithfully every week. He was in the third grade class with nine other eight-year olds.
You know eight-year-olds. And Philip, with his differences, was not readily accepted. But his teacher was sensitive to Philip and he helped this group of eight-year-olds to love each other as best they could, under the circumstances. They learned, they laughed, they played together. And they really cared about one another, even though eight-year-olds don’t say they care about one another out loud.
But don’t forget. There was an exception to all this. Philip was not really a part of the group. Philip did not choose nor did he want to be different. He just was. And that was the way things were.
His teacher had a marvelous idea for his class the Sunday after Easter. You know those things that pantyhose come in . . . the little plastic containers that look like eggs? The teacher collected ten of them. The children loved it when he brought them into the room and gave one to each child. It was a beautiful spring day, and the assignment was for each child to go outside, find the symbol for new life, put it into the egg, and bring it back to the classroom. They would then open and share their new life symbols and surprises, one by one.
It was glorious. It was confusing. It was wild. They ran all around the church grounds, gathering their symbols, and returned to the classroom.
They put all the eggs on a table, and then the teacher began to open them. All the children gathered around the table. He opened one and there was a flower, and they ooh-ed and aah-ed. He opened another and there was a little butterfly. “Beautiful!” the girls all said, since it is hard for eight-year-old boys to say “beautiful.” He opened another and there was a rock. And as third-graders will, some laughed, and some said, “That’s crazy! How’s a rock supposed to be like new life?” But the smart little boy who’d put it in there spoke up: “That’s mine. And I knew all of you would get flowers and buds and leaves and butterflies and stuff like that. So I got a rock because I wanted to be different. And for me, that’s new life.” They all laughed.
The teacher said something about the wisdom of eight-year-olds and opened the next one. There was nothing inside. The children, as eight-year-olds will, said, “That’s not fair. That’s stupid! Somebody didn’t do it right.”
Then the teacher felt a tug on his shirt, and he looked down. “It’s mine,” Philip said.
And the children said, “You don’t ever do things right, Philip. There’s nothing there!”
“I did so do it right!” Philip said. “I did do it right. The tomb is empty!”
There was silence, a very full silence. And for you people who don’t believe in miracles, I want to tell you that one happened that day. From that time on, it was different. Philip suddenly became a part of that group of eight-year-old children. They took him in. He was set free from the tomb of his differentness.
Philip died last summer. His family had known since the time he was born that he wouldn’t live out a full life span. Many things were wrong with his little body. And so, late last July, with an infection that most normal children could have quickly shrugged off, Philip died.
At his memorial service, nine eight-year-old children marched up to the altar, not with flowers to cover over the stark reality of death ... but nine eight-year olds, along with their Sunday school teacher, marched right up to that altar, and laid on it an empty egg ... an empty, discarded, plastic pantyhose egg.
And the tomb is empty!—Author unknown3
Published on Anchor March 2016. Read by Jerry Paladino.
1 Luke 22:42.
2 1 Corinthians 15:55–56; Romans 7:24–25.
3 Sourced from storiesforpreaching.com.