Closing the Gap 4.3.18

The Living Christ

Week 13 Day 2

Pray:

Ask God to reorient you to Himself. Confess any known sin. Thank Him for His forgiveness. Be still and reflect on Jesus and His sacrifice for you. Ask the Holy Spirit to open your heart and mind to God’s Word. Pray for others in your life that they, too, would know and love God today.

Read:

John 20:1  Early on the first day of the week, while it was still dark, Mary Magdalene went to the tomb and saw that the stone had been removed from the entrance.  2 So she came running to Simon Peter and the other disciple, the one Jesus loved, and said, “They have taken the Lord out of the tomb, and we don’t know where they have put him!”  3 So Peter and the other disciple started for the tomb. 4 Both were running, but the other disciple outran Peter and reached the tomb first. 5 He bent over and looked in at the strips of linen lying there but did not go in.  6 Then Simon Peter, who was behind him, arrived and went into the tomb. He saw the strips of linen lying there, 7 as well as the burial cloth that had been around Jesus’ head. The cloth was folded up by itself, separate from the linen.  8 Finally the other disciple, who had reached the tomb first, also went inside. He saw and believed. 9 (They still did not understand from Scripture that Jesus had to rise from the dead.) 10 Then the disciples went back to their homes, 11 but Mary stood outside the tomb crying. As she wept, she bent over to look into the tomb 12 and saw two angels in white, seated where Jesus’ body had been, one at the head and the other at the foot.  13 They asked her, “Woman, why are you crying?” “They have taken my Lord away,” she said, “and I don’t know where they have put him.” 14 At this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing there, but she did not realize that it was Jesus. 15 “Woman,” he said, “why are you crying? Who is it you are looking for?” Thinking he was the gardener, she said, “Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have put him, and I will get him.”  16 Jesus said to her, “Mary.” She turned toward him and cried out in Aramaic, “Rabboni!” (which means Teacher). 17 Jesus said, “Do not hold on to me, for I have not yet returned to the Father. Go instead to my brothers and tell them, ‘I am returning to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.’”

Reflect:

The tomb was empty, except for the burial clothes of Jesus. There was nothing in there, no body. Many have set out to prove that the resurrection is a hoax. This will continue to be true, some people will believe that they will be the first to do what has not and cannot be done – which is prove that the resurrection of Jesus did not happen. A number of those who set out to prove the resurrection of Jesus did not happen, instead, became followers of Christ in the process. The compelling fact of the resurrection of Jesus changed the course of their lives. Often these men did not begin their quest with neutrality about the Jesus. Often they had already decided what was real and they went looking for evidence to confirm what they believed. This fact makes their conversion even more compelling. God did not just have to take them from being neutral to being positive about Jesus, he had to take them from negative to positive. The disciples themselves went from cowardly, hiding, and self-protective men to bold, public, and life-sacrificing men. How can you explain this change? If the resurrection had not happened and these friends knew it, then they would surely not have given their lives for a lie. But the fact that all of them would die because of what happened on that Sunday is conclusive evidence that Jesus has risen from the dead. The tomb was empty and not because someone stole Jesus’ body but because Jesus rose from the dead. The evidence is compelling. What evidence? The fact of “nothing.” No other grave or tomb in human history was empty and remains empty. Empty not because of human intrigue, but because of divine power. Close the gap today on your confidence in God. The evidence of nothing is life-changing. When John looked into the tomb of Jesus on that first Easter morning, he saw nothing and he eventually believed. He would believe because he would encounter the resurrected Lord. Reflect on the empty tomb today. Reflect on how Jesus has revealed himself to you. What has he used to make himself known to you personally? Friends, Family, the Bible, the Holy Spirit, experiences…remember all these things and be grateful.

Pray:

(Personalize this prayer today; make it specific to the circumstances that face you.)

Ask God to lead you through His Spirit as you go through your day. Ask Him to bring to mind the truth of the gospel and its implications for what you will encounter today. Tell Him “Yes” to His will and ask Him for His power and protection to live this “yes.” Ask God to create and reveal opportunities to proclaim the good news today.

 

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