Closing the Gap 4.4.18

The Living Christ

Week 13 Day 3

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:

Peter and John went home, Mary Magdalene stayed at the tomb and cried.  It is no wonder that Mary was heartbroken; remember, Luke wrote that Jesus had set her free from demons. She was a woman who had experienced liberty and now she had to be confused.  She knew the demons submitted to Jesus, but now he was dead. If Jesus were dead, then who would stop the demons from returning to her? Whether Jesus rose from the dead or not had implications for more than just the life to come.  For Mary, it was the difference between living in confident freedom or in fear of being taken back into demonic bondage. If Jesus was dead, who stood between her and the demons? No one. Perhaps this is why she stood at the tomb and wept.  Was she hoping against hope that Jesus would appear? Was she terrified to leave even his burial site because she remembered what it was like to be controlled by demonic forces? Of course she stood outside the tomb crying, who wouldn’t? She had lived in freedom and now it seemed there was no one who could keep her from being dragged back into dark bondage.  Paul wrote that if Christ has not been raised from the dead, then you are still in your sins. Whether he rose from the dead or not has direct bearing on your liberty or bondage every bit as much as it did for Mary. If you have experienced the liberty of the gospel, your sins have been forgiven. Since Christ has risen, this liberty is a life-altering reality.  It is not merely religious “mumbo jumbo” that makes guilty people feel better about themselves. Mary did not just feel badly; her life was bad. She was controlled by evil and then she was set free. The guilt of sin is not merely feeling bad, it is a terrible weight that drags us down and away from God and others. Since Jesus has risen from the dead, then he stands between us and condemnation always.  He intercedes for you even now. Close the gap on gratitude today. There is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. Since Christ has risen, he stands, alive, between you and condemnation. Thank him now for liberty.

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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