Closing the Gap 4.6.18

The Living Christ

Week 13 Day 5

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:

What is the bad news of the day?  What natural disaster has devastated lives somewhere near you or far from where you sit and read?  What manmade horrors are unfolding today? Wars, refugee crises, murder…the list is long and it is ever-present.  Perhaps the bad news is very close to you. Maybe disaster has struck in your own life or in the life of someone you love.  Does the fact that a man lived in the Middle East in the first century and was executed at around age thirty-three, and then supposedly rose from the dead have any bearing at all on the bad news of this day? It depends on whether he actually rose from the dead or not.  If he did not, then no, there is nothing there to mediate today’s bad news. There is no echo of future hope in Christ’s death. But if he did, then yes, the resurrection is the good news that impacts all bad news. At the very least, it is the good news that tells bad news that its days are numbered.  When difficult things happen, one of the first places people go in their minds is to the question, “Is there meaning in this suffering?” Their question is “Why?” When they find no meaning, their suffering is multiplied; when they find purpose in it, their suffering takes on a very different tone. It remains suffering, but when there is perceived purpose in it, it’s just not the same.  Another question that comes with suffering is, “How long?” When will I be free from this? Will I ever be free? That question is “When?” When the answer is unknown or “No, you will not be free,” then suffering can become unbearable for many people. When the answer is, “Yes, you can be free of this, but it will take some time”, life remains hard, but it becomes hopeful. How does the gospel good news potentially impact all current bad news? If you are in Christ, then to the “why” question, “Is there meaning in this?”  The answer is “Yes!” To the “when” question, “When will this end?” The answer is “Soon!” Though the soon may be years away, it will someday be experienced as having been “soon.” Are you in feeling despair? Don’t lose heart! “Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. 17 For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. 18 So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.”  (2 Corinthians 4:16-18)

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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