You are witnesses of these things. Luke 24:48
The witness died.
I read this from a newspaper’s headline. He saw what happened in a murder. He saw who was murdered and who did the murder. When he volunteered to testify plus a couple of days, he was murdered, too. The witness is now dead.
The disciples took this route. Jesus declared they were witnesses. They saw what happened. They saw multitudes healed. They saw thousands satisfied and fed. The saw him walk on earth and on water. They live with him. They ate with him. They saw him dead. They saw him risen. They did not only witness one event, they saw a lot. Jesus emphasized, “…these things.” They lived to be witnesses and suffered to death rather than deny the things they saw, rather than denounced their faith.
Nowadays, some of his witnesses might take the same road. They can be killed because they live as his witnesses. These modern day disciples may take the step to the grave for their stand in their faith. But not all.
Yet all of his witnesses, like you, are called to die to oneself. Die so others may live. Die from pride. Die from selfishness. Die from compromising. Die from nonchalance. Die from fear of ridicule in declaring his kingship. Die from keeping the light within the confines of comfort. Die from declaring monopoly of God and his grace.
Like the disciples, you have seen a lot. Miracles. Blessings. Healing. Providence. Opened closed doors. Changed lives. His grace available daily. Dare to trek the direction to be his witnesses. Step forward, march on to proclaim what he has done, he is doing and he will do.
Jesus was crucified, died and was buried. He is risen and is alive. You are witnesses of these things. Take the stand.
They were saying to one another, “Who will roll back the stone for us from the entrance to the tomb?” When they looked up, they saw that the stone had been rolled back; it was very large. Mark 16:3-4
You have the same exact question.
You have been laid off. Who will roll the stone of unemployment? You are working for unity. Who will roll the stone walls of division? You are in a mission field. Who will roll the stones in the heart of people? Your family is in a brink of brokenness. Who will roll the stones of pride and hatred? You are a sinner and you are praying for acceptance. Who will roll the stones in the hands of the judgmental? You have kidney problems. Who will move the stones in it?
The three women of Easter knew they were dwarfed by the large stone covering Jesus’ tomb. So they asked the same question you asked. Who will move it for you? Who has the power to pushed it aside? — A God who is alive. Jesus has power over sin and death, much more over the stone. No matter how large the stone is, in your life, he will roll it. He will crushed it. He will push it aside for you to enter life into its fullness.
One thing the women did is this — they looked up. The did not look at one another to move the stone. They did not look at their strength or abilities to roll back the rock. The women did not look at their devotion or faithfulness to open the entrance. They looked up!
Look up to the God who is victorious over death and sin. Look up to the risen Christ who loves you and who wants to bless you further. Look at him and not at your skills or talents or education. Depend on his faithfulness not on yours. Jesus opens anything that is closed. He clears the road blocks in your life.
Jesus is alive. The stone is not. Jesus has the heat in his body. And the stone? It is stone cold.
We know that Christ, raised from the dead, dies no more; death no longer has power over him. Romans 6:9
The search for a way or ways to beat death has been long conducted.
Juan Ponce De Leons of the world are still looking for the fountain of youth. Doctors have been operating people to change their internal organs. Cloning is introduced to replicate oneself. To look young, a visit at the plastic surgeon is appointed. To keep breathing, an apparatus is engaged to pump air into the body. To suspend death, you look for things which can give you life like career or family. All these things may postpone death. All these things may transfer your death day to another day. However, none gives death to death.
Paul’s reminder to the Romans and to you, “We know that Christ, raised from the dead, dies no more; death no longer has power over him.” He was dead. His blood in his veins flows no more. He rose from the dead. His veins started to feel blood flow and never has stopped, ever. He dies no more. For he alone has power over death, as with life.
Jesus is not another Juan Ponce, he has no need for the fountain of youth. He has no need to change defective body organs. He did not need a medical equipment to inject air into his body. He did not clone himself, he was the same Lord and God. No career or family to give him life, for alone he is life. There was no postponement of death, there was cancellation, not to be scheduled forever. There was no transfer of death day to another, it was deleted forever in the equation. He trail blazed the way and is true to his promise, “For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him might not perish but might have eternal life.” John 3:16.
You will not perish. You will not decay. You will not rot six feet underground. Death will have no power to those who believe him. Death will not an issue to those who follow him. Death will not be feared by those who love him.
Jesus beat death. He dies no more. He massacred death. It has no power over him. He put death to death.
Then he said to them, “Why are you troubled? And why do questions arise in your hearts? Luke 24:38
We were driving on a thruway when I noticed that the fuel gauge indicated a low gas reading. At once, I decided to take the next exit since we were about 10 miles from our home. So I did that. Staring at the sign of the nearest possible exit, I diverted from our passage. I have to pull out of the route I was taking to fill up the vehicle with gas. I have to stop our journey going home. I guess, this is the case when you ran out of fuel. You pull out from the way. You stop. You divert.
When Jesus died, put in the tomb and was taken from the tomb, His followers thought they ran out of gas. They thought it was time to find the nearest exit. They thought they have to pull out of the journey. They thought they have to stop, not momentarily but maybe forever. They wept. They were scared. They were troubled. They had questions in their hearts and minds. They thought of leaving Jerusalem. After all, the Master who showed them love and marvelous miracles is dead. After all, the Master who chose them among the crowd was taken from His tomb. Not knowing His death and His rising will fuel their revived race. For Jesus’ death on the cross gave them forgiveness, not a regular kind of death but a special one. For His resurrection from the tomb gave them hope, not a regular expectation but a premium sight of eternal glory.
Friends, do you feel living your life as if you are running out of gas? You want to stop. You want to pull out of the way. You want to divert your heart and eyes from somewhere else. You want to find the nearest exit. You have fears. You have doubts. Something is troubling you. You are abandoned. You want out. As the church song goes, “Dying You destroyed our death, Rising You restored our life, Lord Jesus, Lord Jesus, come in glory!” His death on the cross and His rising fuel our walk with Him. When we follow Him, we will never run out of gas. His dying and His rising fuel our hearts not to be weary of loving God and not be tired in living for God. We can continue our journey. We will never stop. We will never divert. We will go on and on and on… We will never take an exit until we reach our Home. We will fix our hearts on the love and hope He offers. For our hearts’ tanks are full.
With His dying and His rising; look at your fuel gauge, it always reads filled up.
Then the other disciple also went in, the one who had arrived at the tomb first, and he saw and believed. John 20:8
They thought of visiting Him for a long time. This is where you come from day to day. You express your love from week to week. Months will pass by, you still step on the same steps to commemorate. Years will commenced, your feet will still take you here. But not with Jesus. There will be no All Saints’ Day get-together for His followers. There will be no candles to lit at the tomb at the start of November. No memories of the dead. No death anniversaries for years to come. His death did not last. His being in darkness was not for long. Just three days. Short.
And so with us. Our difficulties will come to pass. Our despair will not last. Our sufferings are just visiting. Our distress are here for a vacation. The hardest of life to live is a wink. The trials we have are temporary. Your financial problems comes in the winter yet gone in spring. Your career or employment concerns goes like as a TV commercial. Your marriage or family issues are cars driving in a thruway, very fast to stay with you. We will not have to have All Saints’ Day. Jesus is not dead. Jesus has risen. Jesus has given us hope. All these difficulties will be short because we have hope in Him. In Him who has risen. In Him who defeated death. In three days.
Arrived at your tomb. Just see and believe. Our hardships will all be short.