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Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Power Over Death

John 20:1-9, John 11:38-44, Mark 5:35-42, Luke 7:12-15,
1 Cor 15:50-56, 1 Cor 15:19-20, John 11:25-26

Scripture available at glenavonchurch.googlepages.com/library

Sunday was Easter – The day we commemorate the resurrection of our Lord and Saviour. Hallelujah!

Pastor Lorne started the message by mentioning the movie from a few years ago, The Passion. It was a violent movie and it portrayed Jesus covered in wounds and blood, struggling down a Jerusalem street with a cross. I know some critics said it was too violent and wasn’t realistic. Pastor Lorne said it was a bad time considering the beatings that Jesus endured that day. He asked what you would do if you were a disciple, watching the person you believed to be the Son of God suffer at the hands of mere mortals. How would you feel as you watch them nail Him to a cross and plant Him on a hill between two thieves? What would you think when Jesus died on that cross and the world turned to darkness?

Pastor Lorne said in the last few weeks we’ve discussed Jesus’ miracles. About how he had power over sickness and life’s struggles. How he had the power to control the environmental forces and change the natural behavior of animals. Of how even the demons acknowledged and obeyed him.

And, today, being Easter, we hear of how Jesus had power over death. That’s a big one, Pastor Lorne said. He went on to say that he’s stood over many a coffin and known that the life for that body was over. Have you ever looked in a coffin? Did you think that person would rise and live again? But, if you have faith, you know that life isn’t over.

He brought out attention to John 20:1-9. Can you picture Mary Magdalene looking into the empty tomb? She expected to see a body, wrapped in funeral cloths but only the linens remained. Simon Peter and another disciple walked into the tomb. They saw the linen strips and the burial cloth and they believed.

Pastor Lorne said that if you opened the tomb or final burial site of any former world leader, you’ll find a body or bones or something. But not for Jesus. The Bible says that although the disciples believed, (v9) “They still did not understand from Scripture that Jesus had to rise from the dead.”) That not even death could hold Him.

Scriptures say that Jesus brought 3 people back to life while during His ministry.

John 11:38-44 – The story of Lazarus who was dead for four days when Jesus brought him back to life.

Mark 5:35-42 – The story of synagogue leader, Jarius, who was told his daughter had died. Jesus refuted that fact saying the girl was only sleeping. Jesus went to where the girl lay. Taking her by the hand, he told her to get up and walk, and she did.

Luke 7:12-15 – Jesus watched a funeral procession. Filled with compassion for the widow whose only son had just died, Jesus placed His hand upon the coffin and told the young man to get up. Verse 15 says, “The dead man sat up and began to talk, and Jesus gave him back to his mother.”

According to 1 Cor 15:50-56, we don’t know when Christ will come back but when he does, he’ll use His power to raise the dead. 1 Cor 15:19-20 testifies that “...Christ has indeed been raised from the dead...” Pastor Lorne said he’s so glad that because of Easter...because Jesus arose from the dead...there’s coming a day when we will be reunited with those loved ones who went before us. On that day, the dead will rise – some to eternal life in heaven – others to eternal darkness.

What would it mean if Jesus hadn’t risen from death? It would mean that once our lives were over on this earth, we’d die. So what? There’s great things in store for us! He’s waiting for us! John 11:25-26 says, “Jesus said to her, "I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies; and whoever lives and believes in me will never die. Do you believe this?" If you want to be part of that resurrection, believe in Him.

We need to be close to Jesus. We need His miracles. We need Him as a friend. We need to be part of the Resurrection! Believe in Him, that he died on the cross. Then you will be a part.

Pastor Lorne wondered if anyone wanted to accept Christ into their hearts and lives. He said they didn’t have to stand or go to the front of the church, but just bow their head wherever they were sitting and pray along with Him. He then led a prayer asking Christ into our hearts because we believed in Him and His power over death and that we wanted to have a personal relationship with Him.

The grave isn’t the end. It’s all possible because Jesus triumphed over death. He’s alive today!

If you would like to speak to Pastor Lorne about this or any other topic, please find his contact info at the bottom of the right column.

Your comments are invited. If you’re not sure how to leave a comment, please look for the list of labels in the right column and click on the word “comments”.

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