Friday, April 5, 2013

Word for the day by Christian Education Forum

“Peace be with you”.
John :20:1--8

“Mary Magdalene…saw that the stone had been taken away from the tomb…And stooping to look in, he (Peter) saw the linen cloths lying there…” John 20

Have you ever been through an event so tragic that it caused you to despair about life itself? Have you ever felt betrayed by someone you loved after investing all your time and energy into them?  Have you ever felt crushed beneath the failure to accomplish or obtain something that you were so sure would have resolved your predicament? If you answered ‘Yes’ to any of these questions, you have just scratched the surface of how the disciples felt that dark Friday morning as they saw Jesus’ body hanging life lesson the cross.
To Philip, Jesus said “Come, follow me”.  Jesus saw Nathaniel under a fig tree, and proclaimed about himself “Very truly I tell you, you will see heaven open, and the angels of God ascending and descending on the Son of Man”.  John the Baptizer said Jesus was “the Lamb of God, who takes away the sins of the world.” Andrew heard John’s preaching and embraced Jesus as ‘Rabbi’ and ‘Messiah’.  Jesus even gave Simon a new name - Peter. Peter cast down his nets, left his family and livelihood to follow Jesus.  Jesus demonstrated miracles, the likes of which no man had seen before. He turned water into wine, fed the five thousand, walked upon water, and commanded the seas. He healed many. Now this very same Jesus was shut away in a tomb, enclosed by a large stone.

Remember, the disciples lived in a time when Israel suffered under Roman occupation. Jews were forced to pay taxes to Caesar while being treated as second-class citizens in their own land. At the same time, Pharisaic Judaism plagued Jewish life as these men who claimed to be holy, were plotting, scheming, and persecuting those who followed “The Way.”   Jesus was supposed to be the better Moses- one who could lead his people to freedom and reclaim the Promised Land. Jesus was
supposed to be the better David- one who restored the glory and victorious nature of the Jewish community in the world.  Jesus was supposed to be the better Ezra - one who would restore the temple and turn its people back to the commandments of God. At the site of the cross, none of this was possible. With every dying breath, these young Jesus followers were defeated and many ran to hide in shame.
In the early hours of the morning, Mary Magdalene came to the tomb where Jesus was buried and finds it empty.   Peter and John run to the tomb and were in disbelief at the linen cloths just lying there. Later, a man suddenly appears to the disciples who were in the upper room behind a locked door. He asked Thomas to touch his hands and his side. It is Jesus, the one who they saw dead…He is alive!  And in this moment Jesus shared a simple phrase “Peace be with you.” No door could
hold Him back from those He loved. He showed up in their time of loneliness to give them peace. Not even Death could hold Him. The disciples were afraid. Jesus did not wait for them to get their act together; he comforted them in their fear. Jesus stood in their midst! He wasn’t playing games. He wanted them to see Him and know Him and believe in Him and love Him.  This is the hope Jesus gave the disciples, and this is what He offers you even today “Peace be with you”.
Prayer: God of peace Thank you Lord for offering your peace through your sacrifice and resurrection. Amen
Thought for the Day: Peace that passes all understanding is our peace today

K. Varghese, Ascension MTC, Philadelphia