Then the other disciple, who had reached the tomb first, also went in, and he saw and believed; John 20:8 ESV
I like the conflicted kind of faith that John had because it is so much like my own. After all, he had not seen a vision of angels as the women had, nor seen Jesus Himself as did Mary Magdalene. John had not had the chance to walk with Jesus to Emmaus or see Him vanish as He broke the bread. All John had in his hands was an empty burial shroud, yet that slim shard of evidence stirred within him the words that Jesus had spoken, “and after three days I will rise again.” and John believed.
I love this simple disciple, who never even ventures to name himself, though we know from the early accounts that it is John. He is so much like us, on this Easter morning. Not one of us has literally heard the Savior’s voice, nor touched His wounds as Thomas did. We hold only copies of the words His followers wrote, are stirred by the whispers of the Holy Spirit in our hearts, and yet it is enough! The miracle of God’s gift, and the faith He stirs within us, fills us with joy. It is Easter again! We have received the amazing good news with what seems to others only a few shreds of evidence. Together we have become brothers and sisters with John and everyone else who has believed in Jesus for 2,000 years. Happy Resurrection Day! It is Easter Again! He is risen indeed!
For with God nothing will be impossible.”
Then Mary said, “Behold the maidservant of the Lord! Let it be to me according to your word.” And the angel departed from her. Luke 1:37-38 NKJV
There are a lot of Mary’s listed in the Bible, but the one we know the best is Mary the mother of Jesus. Humanly speaking, she is where the story of Easter begins. (That’s right I didn’t say Christmas!) Of course, I believe that Jesus existed in Heaven with the Father since before the beginning of time. But the earthly life of Jesus began with a young lady whose neighbors might have referred to her as Mary of Nazareth. Mary was sweet and innocent, though just as in need of a Savior as you and I. Yet of all the people God had to choose from, He chose Mary, because He knew that she more than anyone would be prepared to say “Yes!” when she heard of His audacious plan.
Easter is about Jesus rising from the dead and about a new chance in life for us. But for us to take that journey from old to new and death to life we all must begin where Mary began when she asked, “How can this be?” God’s answer for Mary is in some ways the same as His answer for us. Are we willing for Jesus to be born in us? Is His will more precious to us than the opinions of people, who may never understand His plan? God isn’t angry when we ask sincere questions as Mary did. In fact, most of the greatest answers ever came for her that day. “Nothing is impossible for God!” Answering God’s call won’t make us perfect. That won’t come until our final destination in heaven. But all along the way, God will be helping our faith to grow and our roots to deepen. Are you ready to start the journey towards Easter this year with Mary’s answer? “Let it be to me according to Your word!” Once we begin to follow the Savior, we may not know what the pathway may lead, but we can know that He will be with us every step of the way!
“Very truly I tell you, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life and will not be judged but has crossed over from death to life. John 5:24 NIV
Before the children of Israel left Egypt, they stood on one side of the Red Sea, but as they were leaving, they crossed over to the other side. Forty years later when they came near to the border of the Promised Land, they stood on the East bank of the Jordan, but when God parted the water, of the river, they crossed over to the Western side. Throughout History we see people who have crossed over to begin new lives. Martin Luther left the Roman Catholic system on the premise that faith alone, not the church would give him eternal life. One hundred and fifty years later, the Pilgrims, crossed the Atlantic, to what was called, “The New World”, for the freedom to worship God according to their own conscience. In the same way, Jesus has called anyone who believes in Him to cross over to eternal life. “But what does that mean? How can I cross over?” you ask. Jesus tells us that the answer is to simply believe His words more than ours. Crossing over will mean letting go of Egypt, to follow God through the wilderness, then leaving the wilderness behind to enter the Promised land. There is no crossing over, without a leaving behind. But we do not need to be afraid, because the same God who parted the Red Sea and the Jordan River, is standing before us today with an invitation to believe. Jesus is stretching out His hand and saying, “You don’t need a map of the wilderness, to get to the Promised Land, you only need to follow me. He is also calling you and me this morning. “Don’t be afraid. Trust my word. Take my hand. Leave everything in this world behind and together, let’s cross over to eternal life!”
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