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Matthew 26:32, 28:1-7, Mark 16:3, John 20:19, Revelation 22:20

For Children’s Church this Easter Sunday, we brought a colorful bag with chocolate crosses.  We sang, “Hear the Bells Ringing” and I read the verse that goes with the hymn, Matthew 28:6.  The verse says, “He is not here: for He is risen, as He said.”

Let’s take a closer look at the above verse and other related Scripture.  The “angel of the Lord” came from Heaven to roll the stone of Jesus’ tomb back.  Why did the angel move the stone?  It certainly wasn’t for Jesus.  In John 20:19, Jesus unexpectedly greeted the disciples after going through a locked door.  No, a large stone wouldn’t stop Jesus.  The women going to Jesus’ tomb, however, were concerned about the stone obstacle.  The angel moved the stone for them.

With the appearance of the angel came not only the moving of the stone but an earthquake.  The tomb guards were shaking “and became like dead men.”  When we think of the deceased, we know that they are not standing, but lying down.  The fearful guards were probably lying down on the ground in front of the tomb.

The angel dealt with the stone and the guards and sat on the stone.  I picture the women possibly struggling to keep walking with the earthquake (if it wasn’t just around the tomb), being afraid yet pleasantly surprised to see the guards out of commission, feeling a new fear and maybe gasping greatly as they witnessed the intimidating appearance of the angel of the Lord.  The angel knocked out two obstacles before the women arrived, and so apparently knew they were coming.  When they saw the angel, the angel said, “He is not here: for He is risen, as He said.”  By saying this, the angel revealed he knew the words Jesus spoke while on Earth and expected Jesus’ words to come true.  To me, “as He said” could show a little irritation that people on Earth didn’t remember what Jesus said in Matthew 26:32, and they appeared not to believe what Jesus said would happen.

What did Jesus say in Matthew 26:32?  He said, “But after I have risen, I will go ahead of you into Galilee.”  After the angel told the women, “as He said,” he spoke, “Come and see the place where he lay.  Then go quickly and tell his disciples:  ‘He has risen from the dead and is going ahead of you into Galilee.  There you will see him.  ‘Now I have told you.”

The angel believed that whatever Jesus said would happen would come to pass.  Jesus said He would rise from the dead and He did.  In Revelation, Jesus said He’s coming.  I believe Him!

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Luke 5:1-11, John 8:32, 14:6, 18:37

Before my family and I went on vacation recently, I picked up a National Geographic magazine with the title, Jesus and the Apostles on the cover.  I wanted to know what was being said about my Jesus.  On one page, I was pleasantly surprised to read a caption in support of what was called a “Jesus Boat.”  Apparently, scholars used to doubt the fishermen of Galilee could have boats that could have held the number of disciples mentioned in Scripture.  But, a drought that affected the Sea of Galilee in 1986 led to the discovery of an old, 27-foot-long boat (Get out some measuring tape for the full effect), and  “…scientific dating revealed it was built within decades of the birth of Jesus and could have been used during his lifetime.”

On another page of the same magazine, however, an author said, “It may be, in the end, that the Jesus of history isn’t what matters most.  It’s what we believe about him that counts.”  It seems the author is sowing seeds of confusion.  It sounds like he’s trying to separate the Jesus of history from the Jesus of the Bible.    If that’s what he’s saying, that’s a lie and not truth.  To know Jesus is to understand that Jesus is truth!  Whether you are or aren’t on the side of truth, check out part 1 and part 2 of Who is This Jesus:

As my family and I were vacationing in Virginia, we drove by a church sign in Big Stone Gap that read, “Prevent truth decay.”  That’s good advice.

Matthew 2:1-12, Luke 1:26-45, Luke 2:8-40

Jesus’ mom, Mary, had out-of-the-ordinary experiences before Jesus was born, but also after.  When she found out from an angel of God about her cousin Elizabeth’s pregnancy, she went to her house and greeted her.  Elizabeth let her know that when Mary greeted her, the baby inside her leapt.

When Jesus was born, shepherds came the same day after the angel encounter to Bethlehem to see Him.  I don’t think Mary or Joseph would have known any of the shepherds.

Eastern wise men came, worshiped the child Jesus in a house (Matt. 2:11), and gave gifts including gold.  The Reformation Study Bible (Sproul) says, “Jesus was no longer in a stable (Luke 2:7).  This visit was some time after the birth (v.1), perhaps a year or more (cf. v. 16),” and, “The “Magi” were not kings, but priests or court advisers…They were probably from Mesopotamia, the region of ancient Babylon, although other locations east of Palestine have been suggested.” Mary (and Joseph if he was there) were probably amazed to see the wise men with their gifts and hear their story of the star.

When Mary and Joseph brought their son to Jerusalem, a righteous man named Simeon blessed them.  An elderly prophetess, Anna, gave thanks.  Since Mary (and Joseph) were from Nazareth, they may have not known Simeon or Anna.

Of the people above that either knew of or saw Jesus as a baby or as a child, Mary probably only knew  Elizabeth.  It seems to me that Mary might have expected the unexpected.

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