Saturday, April 03, 2010


We have a service at our church called 2HC. It doesn’t have any cool meaning. It’s shorthand for second hour contemporary. When it came time to pick a name we couldn’t think of one so this stuck. At 2HC we’ve been doing a series called ‘The Road’. Our guide has been the book of Matthew. As we’ve walked along the road we’ve discovered more and more about Jesus.

Throughout Holy week the road felt a little bit like a roller coaster. Palm Sunday is filled with joy. And then the road crests the hill and we start dropping into the valley. And what we see on the descent isn’t pretty. We witness the stunning abandonment of Jesus by his disciples, the arrest of Jesus, the cowardice of Pilate and when we hit the valley floor we get a gut wrenching view of the torture and death of Jesus. And now the road takes us to the tomb of Jesus.

After the Sabbath, at dawn on the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went to look at the tomb.

There was a violent earthquake, for an angel of the Lord came down from heaven and, going to the tomb, rolled back the stone and sat on it. His appearance was like lightning, and his clothes were white as snow. The guards were so afraid of him that they shook and became like dead men.

The angel said to the women, "Do not be afraid, for I know that you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified. He is not here; he has risen, just as he said. 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."

So the women hurried away from the tomb, afraid yet filled with joy, and ran to tell his disciples. Suddenly Jesus met them. "Greetings," he said. They came to him, clasped his feet and worshiped him. Then Jesus said to them, "Do not be afraid. Go and tell my brothers to go to Galilee; there they will see me."

There’s a story of a Muslim who became a Christian in Africa. "Some of his friends asked him, 'Why have you become a Christian?' He answered, “Well, its like this. Suppose you were going down the road and suddenly the road forked in two directions, and you didn't know which way to go, and there at the fork in the road were two people, one dead and one alive--which one would you ask which way to go?'"

Look through the ages. One thing stands out. Every prophetic figure, every acknowledged religious leader, every charismatic leader came to the end of their days. Death consumed them.

But not Jesus.

His death on the cross dealt with this ugly sin issue that plagues mankind. His resurrection frees us to live in the company of a very alive and real Jesus …who loves us like crazy. It’s a power that guides our steps on the road even now.

In churches all across the world we celebrate Jesus’s victory over death, over the devil. Nothing has been able to stifle the work of the cross and the power of the resurrection. Although many have tried they’ve failed.

I remember reading about an anti-God rally in Russia during the rise of Communism. One of the Communist leaders addressed a crowd and belittled, abused, and ridiculed the Christian faith. It was a stunning display of hatred towards God designed to silence the church and any outward manifestation of faith. When he was finished questions were invited. An Orthodox church priest rose and asked to speak. He turned, faced the people, and gave the Easter greeting, "He is risen!" Instantly the assembly rose to its feet and the reply came back loud and clear, "He is risen indeed!"

Evil often thinks it has the upper hand. The Cross and the Resurrection looks evil in the eye and says …”no you don’t.” For the truth of the matter is this …some day “at the very name of Jesus every knee will bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue will acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father."

Jesus is risen and He beckons us to keep road tripping. He told the women whom He trusted to tell the others that they were to get back on the road and go to Galilee. And they all went. And once there Jesus told them that the road they would travel on next would take them throughout the world preaching the good news of a God who’s not dead and who’s alive.

That’s what we proclaim too. The road is still there. And at every fork in that road …the living Lord is there saying “Come, follow me.” And He does something with us as we travel. He keeps working on us and with us, helping us to become more and more like Him. And He gives us stuff to do. We become His messengers. His hands and feet. He wants us to help change the world for Kingdom purposes. And as we travel down the road He stops us and builds into our life, shaping us more and more into His image and likeness. Like a sculptor crafting His masterpiece …the risen God …shows His love for us by not allowing us to stand pat. ‘Tis a good thing.

He is Risen.

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