Let us pray: Dear Savior, words cannot express the joy You’ve put into our hearts because of the resurrection! Fears are removed. Depression is overcome. And our future is assured—all by Your triumph over death! Energize our faith so that we can truly bask in the glow of joy that today brings! Amen
GRACE MERCY AND PEACE ARE YOURS FROM OUR LIVING LORD!
Text: John 20: 1-18
The Lord is risen! He is risen indeed! Today, as I promised on Christmas Eve, Levi ben Simon is back after a 33 year hiatus to report on the story of Jesus. Levi was a cub reporter who worked for the “Jerusalem Scroll.” He has been in Bethlehem the night Jesus was born and gone back a few days later after the hard-bitten editor, Schlomo, had rejected his article from that fateful night. But, he vowed to come back to you after he had more to report. Today is his story.
For over 32 years I’ve been waiting to write this tale. I’ve risen to the job of editor of the Scroll by hard work and perseverance. Now I’m the boss and I vowed long ago to never deep-six a story. Because I now have answers to the 33 year old mystery of Jesus Christ, I’m personally conveying it to you.
The past few days has been a whirlwind of stories and grief concerning Jesus of Nazareth, the popular miracle worker. He was arrested, tried before Pilate and subsequently crucified. He was abruptly buried in the grave site owned by Joseph of Arimathea. The Romans were so worried about tales of Him coming back to life that they sealed the tomb and posted guards to make sure no followers would steal His body and arouse the masses. I know all this because I checked it all out.
Then on Easter morning after the Passover, when it was lawful once more to handle a dead body, Mary Magdalene and a few other women went to the tomb around sunrise. They report that the huge stone at the entrance had been rolled back! Likewise, the guard was gone, vanished! She reported this to me. She ran off and found Peter and John and told them: “They have taken the Lord out of the tomb, and we don’t know where they have put him!” (By that time many knew about loud-mouthed Peter and John’s family was well-connected, too.) ‘Tis a puzzlement!
From interviewing the other women, I heard that they saw 2 angels in shining white robes at the tomb. They announced that “The Lord is risen!….Come see the place where He lay.” And then they vanished and the women were left speechless. Meanwhile, Peter and John arrived—the women were gone, and found the burial clothes neatly arranged. They both saw and believed Christ’s prophetic words about rising from the dead after 3 days. After they left word started to spread. Meanwhile, the guards were still no where to be found. I interviewed one of them later but he was too shook-up to say much and was afraid of the rulers and afraid for his life…
The grave yard had all sorts of nooks and crannies surrounding it. Mary Magdalene had gone off and was crying, imagining the worst, and she, too, saw two angels in white! They asked her why she was weeping. To which she responded: “They have taken my Lord away, and I don’t know where they have put him.” Just then she turned around and saw a man who she thought was a gardener. He, too, asked: “Who is it you are looking for?” She repeated her query about the lost body. Then the Man said: “Mary.” She now recognized Jesus and tried to hold onto Him!” But He also told her: “Do not hold on to me, for I have not yet returned to the Father. Go instead to my brothers and tell them, ’I am returning to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.”
Well, that’s exactly what Mary did! She also came and told me her story. How could anyone keep the greatest truth of the universe all to themselves? Now it may cost me my job to run all this as front page headlines. But I don’t care. I finally after 33 years have an answer to what I saw in Bethlehem those many years ago. The Messiah was born! The Messiah came to save God’s people from sin and death. The Messiah died in our, my place. The Messiah arose from the grave, my grave. All this is made possible and completely true because: “The Lord is risen! He is risen, indeed!” In fact, that’s going to be my headline—before the authorities shut me down! Amen
THE peace of God….
Pastor Thomas H. Fox