Saturday, August 15, 2009

Sabbath Show: 'He is Risen!'

It was was the beginning of yet another week; the beginning of yet another day. But this was not a just a normal day. It was a actually a climax of the three days that would change the history of the whole universe – the days that will forever change the history of humankind! Just two days ago, in a hill called Calvary, the greatest man who ever lived had been put to death on a cross and buried “in the heart of the earth.” That gloomy day passed and the next day dragged and dragged on as He rested in the tomb, motionless and lifeless. Mind you, this was a man who had healed the broken-hearted, set the prisoners free and even raised the deads! This was the very one who had testfied that He is “the way, the truth and the life”!

Moreover, this is the man who had declared majestically that ‘He has the power to lay down His life for the sake of the people and and the power to take it again.’ And mind you, this was the man who had assured people that whatever He says is ‘the truth, nothing but the truth’ and many had believed Him. But this was the beginning of the third day since He died and it seems as if the devil who “had the power of death” was the winner after all! Was this death the end of the wonderful story of of this man who was meant to save the us from our sins and from death itself ?

Mary Magdalene: Of course it was not the end of the story even though that day did not start very well for some us who believed in Him as our Saviour. I could hardly sleep the night before and early in the morning when it was yet dark I went to the tomb with some sweet spices to anoint His body. But alas, the tomb was open and His body was nowhere to be found! I was really shocked and I sorrowfully rushed to tell Peter and John that they have taken away His body and I didn’t know were they have laid him!

While Mary was running to the disciples with her sorrowful message the other women who had also witnessed the death and burial of Jesus entered the tomb with their spices and perfumes. But guess what happened?

Salome: We saw a light shining in the tomb, but the body of Jesus was not there. We were so puzzled and suddenly we saw a young man clothed in shining garments sitting by the tomb. We were so frightened but to our surprise, he exclaimed: " Fear yeah not for I know that ye seek Jesus, which was crucified. He is not here: for He is risen, as He said. Come, see the place where the Lord lay. And go quickly, and tell His disciples that He is risen from the dead." It was so unbelievable and as we look into the tomb again we saw and heard another shining man exclaiming:, "Why seek ye the living among the dead? He is not here, but is risen: remember how He spake unto you when He was yet in Galilee, saying, The Son of man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men, and be crucified, and the third day rise again." ‘He is risen, He is risen! We repeated these amazing words over and over again, as we run to share the good news of His resurrection with the others!

While these women were running away from the tomb with great joy, some disciples were running toward the tomb with great sorrow. What were they up to?

Peter: You know Mary really shocked us with her message so we run as fast as we could to the tomb. John, the son of thunder outrun me and reached the tomb first. When John arrived he just looked inside at the linen clothes lying there at the tomb but I guess he was too shocked to get in.

I could hardly believe it. It was only after Peter went in that I also went in and believed after seeing what I saw. At that time we still did not understand the Scriptures that He must rise again from the dead. So we went away to our homes and Peter kept wondering but Mary remained at the tomb, weeping.

Mary Magdalene: I wept and wept and when I looked at the empty tomb lo I was surprised to see two angels in white. As if they didn’t know, they asked me: “woman why weepest thou?” As soon as I answered them I turned back and through my tears-dimmed eyes I saw another man who asked me why I was crying and who I was looking for. I thought he was the gardener so I ask him to show me where he has laid Him so that I can take Him away. But guess what I heard from him? I heard the familiar voice calling me by name, “Mary”! And lo behold my eyes were open and I saw Jesus, the living Christ and all I could exclaim was “Master!” I was so glad I couldn’t wait to tell Peter and the other disciples that I have actually seen Him and that He is risen indeed!

‘He is risen’ was indeed a wonderful message to these women who had served Jesus! But was it so to the pharisees and the priests who plotted to get rid of Jesus?

Pharisee: Of course not. We had indeed prepared ourself for the worst. Since we heard Jesus saying He will rise again on the third day we decided to ask Pilate to ensure that His tomb was sealed and guarded tightly! But alas we were shocked when the guarding soldiers came and told us about what had happened that morning. So we had to come up with a new deal. We gave them money and asked them to say that Jesus’ disciples came at night and stole His body. So the bribed soldiers tried their best to spread this story.

Despite all this, the women kept on spreading the glad tidings that ‘He is risen, He is risen’ . But no matter how much the women tried to convince the apostles, their words seemed to them as “idle tales, and they believed them not.” But Jesus never gave up on his disciples or did He?

Cleopas: No He didn’t. He never gave up on us. While the two of us were in Jerusalem we heard this message that He is risen but it was too good to be true. So we sadly decided to go back to Emmaus. While were were talking about all these astonishing things along the way a strange traveller joined us . It seems as if He had no idea about how terrible things had been in the past three days. How could He ask us why were were so sad? How could he miss it? Anyway, we told him the saddening story of the cruficifition of He who we trusted as the one “who was going to redeem Israel.” To our surprise he started preaching to us one of the best sermon we ever heard! Starting at Moses and all the prophets, He explained to us how all the scriptures predicted that Jesus had to suffer all these things and rise on the third day! His gospel was so sweet and we wanted to hear more so we invited him to dine with with us.

Then something familiar happened: ‘He took bread, blessed it, broke it and give it to us’! We knew only one man who could have done that and that moment ours eyes were open and we knew for sure that He is risen!At a twinkling of an eye He vanished. Now we knew why our hurt burnt within us as He spoke to us along the way and immediately we went back to Jerusalem to tell the other disciples that He is risen indeed! And as soon as I we told them Jesus appeared again to all us and we were overwhelmed with joy!

Surely “Christ's first work on earth after His resurrection was to convince His disciples of His undiminished love and tender regard for them. To give them proof that He was their living Saviour, that He had broken the fetters of the tomb, and could no longer be held by the enemy death; to reveal that He had the same heart of love as when He was with them as their beloved Teacher, He appeared to them again and again.” He would come over and over again even for the sake of the doubtest of them all, wouldn’t He?

Thomas: Yes He would come. When Jesus first met all the disciples, I was not with them. They disciples told me that they have seen the Lord but I could not believe them. I even told them "except I shall see in His hands the print of the nails, and put my finger into the print of the nails, and thrust my hand into His side, I will not believe.”’ One day when I was with the other disciples and while the doors were shut suddenly Jesus and stood in the midst, and said, Peace be unto you. Turning to me He said, "Reach hither thy finger, and behold My hands; and reach hither thy hand, and thrust it into My side: and be not faithless, but believing." I instantly recognized the He is indeed the risen Jesus. I did not need any further proof. My heart leaped with joy as I exclaimed, "My Lord and my God."

Jesus accepted Thomas’ “ acknowledgment, but gently reproved his unbelief: ‘Thomas, because thou hast seen Me, thou hast believed: blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed.’ The faith of Thomas would have been more pleasing to Christ if he had been willing to believe upon the testimony of his brethren. Should the world now follow the example of Thomas, no one would believe unto salvation; for all who receive Christ must do so through the testimony of others.” And this is the testimony, that Jesus is still alive today and He want to live within our hearts! He is risen and this is what He testifies in the book of Revelation chapter 1 verse 18: “ I am he who lives, and was dead; and behold I am alive for evermore, Amen; and I have the keys of hell and of death.” Jesus died and He is risen so that we may live forever. Is He risen in your life today? All power on earth and on heaven has been been given unto Jesus and because He lives we can face uncertain days. Can you face tomorrow because He lives?

Because He Lives - SDA Hymnal 526

God sent His Son, they called Him Jesus,
He came to love, heal and forgive;
He lived and died to buy my pardon,
And empty grave to prove my Savior lives!

Because He lives I can face tomorrow,
Because He lives all fear is gone;
Because I know He holds the future.
And life is worth a living,
Just because He lives!

How sweet to hold a newborn baby,
And feel the pride, and joy He gives;
But greater still the calm assurance,
This child can face uncertain days because He lives!

Because He lives I can face tomorrow,
Because He lives all fear is gone;
Because I know He holds the future.
And life is worth a living,
Just because He lives!

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