Remember the Resurrection!

by Victor Knowles

If you're human at all you get discouraged once in awhile, even though you are a believer.

Sometimes, even though we know better, we lock ourselves in a room with fear, doubt, and anxiety as our depressing companions. We know it's not right but perversely we would rather dwell with such unholy company than we would with such pleasant companions as faith, hope, and love.

I was that way early this morning-living in a blue funk instead of remembering the rainbow of God's promises. I was behaving badly, much like the disciples after the death of Jesus. They were so overcome with discouragement that they forgot all about the many times He had told them that He would arise from the dead. Christ was not a part of their crisis. Nor was He of mine.

How very much like them we are. I say "we" because you've probably been in that dark and depressing room too. We get so down because of our present circumstances that we cannot look up to the One who has promised in the past better days in the future. Shame on us. "Not one of all the Lord's good promises to the house of Israel failed; every one was fulfilled" (Josh. 21:45). Are we not the Israel of God?

I wonder if Jesus was disappointed that Sunday morning when He arose from the dead. None of His disciples were there to welcome Him back to the land of the living! You would think-as often as He had told them He would be raised on the third day-they would be camped out at the tomb; instead, they were holed up in a gloomy room behind barred doors.

But some women came to the tomb-not to greet Him, alas, but to anoint His dead body. And they had their worries too: "Who will roll away the stone for us?" As if to respond to this appalling atmosphere of fear and unbelief, the very ground on which they walked heaved and quaked; an angel descended from heaven, and the massive stone was instantly and easily rolled away.

"Why seek the living among the dead?" The angelic message was almost a rebuke. "He is not here! He is risen-just as he said!" Ouch! "Go quickly and tell his disciples." The women were quick to do so. But the disciples, acting more like dolts and dunderheads, were not quick to believe the Sunday morning message on the resurrection of Christ.

Sunday night service rolls around. The same small crowd is there. Crouching in the semi-darkness. Three unwelcome visitors are also there: fear, doubt, and anxiety. Making a wreck of them. Taunting. Teasing. Tormenting. Then another visitor enters. Right through locked doors! Jesus! He speaks: "Peace be with you!" He could have given them a piece of His mind, but instead He gave them the peace of His heart.

"After he said this, he showed them His hands and side. The disciples were overjoyed when they saw the Lord" (John 20:20). The resurrected Christ banished their fear, filled them with joy and granted them peace. Exit the dark visitors! And He will do the same for us today-if we will only remember the resurrection!

The sabbath of sorrow is past. Long past. The darkness of despair is gone. The dawn of a new day, a day of bright hope, is here. The first day of the week, like the longed-for first flower of spring, has come. It's Sunday! Friday's finished! The sun, in all its radiant glory, has risen. The Son, in all His splendor, has risen "with healing in his wings."

Throw away your spices, reserved for things that are dead. Worry no more about a stone too heavy to move. The stone has been rolled away! Enter the tomb. See? The tomb is empty! He is not there. Jesus is risen! Run with the message. Tell everyone you can...beginning with the church: "Jesus is alive!" "He's alive and I'm forgiven! Heavens gates are open wide!"

Unlock the doors that cannot keep Him out anyway. Make way for the King! Receive His message of peace. Experience the peace that passes understanding. Behold His hands and side. Be not faithless, but believing. Know Him in the "breaking of bread." Let your hearts "burn within" as you rediscover the resurrected Christ. Doubt no more. Say with Thomas, "My Lord and my God!" Then sing with all your heart, "My faith looks up to Thee, Thou Lamb of Calvary, Savior divine! Now hear me while I pray, Take all my guilt away, 0 let me from this day Be wholly thine!"

Victor Knowles is executive director of Peace on Earth Ministries (POEM).

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