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Looking In The Wrong Place

worshipping

worshipping Jesus

We all like happy endings. Even most violent movies manage an ending that inspires hope for the future.

The Jesus story is one of the best known in history, with an ending that Christians consider the best news of all time.  It’s an exciting drama about rebellion against oppressive authority, standing up for the weak and powerless, healing miracles and rules broken, culminating in his brutal death on a Roman cross.

In the closing scenes, with his dying breaths, Jesus offers the gift of eternal life to a criminal being executed alongside him. “Today you will be with me in paradise” (Luke 23:43).

 He probably didn’t understand the extraordinary nature of that gift, but the criminal shared in that same happy ending with Jesus not through anything he had done – or not done – or through any special knowledge or favour. Rather, he received simply because he asked and trusted.

But despite the best efforts by his enemies, it didn’t end there. Jesus showed his power over the greatest enemy death by appearing in the flesh in the weeks following his crucifixion.

And then later, there was his mysterious ascension – almost beyond belief. But many eyewitnesses testified that it did really happen – just as the Gospels say.

If a hardened, ill-informed criminal gets to enjoy the gift of eternal life with Jesus, can we likewise expect such a happy ending? Or an even more amazing new beginning? Absolutely!

We too are offered that same gift, though it is never forced on us. Like a loving Father, God wants nothing more than to draw us back to himself into a relationship of love and trust. And it starts with a simple ‘yes’.

Those who arrived at the empty tomb that first Easter Sunday morning found it empty, and were asked, ‘Why do you look for the living among the dead? He is not here, but has risen.’ (Lk 24:5). They were looking for him in the wrong place.

Jesus appears to us today – not simply as a great figure in history – but as a living reality whose power and presence is available to all who accept him as Lord. May we believe in that promised happy ending with Jesus and not look for Jesus in the wrong places.

Complete message here

 

Lismore Anglican Parish Bulletin Insert

Easter Sunday 31st March 2013  7.30am Lismore, 10am Dunoon

Looking In The Wrong Place      Luke 24:1-12, Acts 10:34-43

Luke 24:1-12   The Resurrection of Jesus

1But on the first day of the week, at early dawn, they came to the tomb, taking the spices that they had prepared. 2They found the stone rolled away from the tomb, 3but when they went in, they did not find the body. 4While they were perplexed about this, suddenly two men in dazzling clothes stood beside them. 5The women were terrified and bowed their faces to the ground, but the men said to them, ‘Why do you look for the living among the dead? He is not here, but has risen. 6Remember how he told you, while he was still in Galilee, 7that the Son of Man must be handed over to sinners, and be crucified, and on the third day rise again.’ 8Then they remembered his words, 9and returning from the tomb, they told all this to the eleven and to all the rest. 10Now it was Mary Magdalene, Joanna, Mary the mother of James, and the other women with them who told this to the apostles. 11But these words seemed to them an idle tale, and they did not believe them. 12But Peter got up and ran to the tomb; stooping and looking in, he saw the linen cloths by themselves; then he went home, amazed at what had happened.

 

Acts 10:34-43  Gentiles Hear the Good News

34 Then Peter began to speak to them: ‘I truly understand that God shows no partiality, 35but in every nation anyone who fears him and does what is right is acceptable to him. 36You know the message he sent to the people of Israel, preaching peace by Jesus Christ—he is Lord of all. 37That message spread throughout Judea, beginning in Galilee after the baptism that John announced: 38how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power; how he went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with him. 39We are witnesses to all that he did both in Judea and in Jerusalem. They put him to death by hanging him on a tree; 40but God raised him on the third day and allowed him to appear, 41not to all the people but to us who were chosen by God as witnesses, and who ate and drank with him after he rose from the dead. 42He commanded us to preach to the people and to testify that he is the one ordained by God as judge of the living and the dead. 43All the prophets testify about him that everyone who believes in him receives forgiveness of sins through his name.’

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