Saturday, April 4, 2015

Easter Reflections: The Joy of Seeing Jesus

On the Passover, the Lamb of God was sacrificed for the sins of the world. As foreshadowed in the story of Abraham and his son Isaac, God the Father provided the spotless lamb required for the offering. After Jesus' death on the Cross, here's what happened according to Matthew 28:1-10.

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."

The disciples did see him in Galilee. They believed Mary Magdalene and the other Mary and went to Galilee, where they saw Jesus and worshiped him.

Even more remarkable than this story is the fact that this very experience is available to each of us in uniquely personal ways. I remember so many days, times, and ways in which Jesus has suddenly met me on the road, in my room, in my car, while treating the sick, on the beach, during retreats, while reading quietly, while watching my children, in my prayer time, while reading the Bible, in the grocery store, at church, while helping someone in need, while feeding my sick child soup, while speaking to crowds about my faith ... and so many more times.

How precious it is to recall these special times of closeness and communion. They are possible because Jesus is alive. I have no doubt whatsoever. I speak to him and he speaks to me. He guides me. He inspires me. He encourages me. He challenges me. He feeds me. He transforms me. He saves me.

He loves me.

When you find a fountain among the thirsty, if you have any compassion at all, you invite them to come and drink. Christ's love compels me to share his living waters.

May you experience the unspeakable joy of seeing Jesus this Easter season!

Dr Mari

"Whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life." (Jesus in John 4:14)

In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace that he lavished on us. With all wisdom and understanding, he made known to us the mystery of his will according to his good pleasure, which he purposed in Christ, to be put into effect when the times reach their fulfillment—to bring unity to all things in heaven and on earth under Christ. (Ephesians 1:7-10)

 For Christ’s love compels us, because we are convinced that one died for all, and therefore all died. And he died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for him who died for them and was raised again. (2 Corinthians 5:14-15)

For more Easter reflections, see The Hero Lives!

Photo from Used with permission.

Friday, April 3, 2015

Good Friday Reflections: Are You Thirsty?

While reading Matthew 25 through the end of the Gospel this morning, I've been all over the Bible. Such in-depth reading and pondering of the story of God's people and their response to God's activity among them helps me grasp a bigger picture. Reading passages from Isaiah, Jeremiah, Zechariah, and other prophets who prophesied about the Messiah hundreds of years before Jesus' birth expands my understanding of Christ's significance then, now, and forever.

Of the many thoughts and revelations I've had while reading, this is the one that's most poignantly reached my intellect and warmed my heart today. Jesus, the very definition of love and service, has done not only the seemingly impossible but also the highly improbable. The sinless one takes our place. In the midst of unspeakable suffering, he steps in to save the lost and those who actively yell, "Crucify him!" and give him gall to drink. 

Jesus steps into his slaughter and, rather than resent and rebuke, he heals and forgives. He blesses and saves. 

Jesus is the One who tastes the vinegar so sinners may taste living water.

"Then he took the cup, gave thanks and offered it to them, saying, 'Drink from it, all of you. This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins.'" (Matthew 26:27-28)

"On the last and greatest day of the Feast, Jesus stood and said in a loud voice, 'If anyone is thirsty, let him come to me and drink. Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, streams of living water will flow from within him.' By this he meant the Spirit, whom those who believed in him were later to receive." (John 7:37-38)

On this Good Friday, I pray that you and I will drink this living water, believe, and live. 

Dr. Mari

"But this has all taken place that the writings of the prophets might be fulfilled." 
(Jesus in Matthew 26:56)

For more Good Friday reflections, see What's So Good About Good Friday?

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