Monday, April 18, 2022

             All four gospels, Matthew, Mark, Luke and John, give an account of Jesus’ resurrection.  Each one offers some different perspective and detail.  But when we bring the accounts together, we get an amazing sense of what took place on the first Easter morning when Jesus victoriously left the tomb.  Reading all four accounts of Jesus’ resurrection would be a great devotional for today!  The Easter story is worth lingering with for a while.  There is a human tendency to move along when the calendar changes and consider Easter as something that happened yesterday.  But we cannot reduce Easter to merely another day or another event and then dispatch it with haste as we move along to Monday and a new week. 
            John’s gospel gives us two important statements about the events of the resurrection that we would do well to remember.  A little later on Easter Sunday, Jesus appeared to the disciples.  John says it was “on the evening” (20:19).  With the disciples cowering and crouching behind a securely locked door, Jesus appeared and said, “Peace be with you!”  Two verses later, Jesus said the same thing, “Peace be with you!”  That peace stays with us.  The Lord was telling us that His resurrection changed everything.  Life has been reset.  We can hold on to the promise of peace as well.  We can know peace on a busy Monday or in the middle of a crazy week.  When nothing may be going your way, you can hold on to the peace that Jesus offers you.  The Lord’s peace is never contingent upon what is happening around us or to us.  It is not conditional where we have to jump through some hoops to experience it.  His peace is real and available to us.  Claim this peace and receive it through faith and prayer.
            The next statement that Jesus made concerned the Holy Spirit.  John wrote, “And with that He breathed on them and said, ‘Receive the Holy Spirit.”  The Lord remains with us through His Holy Spirit.  We are temples or vessels for the Holy Spirit.  He has taken up residence in us and remains with us.  The Spirit comforts, convicts, counsels, consoles and accompanies us.  He illuminates the Bible whenever we read it and grants us understanding into God’s Word.  Whereas Jesus returned to the Father not long after His resurrection, the Holy Spirit came to be with us and to fulfill all that Jesus promised in John 14:15-31. 
            The coming of the Holy Spirit energized the disciples and gave rise to the early Church that we read about in Acts.  Indeed, some people suggest that the book of Acts could be properly named The Acts of the Holy Spirit.  It was the Spirit that enabled the apostles to engage in an incredible ministry of preaching, teaching, healing, church planting and the launching of missionary endeavors to take the gospel message far and wide to all who would listen and believe.  Even today, the Spirit gives us all that we need to serve God in any place He should send us.  With human strength we are often incapable and inadequate.  But God qualifies us and makes us capable with His Spirit.
            Perhaps today you would spend time reading John 14 to gain perspective on the coming of the Holy Spirit.  Easter was a beginning and not an end.  Jesus’ departure from the tomb signaled the beginning of the Church and Gospel age where the events of Good Friday and Easter are preached and proclaimed so others may respond to this good news.  Today, as we move away from the formal nature of Holy Week, may we carry with us the promise of the Lord’s peace and the promise of the Holy Spirit.  These gifts that the Lord leaves with us enable us to move forward confidently even though Holy Week is behind us.  We may leave dates and days behind but we never leave or lose the Lord.  The gifts we experience on Easter stay with us forever.  Have a wonderful Monday.  And remember you can share our worship with others anytime at youtube.com/FirstBaptistKannapolis.

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