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Summary: Deeper meaning of risen from the dead and ascension.

Weekend Message/Devotion

April 1, 2018

HAPPY EASTER – HE HAS RISEN INDEED

I wish you and your loved ones a very Happy Easter Celebration. Today we are reminded of the supreme sacrifice of our Lord and Savior. Such a significant sacrifice which provided for the forgiveness of our sins. More significant is that He arose from the dead and ascended to heaven and sits at the right hand of God the Father as our advocate.

Please meditate on these truths and absorb that love and forgiveness. Today many families will gather in fellowship to worship and to fellowship around a table to share a feast of celebration. May we extend the forgiveness and love of Christ to each other today with the same sincerity and permanence as offered by Jesus, the Sacrificial Lamb of God.

Family gatherings sometimes bring forth confrontations and bitterness that serve only to hurt and disrupt. Christ has forgiven you and me for some of the most evil and hurtful sins imaginable. Can we not forgive each other and put those hurts behind us, especially today and especially in a family setting? Living out our faith and belief is such a terrific testimony to our offspring and others who haven’t experienced such love and forgiveness may be the most powerful “sermon” they will ever receive.

Then Jesus said to them, “All of you will be made to stumble because of Me this night, for it is written: ‘I will strike the Shepherd, And the sheep will be scattered.’ Mark 14:7

There is no avoiding the first word in this quote – ALL. That “ALL” does indeed include you and me. When anyone gets to a point of believing that he/she is not vulnerable to stumbling, that fall is just around the bend in the road.

Peter answered and said to Him, “Even if all are made to stumble because of You, I will never be made to stumble.” Matthew 26:33

“but Peter had to wait outside at the door. The other disciple, who was known to the high priest, came back, spoke to the servant girl on duty there and brought Peter in. “You aren’t one of this man’s disciples too, are you?” she asked Peter.

He replied, “I am not.”’ John 18:16-17

Peter professes that he will never stumble in Matthew 26. Yet when we read John 18, what do we find? Peter denies that he is a disciple of Christ.

Peter has failed miserably! Is this the end of Simon Peter and any hope of continuing on as an apostle or even as a disciple? Read on:

Jesus Restores Peter

15 So when they had eaten breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon, son of Jonah,[a] do you love Me more than these?”

He said to Him, “Yes, Lord; You know that I love You.”

He said to him, “Feed My lambs.”

16 He said to him again a second time, “Simon, son of Jonah,[b] do you love Me?”

He said to Him, “Yes, Lord; You know that I love You.”

He said to him, “Tend My sheep.”

17 He said to him the third time, “Simon, son of Jonah,[c] do you love Me?” Peter was grieved because He said to him the third time, “Do you love Me?”

And he said to Him, “Lord, You know all things; You know that I love You.” Jesus said to him, “Feed My sheep. 18 Most assuredly, I say to you, when you were younger, you girded yourself and walked where you wished; but when you are old, you will stretch out your hands, and another will gird you and carry you where you do not wish.” 19 This He spoke, signifying by what death he would glorify God. And when He had spoken this, He said to him, “Follow Me.” John 21:15-19

Beloved, Easter is more than the miracle of our Lord – “risen indeed” – more than a new relationship with God the Father via that sacrifice on the cross – more than a means of forgiveness for our sins – it is also a message of RESTORATION.

Do you love Jesus? ……. Long silence

Do you love Jesus? ……….. more silence

Do you love Jesus?............. If you truly love Jesus, you must also love your fellow man. If Jesus can forgive betrayal of a trusted follower, can we not forgive the betrayals, the slights and the hurts that seem to surface more so at festive gatherings?

Now forgiving must be sincere and final – never to surface again. Otherwise it is not true forgiveness. It is not a matter of words spoken, it is a matter of a change of heart.

BUT, it doesn’t end there. Following the forgiveness is the matter of restoration.

Restoration means ‘just as it was’. Can you embrace a forgiven relative, friend, co-worker, neighbor, worst enemy? Can you? Jesus did, and He expects us to.

Let us pray -

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