John 20:1-18 New International Version (NIV)
The Empty Tomb
20 Early on the first day of the week, while it was still dark, Mary Magdalene went to the tomb and saw that the stone had been removed from the entrance. 2 So she came running to Simon Peter and the other disciple, the one Jesus loved, and said, “They have taken the Lord out of the tomb, and we don’t know where they have put him!”
3 So Peter and the other disciple started for the tomb. 4 Both were running, but the other disciple outran Peter and reached the tomb first. 5 He bent over and looked in at the strips of linen lying there but did not go in. 6 Then Simon Peter came along behind him and went straight into the tomb. He saw the strips of linen lying there, 7 as well as the cloth that had been wrapped around Jesus’ head. The cloth was still lying in its place, separate from the linen. 8 Finally the other disciple, who had reached the tomb first, also went inside. He saw and believed. 9 (They still did not understand from Scripture that Jesus had to rise from the dead.) 10 Then the disciples went back to where they were staying.
Jesus Appears to Mary Magdalene
11 Now Mary stood outside the tomb crying. As she wept, she bent over to look into the tomb 12 and saw two angels in white, seated where Jesus’ body had been, one at the head and the other at the foot.
13 They asked her, “Woman, why are you crying?”
“They have taken my Lord away,” she said, “and I don’t know where they have put him.” 14 At this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing there, but she did not realize that it was Jesus.
15 He asked her, “Woman, why are you crying? Who is it you are looking for?”
Thinking he was the gardener, she said, “Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have put him, and I will get him.”
16 Jesus said to her, “Mary.”
She turned toward him and cried out in Aramaic, “Rabboni!” (which means “Teacher”).
17 Jesus said, “Do not hold on to me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father. Go instead to my brothers and tell them, ‘I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.’”
18 Mary Magdalene went to the disciples with the news: “I have seen the Lord!” And she told them that he had said these things to her.
Angel believed the lies the world told her. She felt worthless and ugly. Her life became a swirling mess of men, booze, and drugs until one day she cried out to God, “Kill me or save me. But don’t …
Isn’t it a beautiful thing to know that we have a real impartial High Priest in heaven, who is acting on our behalf? He pleads our cases equally, to the Father. And nobody has to worry that He might sell you out.
Jesus is our High Priest and defender, and although sometimes it seems He is not listening; the truth is, He is working hard to declare your case null and void and to redeem you of your trespasses.
So, my friends, though your valleys are deep and wide, and your hills and mountains are steep and rocky hang tight. Rest assured that our High Priest is doing the right thing for everyone.
“You shall love your neighbour as yourself” is a command from God. But most Christians struggle to obey it, and rightly so. How can we give up our prejudices and love our neighbour as we love ourselves? Humans are naturally programmed to favour self, family and friends over everybody else. Even Jesus had a disciple who the Bible referred to as the disciple whom Jesus loved.
Still, despite our prejudices, and our history. Everyone can be compassionate and helpful to people of different race, culture or class. And I firmly believe that’s the message Jesus intended to get across when He told the parable of The Good Samaritan (Read Luke 10:25-37).
So, my friends, it is time for a new mindset and a new way of thinking.
Don’t wait until the ark door is close before you surrender. I am sure none of you wants to hear the following words when you appeared before Jesus:
41 “Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. 42 For I was hungry, and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty, and you gave me nothing to drink. 43 I was a stranger, and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes, and you did not clothe me, I was ill and in prison, and you did not look after me.”
44 ‘They also will answer, “Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or ill or in prison, and did not help you?”
45 ‘He will reply, “Truly I tell you, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.”
46 ‘Then they will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life.” (Matthew 25:41-46).
Every person who has accepted Jesus as Lord and Savior pledged to follow Him for the rest of life. But many of us soon realize that Jesus doesn’t always take the smooth path to get to His next stop. Sometimes His journey takes Him through winding roads, hills, and valleys, peaks, and mountains. Other times He travels through thorns and thistle.
Thus, following Jesus comes with challenges, but you do not have to be a victim of your circumstances. Jesus never allowed His circumstances to get the better of Him. He carried out His father’s Will despite facing many challenges. And the beauty of it is, Jesus never faltered, or wavered. He kept His promise to the father until the end.
Likewise, you and I can keep our promise to follow Jesus. But first, we have to stay focus on the path His footsteps lead us. We cannot allow ourselves to get trapped with the sideshows. For as you know quite well, Jesus has encountered more that enough sideshows in His time. But He never allowed any of them to distract Him.
For example, in John 8:3-7 He gave us a perfect demonstration of how not get distracted by sideshows. “Then the scribes and Pharisees brought to Him a woman caught in adultery. And when they had set her in the midst, they said to Him, “Teacher, we found this woman committing adultery. Now Moses, in the law, commanded us that such offense is punishable by stoning. But what do You say?” They were hoping He would err, that they might have something of which to accuse Him. But Jesus stooped down and wrote on the ground with His finger, as though He did not hear.
So, they continue to press Him. Then He raised Himself up and said to them, “He who is without sin among you, let him throw the first stone at her.” That was all it took to silence those who seek to distract Jesus.
Some of us may not be able to do all the great works Jesus did, but we sure can replicate His examples for our benefits.
How often should I repent? Daily
Repentance is one of the most misunderstood processes in Christendom. Many Christians think it’s a one-time act or process. And once you have given your heart to the Lord, there is no reason to go through the process again, unless you have backslid. I disagree.
What is repentance?
According to the dictionary, repentance is a feeling of deep sorrow, compunction, or contrition for a past sin, or wrongdoing.
So, based on its definition, repentance is clearly not necessary if one has not sinned. But that is entirely impossible. For none of us can survive a day without sinning. There are undoubtedly many more opportunities for us to sin in one day than we imagined. And even though we have the option to choose good over evil, we often chose evil because of our sin nature. The Psalmist David said: “Behold, I have been shaped in iniquity; and in sin did my mother conceive me”, (Psalm 51:).
Therefore, repentance is a ritual; that we should do daily. Here is how David, a man after God’s own heart pleads for God’s forgiveness after he repented: Psalm 51 King James Version (KJV)