The risen Savior speaks to us
During the recent season of Lent and Good Friday, many of us would have meditated on one or more of the Savior’s seven sayings which he uttered while on the cross. His words offer hope even to the chief of sinners, such as his prayer for those who drove the nails through his hands and feet: “Father, forgive them ...” and his assurance to the dying thief who repented: “Today you will be with me in paradise.” Really? Paradise instead of hell? Yes!
It’s also helpful to think on things that Jesus said after the Easter moment when he rose in triumph from being dead. Let me remind you of three things that the risen Jesus said.
First, several times after Easter Jesus said, “Peace be with you.” There’s more to this than a polite, nice greeting. In the Bible, peace/shalom refers to completeness. It’s like when a jigsaw puzzle is put together, with no pieces missing. The picture is the way it’s supposed to be. Next time you complete a puzzle, you could bless it, saying “Shalom!”
Jesus wants us to know that he has made peace for us with God. And when he comes again to make all things new, all will be peace! We’re looking forward to that. And in the meantime, we hear his call to be peacemakers in life’s relationships. Are there missing pieces in your relationships? Is there something you can do to make things right? Pray about it. I’m sure the one who said, “Peace be with you” will help you.
Second, the risen Jesus said, “It is I, myself.” Jesus said this to friends who knew him well, but who found it difficult to believe that he had risen from the dead. See Luke 24:39. Do you blame them? Sure, Jesus had said he would rise again. But to actually do so, after being tortured and killed – 100 percent dead? That was a stretch.
I’m glad Jesus proved to the disciples that he’s alive, and that they wrote down their eyewitness testimony so we have access to those proofs. For example, more than once the risen Jesus did something physical –something we do several times a day. He took some food (cooked fish) and he ate it! That’s not the sort of thing a spirit would do. It’s not what the figment of someone’s imagine would do. But it’s what Jesus did, along with showing his friends his nail-scarred, resurrected hands and feet. And he spoke! That’s physical too! “It is I, myself.”
Finally, Jesus said, “I’m sending you ...” We find this in each of the four Gospels and in Acts, chapter 1. Jesus sent His disciples to be his witnesses nearby and in time throughout the earth. Think of witnesses who testify in court. They say what they know to be true. So we are called to say/write what we know is true! We do this, not to beat people down, but to give them an opportunity to hear and believe the Good News.
Lies have the power to enslave. Think of the lies Satan told Adam and Eve when he tempted them. But the truth is more powerful. Jesus said, “You will know the truth and the truth will set you free ...” (John 8:32). So let us not be ashamed of the Gospel. It is the power of God that saves everyone who believes. (Romans 1:16)
Do you want to know more? Any pastor in any of our churches would love to share the way of God’s truth with you! Peace be with you all.