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THE FIRST WITNESS OF THE RESURRECTION: John 20:1-18
By Ted Schroder,
April 20, 2014
The first person to see Jesus after the resurrection according to John’s Gospel was a most unlikely candidate. Her name was Mary Magdalene or Mary of Magdala, a town in Galilee. Why does she feature so prominently in the account of the resurrection? In those times women could not testify in courts.
“In a patriarchal culture a woman’s testimony was considered unreliable and so inadmissible as evidence. This means that if you were fabricating an account of the resurrection in order to promote your religion or your movement, you would never make a woman the first eyewitness. And yet, in the accounts of all four gospels the first eyewitnesses are women. The only historically plausible answer to why women are in the account at all – why the men who wrote these accounts would put women in when their testimony was considered unreliable – is because it must have happened. Mary must have been there. She must have seen Jesus Christ first. There’s no other motive or reason for the author to say she was.” (Timothy Keller, Encounters with Jesus, p.94)
THE COST OF SALVATION: Matthew 26:36-38
By Ted Schroder
April 13, 2014
Every Memorial Day we remember the cost of our freedom in the lives of all those who paid the supreme sacrifice for our country. Every war has its cost. Millions have laid down their lives to defend our way of life and to defeat tyrannies. We erect monuments, war memorials, to the fallen. Everything that we value has its cost. Shame on us if we forget or take for granted what we owe to those who have protected us and saved us from our enemies.
Take this sentiment and magnify it a trillion times and we will begin to appreciate the cost of our salvation. In Holy Week we remember what our salvation cost the Son of God. Forgiveness, reconciliation, redemption cannot be achieved on the cheap. Eternal life was purchased at great cost so that it might be freely given to us. Divine love is sacrificial love. How can we count the cost to Jesus? How did he express what it cost him?
THROUGH CLOSED DOORS: John 20:19, 20
By Ted Schroder
APRIL 3, 2014
“On the evening of that first day of the week, when the disciples were together, with the doors locked for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood among them and said, ‘Peace be with you!’ After he said this, he showed them his hands and side. The disciples were overjoyed when they saw the Lord.” (John 20:19,20)
The first time the disciples, as a group, saw the Lord after he had risen from the dead, was in a room with doors closed and locked. In order for the Lord to get to them he had to come through those closed doors. It was only when he had penetrated the doors that he was able to liberate them from the prison of their own making. By coming to them through those closed doors Jesus brought to them the joy of his risen life.
At various stages in our lives we find ourselves in a room with doors closed and locked because of our fears. It is then that we crave the joy of the liberating presence of the risen Jesus.
By Bishop David Bryan
March 31, 2014
If I’m not saying it myself, I hear others expressing it often: a sense of being distant or disconnected from the Lord. You know what I’m talking about… spiritual blahs, indifference, no joy. Those in ministry can easily find themselves doing so much for the Lord, that He gets lost in the shuffle! How does this happen and what does one do about it? What does the season of Lent offer us on this journey?
First, we need to recognize that we often battle with a consumer mentality in our spiritual lives. We tend to think (incorrectly) that it is the church’s place to keep us vitally connected to the Source of life; a kind of vendor-consumer relationship. Or we depend on someone else’s spiritual vitality to spill over into us. However, there is in Scripture, a consistent engagement of the believer’s will that puts the responsibility squarely on each of us. No one else can do for you what only you can do. And this is one of those areas of life where this is true.
SALVATION: FROM HERE TO ETERNITY: Titus 3:4-8
By Ted Schroder,
March 30, 2014
Salvation is God’s action to save us, to rescue us, to deliver us from danger. What is the danger we are in? The Bible describes humanity as being in a state of separation from God who is love, and light, and goodness. This state is a form of spiritual death in this life. Each individual self is viewed as being at the mercy of a self-centered sinful nature, dominated by the standards of culture and society, and blinded by the spiritual forces of evil that oppose the work of God. We become afflicted by the fears and frustrations of which the contemporary world is too well aware (as reflected in our movies, novels, news reports and magazine articles), lack of meaning and purpose, absence of a sense of significance, a yearning for acceptance and loving relationships, and with our lives spoiled by bad habits which we are powerless to alter. These are the things from which all of us to varying degrees need to be saved. These are our deepest needs. And it is from these needs that God himself has come to save us. As an example of these needs, the 1953 movie From Here to Eternity, based on James Jones’ novel, won eight Oscars for portraying the jealousies, cruelties and violence of human relationships and war. The New Testament spells out how salvation comes to rescue us from here to eternity.
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