Gary Thomas, Christian Times, October 3, 1994, p. 26.
From The Connections:
The eternal hope of the gardener
His life was a never-ending winter of depression. His heart had been broken too many times; his last few dreams finally died in defeat and disappointment. He would leave his house only to go teach his classes or see his doctor, but his real life was lived under a blanket in his dark bedroom.
Then, one day, he was drawn to his empty yard and felt the urge to dig. He turned over spade after spade of dirt until he had cleared a small plot. He planted a few seeds and managed to find the energy to water and fertilize and weed. Soon he picked his first small basket of tomatoes and beans. He now had reason to get out of bed. He was a gardener.
That was a few years ago. As he looks back, he wonders what he could have done if only he had gotten up out of bed and put on his shoes: He could have built a boat. He could have written a book. He could have planted a garden.
Now, each winter, as the snows rage, he spends hours at his kitchen table planning the next year’s garden. On a large piece of paper he marks the rows: carrots here, potatoes there, beans in that section, tomato plants and corn on the edges. Maybe something different — kale or spinach? Would this be the year he would attempt a watermelon vine? He eagerly looks forward to the new the seed catalogue each year; he devours gardening books and is constantly checking out horticultural websites looking for new ways to make next season’s garden greener and more productive.
While the world around him is entombed in winter, he lives in the never-disappointing hope of spring, looking forward to digging in his garden and gathering the bounty of the harvest.
[Suggested by “The Garden” by Richard Jones, Spirituality & Heath, March-April 2011.]
As Jesus called out to Lazarus to be untied from the wrappings of the dead and to be free to live once again, so we are called to be free from those things that keep us too busy from loving and being loved.
Resurrection is an attitude, a perspective that finds hope in the hardest times and uncovers life among the ruined, that reveals light in the darkest night. To each one of us belongs Jesus’ work of resurrection at Lazarus’s tomb: to help others free themselves from their tombs of dark hopelessness and the fear and sadness that bind them. (From the Connections)
Well over three hundred verses are concerned with the subject of Jesus' resurrection in the New Testament. We are told that this event is a sign for unbelievers (Matthew 12:38-40); cf. John 20:24-29) as well as the answer for the believer's doubt (Luke 24:38-43). It serves as the guarantee that Jesus' teachings are true (Acts 2:22-24; 1 Corrinthians 15:12-20) and is the center of the gospel itself (Romans 4:24-25, 10:9; 1 Corrinthians 15:1-4). Further, the resurrection is the impetus for evangelism (Matt. 28:18-20; Acts 10:39-43), the key indication of the believer's daily power to live the Christian life (Rom. 6:4-14, 8:9-11; Phil. 3:10) and the reason for the total commitment of our lives (Rom. 7:4; 1 Cor. 15:57-58). The resurrection even addresses the fear of death (John 11:25; 1 Cor. 15:54-58; cf. Hebrews 2:14-15) and is related to the second coming of Jesus (Acts 1:11; Revelation 1:7). Lastly, this event is a model of the Christian's resurrection from the dead (Acts 4:2; 1 Cor. 6:14; 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18) and provides a foretaste of heaven for the believer (Philippians 3:20-21; 1 Peter 1:3-5). For a popular treatment that addresses these and other aspects, see Gary R. Habermas, The Centrality of the Resurrection.
Gary R. Habermas & J.P. Moreland, Immortality - The Other Side of Death, Thomas Nelson Publishers, 1992, p. 245.
In one of his lighter moments, Benjamin Franklin penned his own epitaph. He didn't profess to be a born-again Christian, but it seems he must have been influenced by Paul's teaching of the resurrection of the body. Here's what he wrote: The Body of B. Franklin, Printer Like the Cover of an old Book Its contents torn out, And stript of its Lettering and Guilding, Lies here, Food for Worms, But the Work shall not be wholly lost: For it will, as he believ'd, Appear once more In a new & more perfect Edition, Corrected and amended by the Author.
Little Philip, born with Down's syndrome, attended a third-grade Sunday School class with several eight-year-old boys and girls. Typical of that age, the children did not readily accept Philip with his differences, according to an article in leadership magazine. But because of a creative teacher, they began to care about Philip and accept him as part of the group, though not fully.
The Sunday after Easter the teacher brought L'eggs pantyhose containers, the kind that look like large eggs. Each receiving one, the children were told to go outside on that lovely spring day, find some symbol for new life, and put it in the egg-like container. Back in the classroom, they would share their new-life symbols, opening the containers one by one in surprise fashion. After running about the church property in wild confusion, the students returned to the classroom and placed the containers on the table. Surrounded by the children, the teacher began to open them one by one. After each one, whether a flower, butterfly, or leaf, the class would ooh and ahh.
Then one was opened, revealing nothing inside. The children exclaimed, That's stupid. That's not fair. Somebody didn't do their assignment."
Philip spoke up, "That's mine."
"Philip, you don't ever do things right!" the student retorted. "There's nothing there!"
"I did so do it," Philip insisted. "I did do it. It's empty. the tomb was empty!"
Silence followed. From then on Philip became a full member of the class. He died not long afterward from an infection most normal children would have shrugged off. At the funeral this class of eight-year-olds marched up to the altar not with flowers, but with their Sunday school teacher, each to lay on it an empty pantyhose egg.
The home of Paul Laurence Dunbar, noted poet, is open to the public in Dayton, Ohio. When Dunbar died, his mother left his room exactly as it was on the day of his death. At the desk of this brilliant man was his final poem, handwritten on a pad.After his mother died, her friends discovered that Paul Laurence Dunbar's last poem had been lost forever. Because his mother had made his room into a shrine and not moved anything, the sun had bleached the ink in which the poem was written until it was invisible. The poem was gone.
If we stay in mourning, we lose so much of life.
Henry Simon, Belleville, Illinois.
Why We Believe Jesus Rose from the Dead:
If Jesus did not rise from the dead, the Christian faith is a foolish fantasy. However, if the resurrection of Christ did occur, it confirms His life, message, and atoning work. It is the basis of our hope of life beyond the grave. Christ is alive, and the evidence is overwhelming. Here are some of the reasons we can be so sure.
1. Jesus predicted His resurrection (Matt 16:21; Mark 9:9-10; John 2:18-22).
2. The Old Testament prophesied it (Psalm 16:10; compare Acts 2:25-31; 13:33-37).
3. The tomb was empty and the grave clothes vacant. if those who opposed Christ wished to silence His disciples, all they had to do was produce a body, but they could not (John 20:3-9).
4. Many people saw the resurrected Christ. They looked on His face, touched Him, heard His voice, and saw Him eat (Matt. 28:16-20; Luke 24:13-39; John 20:11-29; John 21:1-9; Acts 1:6-11; 1 Cor. 15:3-8).
5. The lives of the disciples were revolutionized. Though they fled and even denied Christ at the time of His arrest, they later feared no one in their proclamation of the risen Christ (Matt 26:56, 69-75).6. The resurrection was the central message of the early church. The church grew with an unwavering conviction that Christ had risen and was the Lord of the church (Acts 4:33; 5:30-32; Rom. 5:24).
6. Men and women today testify that the power of the risen Christ has transformed their lives. We know that Jesus is alive not only because of the historical and biblical evidence but also because He has miraculously touched our lives.
Kurt E. DeHaan.
Order of the Events of the Resurrection
Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James, and Salome start for the tomb, Lk 23:55-24:1
They find the stone rolled away, Lk 24:2-9
Mary Magdalene goes to tell the disciples, Jn 20:1-2
Mary, the mother of James, draws near and sees the angel, Mt 28:1-2
She goes back to meet the other women following with spices
Meanwhile Peter and John arrive, look in and depart, Jn 20:3-10
Mary Magdalene returns weeping, sees two angels, then Jesus, Jn 20:11-18
The risen Christ bids her tell the disciples, Jn 20:17-18
Mary (mother of James) meanwhile returns with the women, Lk 24:1-4
They return and see the two angels, Lk 24:5; Mk 16:5
They also hear the angel's message, Mt 28:6-8
On their way to find the disciples, they are met by the risen Christ, Mt 28:9-10
To Mary Magdalene Jn 20:14-18; Mk 16:9
To the women returning from the tomb Mt 28:8-10
To Peter later in the day Lk 24:34; 1 Cor 15:5
To the disciples going to Emmaus in the evening Lk 24:13-31
To the apostles (except Thomas) Lk 24:36-45; Jn 20-19-24
To the apostles a week later (Thomas present) Jn 20:24-29
In Galilee to the seven by the Lake of Tiberias Jn 21:1-23
In Galilee on a mountain to the apostles and 500 believers 1 Cor 15:6
At Jerusalem and Bethany again to James 1 Cor 15:7
At Olivet and the ascension Acts 1:3-12
To Paul near Damascus Acts 9:3-6; 1 Cor 15:8
To Stephen outside Jerusalem Acts 7:55
To Paul in the temple Acts 22:17-21; 23:11
To John on Patmos Rev 1:10-19
Merril F. Unger, The New Unger's Bible Handbook, Revised by Gary N. Larson, Moody Press, Chicago, 1984, pp. 397-398.
The day of resurrection?
Earth, tell it out abroad;
The Passover of gladness,
The Passover of God.
From death to life eternal,
From this world to the sky,
Our Christ hath brought us over
With hymns of victory.
Now let the heavens be joyful,
Let earth her song begin;
Let the round world keep triumph,
And all that is therein;
Let all things seen and unseen
Their notes in gladness blend,
For Christ the Lord hath risen,
Our Joy that hath no end.John of Damascus.