Jesus and John

Thursday April 20

John 20

Then the other disciple, who had arrived first at the tomb, went into the tomb as well. He saw, and he believed. They did not yet know, you see, that the Bible had said he must rise again from the dead. 

John, the other disciple follows Peter into the tomb. Then suddenly it dawns on him. It is ridiculous to think someone would go to all the trouble to unwrap Jesus and take his body. There is so much more to it than that.

And then the warm glow of faith starts coursing through his veins. Could it be? Could Jesus be who he said he was??

Then we hear every teacher’s dilemma when it comes to Jesus.

They did not yet know, you see, that the Bible had said he must rise again from the dead. 

Right? Jesus only told them 100 times.

But it’s true, you can say things over and over again and give logical and potent reasons why Jesus is the Messiah, why he is the Lord, it takes choices coming from the heart, not just the head, to come to a living faith. The good news of Jesus is so clear, and at the same time, we are immersed in the mystery.

ME

When was an important time in your life Jesus gave you new insight?

empty-tomb-he-qi2

John 20

So Peter and the other disciple set off and went to the tomb. Both of them ran together. The other disciple ran faster than Peter, and got to the tomb first. He stooped down and saw the linen cloths lying there, but he didn’t go in. Then Simon Peter came up, following him, and went into the tomb. He saw the linen cloths lying there, and the napkin that had been around his head, not lying with the other cloths, but folded up in a place by itself. 

The running continues. When have we seen running before? The shepherds run to tell all the people that Jesus was born! The loving father runs to his son who had gone away, the Prodigal, and embraces him as he welcomes him home.

But, this running is excitement mixed with terror and confusion. What is happening??

We are told the younger disciple arrives first because he is faster. I don’t know. I know some pretty fast old guys…

Anyway, sure enough, the tomb is open and empty. And here’s what’s strange. There are linen burial cloths lying there. Someone has first unwrapped the body and laid the cloths out in the shape of the body.

Peter finally gets there out of breath, but in his usual boldness, nudges the other disciple aside and he goes into the tomb. And he discovers that the cloth that wraps Jesus’ head, isn’t with the others. It’s in a place by itself. In fact, it looks like the body wasn’t unwrapped at all. It looks like the body has simply disappeared neatly leaving the cloths behind. What is the world? Yes, what in the world. The new world.

ME

Think of other cloths in the story of Jesus.

he qi easter morn

John 20

So she ran off, and went to Simon Peter, and to the other disciple, the one Jesus loved. ‘They’ve taken the master out of the tomb!’ she said. ‘We don’t know where they’ve put him!’

Someone has taken him away!

She starts sprinting back to the city. She goes to Peter and the other disciple who was with her at the cross. The one who Jesus especially loved. The author of this book.

“They have taken him away!”

Who has taken Jesus away?

“They.” We don’t know exactly who “they” is, but it is ironic that “they” are still trying to take Jesus away. In my lifetime.

Communist dictators have tried to take Jesus away. Relativist professors on just about every university campus in America try to take him away. And then there are others. This very week, once again, Christians are slaughtered, worshiping on Palm Sunday, blowing them up in the name of Allah, ironically in the land where Jesus had escaped violence long ago. Egypt.

But, whether “they” are trying to amass power and hold in distain “the opiate of the masses,” or “they” are using irrational, frivolous and naiive teaching, barely holding their contempt, or “they” are filled with demonic evil in the name of their religion, this will not stand. No matter how hard “they” try. “They” will not take Jesus away!

The master is still the master. He is God and you don’t stop God.

ME

A religion that advocates loving your neighbor, no matter who they are…loving your enemies and never seeking revenge…a religion that worships a God who cherishes all people with true equality…Hmmm

01573b8e83d12019bf7b490bf6886811John 20

On the first day of the week, very early, Mary Magdalene came to the tomb while it was still dark. She saw that the stone had been rolled away from the tomb.

Here we go again.

Genesis 1

In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. The earth was formless and empty, and darkness covered the deep waters. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the surface of the waters.

Then God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light. And God saw that the light was good. Then he separated the light from the darkness. God called the light “day” and the darkness “night.”

And evening passed and morning came, marking the first day.

(with insights by N.T. Wright)

In the beginning is chaos. The void. Then the Holy Spirit breaks in and brings light and life. Fast forward to the sixth day when humans are created. Except this time the ultimate human, breaks into creation.

John 1

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God…

Who is this Word?

None other than Jesus.

…The Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we saw His glory, the glory as the only Son of the Father, full of grace and truth.

The flesh speaks and brings light and life and Creation is complete. The sixth day and God saw all he had made and it was very good.

But then the flesh dies and chaos reigns again…And darkness descends upon creation as he is buried in a tomb beginning a long sabbath rest.

Now, in the middle of darkness, the first day of the week. The new week. The new creation. The eighth day, we can call it.

Or the first…

Mary Magdalene and the other women come to the tomb. We don’t know why exactly. Perhaps they will add more burial spices. Or maybe it is just a chance to weep and mourn and think about what could have been.

The tomb is open. What in the world does that mean? Mary stoops down and the chaos breeds more chaos.

ME

What does the new creation mean to you?

“I thank God for all who made this Holy Week and Easter a tribute to our Lord, Jesus Christ. The thoughtfulness of using your gifts and generosity for preparation, cleaning, serving, assisting at worship, and being models of a joyful people is much appreciated. Have a blessed celebration of the Feast of the Resurrection of the Lord!”

With Joy,

Pastor Dana

Easter Breakfast setup team break

Easter Breakfast setup team break

Easter 2017 Altar

Easter 2017 Altar

Getting ready for Easter worship 2017

Getting ready for Easter worship 2017

DSC03466

He is risen!

He is risen!

Easter 2017 children's time

Easter 2017 children’s time

Easter hosts for 2017

Easter hosts for 2017

Noah Soto and Clive Gompert receive their First Communion on Maundy Thursday 2017

Noah Soto and Clive Gompert receive their First Communion on Maundy Thursday 2017

Monday April 4- End Time

Mark 16:8

They went out quickly and fled from the tomb, for they tremble and were amazed. And they said nothing to anyone, for they were afraid.

Well we have arrived at the end of the Gospel of Mark. We have spent over a year going verse by verse through this amazing book and here we are, the final chapter.

Here is the original ending of the oldest manuscripts available. Mark ends at verse 8.

They went out quickly and fled from the tomb, for they tremble and were amazed. And they said nothing to anyone, for they were afraid.

Now, this is strange. In the original Greek language, the last word is a conjunction. gar. As in “For”

“…afraid for.”

The New Testament is originally written in Greek. In ancient Greek, there is no punctuation, no chapter numbering and no verses.  The people who would later copy the early manuscripts would add the structures we are familiar with. So when we see the end of the Gospel of Mark end in a conjunction, an interesting mystery introduced.

I think the best evidence is the last page of the Mark manuscript is missing or is damaged. Actually in paperback books, especially, this still happens. Last pages go missing over time.

So, what happened to later versions of the Gospel of Mark?

First of all, it appears when later copyists copied the book, they are not comfortable with the abrupt ending. What they write is included in the Gospel in later manuscripts. It looks like different copyists added different material.

Some later manuscripts have a short ending added to the original. It sounds very formal and more of a summary statement. It doesn’t sound like Mark at all.

They gave a brief account to the people around Peter of what they had been told. After this, Jesus himself sent out from east to west, through their work, the sacred and imperishable proclamation of eternal salvation. Amen.

Then there is a longer ending, Mark 16:9-20, which appears to take highlights from Matthew and Luke which are written later than Mark, and added back to Mark.

Now before these later manuscripts are used, the earliest ones would have eyewitnesses of the resurrected Jesus in attendance at the reading of the book. People who are there could have finished telling what happened with their own accounts.

This can happen just as well to us. If we are left with the empty tomb and the words of the angel, how do we react?

We notice in all these endings there is an emphasis in the earliest followers having a hard time believing what just happened. But, what they do afterward is clear. They move from doubt to belief quickly and in a remarkably short time, the earliest Christian movement goes viral into most of the known world. And they didn’t even have Facebook or Instagram! Word of mouth, letters and books.

Me

All four gospels have eyewitness sources, though not the same people. Do you expect them to say the same exact thing? What do you expect?

Friday April 1- This Is Not a Movie

Mark 15

They went out quickly and fled from the tomb, for they trembled and were amazed. And they said nothing to anyone, for they were afraid.

Here is another strange thing. The best manuscripts of the Gospel of Mark end just this way. Abruptly.

This is it. The women see the angel, the empty tomb and then they freak out.

The end…

It is no wonder there are other endings to the Gospel added. Like alternative endings you find in DVD’s of popular movies, there are two other endings recorded in Mark.

So, is this all just a story? A screenplay? Hardly.

The best evidence is that the last pages of Mark are lost. Seriously, just torn out or ruined. The later translators add endings that match what is already in the other Gospels. But, I like to think of Mark’s ending just like this.

And they said nothing to anyone, for they were afraid.

Doesn’t that sound like most Christians?

Afraid to talk about our faith because we don’t want to offend anyone. Afraid to talk about Jesus because we don’t want to be asked any hard theological questions. Afraid to share the good news because that means we actually have to live like someone who acts like Jesus. Loving and caring, especially to people we might not want to hang with at all.

It’s as if we are trying to keep Jesus in the tomb. That’s right. He is risen, but we don’t let him out.

If we would simply share the unbelievable joy we receive from Jesus with those around us, the world will change. If we will simply share the story of Jesus with those who are receptive to hearing it, our lives will be overflowing with blessing no matter what is happening around us.

What does it mean to you that Jesus is alive and he rules the world with love and forgiveness? What does it mean to follow a God who says don’t take vengeance, forgive those who wrong you, and help those in need?

This is not a fairy tale. It is the most reasonable and loving thing you can possible do. Share Jesus with others.

Me

Who do you know who could really use Jesus in their life right now? Start praying for them daily and see what happens.