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Sunday, June 16, 2024

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Speaking in the Light 4.12.2006

By Rick Racela

It’s Wednesday, but Sunday is coming and Easter is on its way!  And the message of Easter is that we don’t have to be afraid of the grave any longer.
We know that because of what Jesus did, there are now two sets of tracks on the way into the tomb.  Yes, he went in on Good Friday.  But, make no mistake that he also came out on Easter Sunday! And if you stick with him, there is no cemetery in this universe that can contain you anymore. Because if you go into death trusting the Lord, you can be sure that Jesus will carry you right out of the tomb with him!
Here are the words of Jesus that you need to hear today.  In John 14:19, Jesus said, “Before long the world will not see me anymore, but you will see me.  Because I live, you also will live…”  While we can’t deny that on Good Friday Jesus was crucified, it wasn’t the end.  It actually was the end of the beginning.
Jesus did die on the cross of Calvary. And Jesus was buried after his death. And for a little time, the world did not see him. It appeared to the human eye that only one set of tracks were going into that tomb.
And it still amazes me that some people believe those wild and wooly old wives tales that float around concerning the death of Jesus. There is still the “Swoon Theory” that teaches that when Jesus went into the tomb, he wasn’t really dead. He was just in a heavy coma.  And when he was in the coolness of the dark, he was revitalized to such the point that he got up, ripped off his grave clothes and then found the strength to single handedly move that big boulder blocking his way!
One lady once wrote Billy Graham the following letter:
“Dear Rev. Graham, Our preacher said that on Easter, Jesus just swooned on the cross and his disciples nursed him back to health… What do you think? Sincerely, Bewildered…”
Billy Graham wrote back the following:  “Dear Bewildered, Here is what I want you to do.  Beat your preacher with a cat of nine tails with 39 heavy strokes, nail him to a cross, hang him in the hot sun for six hours, run a spear through his side and put him in an airless tomb for 36 hours and see what happens…  Sincerely, Billy…”
You get the point! For a period of time it did appear that Jesus had left the building to never return again. It looked like all was lost. But remember his last words! Always remember his last words!
It is funny that you can learn a lot about a person when you hear what their last words were. P.T. Barnum’s last words were, “How were the receipts today at Madison Square Garden?”
Winston Churchill cried out, “I’m bored with it all!” Humphrey Bogart said, “I should have switched from scotch to martinis…”
Oscar Wilde said, “Either that wallpaper goes or I do.”
Jesus promised, “If I go away, I will come back and take you to be with me that you may also be where I am (John 14:3)…”  And history proves that he meant what he said, for make no mistake, on Easter Sunday, Christ lives!!!”
Don’t stop your journey this holiday at the cross. Don’t end the pilgrimage with defeat and despair. Make your way, all the way, to the empty tomb!
Every year, thousands of people climb a mountain in the Italian Alps, passing the “Stations of the Cross” so that they may get to stand at a beautiful outdoor Crucifix.
Recently, one curious tourist noticed a little trail that led beyond the cross. He fought through the rough thicket and to his surprise, came upon another wonderful spot.  It was a place that symbolized the “Empty Tomb.” It was neglected and the brush had grown up around it because almost everybody had gone as far as the cross and stopped there! 
Far too many have experienced their own personal cross and have known far too well the despair and heartbreak of losing someone you have loved. Far too few have moved beyond the cross to find the real message of Easter and that is because Jesus lives- death does not have to have the final say in our lives.
Our hope is not built upon what we see but on what God says and he is the genuine author of the real way, the truth and the life. Easter shouts to us that not only did Jesus die for us, but he also lives for us that we may live the rest of forever for him and with him and that my friend is what real living is all about!
No tears today!  Yes it is Wednesday, but Easter Sunday is coming, and if Jesus could rise from the dead, then why not get out of bed this weekend and learn what all the hoopla is truly about?
This Easter, don’t just cross your fingers. There is a more reliable cross to believe in and that one has nothing to do with luck, but everything to do with faith and taking Jesus at his word.
God is there for you when you need him most and no crossed fingers or lucky charms are required. You just need to surrender your heart to the only one who has had prior experience of not only dying for you- but kicking the doors off of death’s dungeon so that we may live with him forever, if we will only believe.  I believe!  How about you?
Come celebrate Easter with Pastor Rudy at The Lighthouse Church with Services on Good Friday at 7 p.m., Saturday at 6 p.m., Easter Sunday Sunrise at 6:30 a.m. and 9 and 10:30 a.m.  Call 465-6690 for directions and locations.
       

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