Monday Meditation – After Easter Fear or Joy?

After Easter

The ending of the gospel of Mark is filled with fear.  So much so that it can baffle us with its lack of a happy ending.  Hence why some have tried to add a happy ending to the gospel which was not there in its earliest renditions.

Mark ends abruptly with Jesus’ death and the two women coming to an empty tomb.  We, like the women, can be afraid to accept the testimony of the young man who gives instructions for what it is to follow Jesus now that the tomb is empty.

Our fear can rob us of the greatest joy – seeing Jesus again.  Not in heaven or Jerusalem, but back in Galilee, where it all began, at the beginning of His ministry.

It is there that we can begin our own ministry based on Jesus’ ministry with His presence in our midst.

That alone should fill us with joy not fear!

He is risen!

He is risen indeed!

Hallelujah!

Lahore, Pakistan

 

Lahore, Pakistan

In Lahore Pakistan, a suicide bomber blew up a park that was crowded with families. At least 69 people have been killed and scores injured.

Some went to the park with family and friends to celebrate Easter. They had a boldness of faith that led them to witness for their risen Savior, in a land where they are only 1.6% of the population. They have no safe sanctuary, but they worship Jesus in the midst of persecution and suicide attacks. Despite living in a country where bombs blast and mobs attack Christian villages, churches and hospitals regularly, these Christians still met together in public.

Read more

Meditation Monday: After Easter

Easter

Every Easter we are faced with the image of an empty tomb. Unlike the disciples we do not get the benefit of eating with the resurrected Jesus or the reassurance from putting our fingers in His wounds.

That is why the gospel that tells us of an empty tomb can speak to us powerfully even today.

In Mark’s gospel we are left with an empty tomb, a reminder and good news!

Going into the tomb, they saw a young man in a white robe seated on the right side; and they were startled. But he said to them, “Don’t be alarmed! You are looking for Jesus of Nazareth, who was crucified. He has been raised. He isn’t here. Look, here’s the place where they laid him. Go, tell his disciples, especially Peter, that he is going ahead of you into Galilee. You will see him there, just as he told you.” Overcome with terror and dread, they fled from the tomb. They said nothing to anyone, because they were afraid. Mark 16: 5-8 (CEB)

Jesus has not remained in Jerusalem. He has gone ahead to Galilee and He waits for his disciples and us there. Why has He gone back to where His ministry began? Wanting us to follow in His footsteps He has gone back to the beginning so that we might start there with our own ministry.

The resurrection is not only the reward but it is the opening of our hearts and minds to the ministry we only knew in part as we traveled with Jesus. In Mark, the disciples are constantly trying to figure out what Jesus is doing with His preaching and His actions. Now they must do. As we do now.

What will be our reaction? Will we be like those who flee without telling anyone where Jesus is as well as not joining Him ourselves? Now let’s return to the start of this devotion and now read the story as ours and a template of what we should be doing in our ministries now that Easter is over.

It is the day after Easter and Jesus waits for us in Galilee at the beginning of the journey. What is our choice?

Holy God, we thank You for supplying us with a place in Your Word. You have called us to do extraordinary feats, but You have not left us alone in doing them. Thank you for showing us the Way. Amen.

Meditation Monday: Holy Week

Holy Week

In the gospel of Mark, the seven days of Holy Week are full of intrigue and suspense, political theater and cover operations. The path to the resurrection is not a simple one. It is sought after and prepared for by Jesus and His disciples. It is executed with stealth at times and cunning at other times.

Everything Jesus does during Holy Week points Him in the direction of the cross. Yet he does not hesitate to teach, call out, condemn and prophesize on matters that anger the power elites and amaze those who hear Him.

Mark’s Jesus drives the money changers out of the temple. He teaches against the leading religious authorities. Under cover of darkness he participates in the Passover meal transforming it into a remembrance of him.

Only once does he waver on his path in the place called Gethsemane. Yet still in the end, He fulfills God’s plan.

What will we do this Holy Week? Do we have a path to the resurrection? Are we remaining true to it? Are we being deliberate about it as Jesus was to His? If not, how can we try to do so?

Dear God show us Your path to our resurrection. We know that along the way we may pass through the cross, but we are faithful to believe that You are there with us through Jesus Christ. Amen.