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Sunday, March 27, 2016

What if He Didn't Rise?

Last week I saw a man in a wheel chair. He had no feet. I paused for a moment to gaze at his sullen face and wonder. What if I were him? Who would I be if my legs suddenly ended in mid-shin and I couldn't walk? What if my feet were gone....

What if Jesus didn't rise? What if He was crucified, died and was buried--the end? What if the women anointed his dead body in the tomb? What if the disciples returned home? Would that impact you? Would it feel like your feet were cut off?

Ironically, there is a connection in the Bible between the Gospel and feet. Isaiah 52:7 ("How beautiful on the mountain top are the feet of those who bring Good News!") is quoted by Paul in Romans 10:15 when he writes about announcing the Good News.  In Ephesians 6 ("armor of God") says to "bind up your feet in preparation of the Gospel of Peace." Feet and Gospel proclamation are connected. The Greek word kyrusso means to announce important information publicly. The resurrection of Jesus is the most important information in history. God declares Jesus is the Messiah! He has visited His people with salvation. 

So let's ponder:
What if Jesus did not rise from the dead? What would that mean? It is really not an expected outcome. No Jew expected Jesus to rise, especially not the apostles! As Psalm 88:11-12 asks, "Do you work wonders for the dead? Will your loving kindness be declared in the grave? Your faithfulness in the land of destruction?" Ancient people feared death because dead people stayed dead.

So if Jesus didn't rise, then he was just one more failed Messiah. But History would be different. We would be pagans. There wouldn't be a church or many of the institutions we take for granted. The world would be much bleaker.  There would be no need to announce the Gospel because there would be no good news.

But Good News, Jesus did rise. God has made Him Lord and Savior. In His life, death and resurrection our sins are forgiven and death has been defeated. The Kingdom of God really is near, and we have every reason for hope it will come.

After the crucifixion, the women went to anoint a dead body and the apostles hid. No hope! No expectation! To see Jesus in resurrected form changed their lives. It can change ours too if we open our hearts to the Holy Spirit. They stopped hiding and boldly proclaimed it. They spoke out even at the cost of their own lives. Why? Because the resurrection of Jesus took away the fear of death. The Father loves us, forgives our sin, heals, reconciles and restores us! God put feet on them; feet that carry Good News.

We do not need to look anywhere else to find our heart's desire. Jesus who suffered and died is resurrected. Our Heavenly Father wants to put feet on all of us. He wants to give us feet to go tell the world, "He is risen. Fear not! Trust Him! God's Kingdom is real, mercy is real, forgiveness is real, and love are real. Life in Jesus is stronger than death." And telling other people--verbalizing it--will be a blessing to you. Your faith will grow. You will find deeper peace

If Jesus died and didn't rise then there is nothing to say.
But Jesus did rise then it is disobedient and silly to stay silent. He did rise and so we need tell someone. Tell lots of someones. To tell the world! That is why God gave you feet!

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