Dr. Ray Pritchard

Author, Speaker, President of Keep Believing Ministries

Come See Us This Summer!

This summer I’m speaking at five different Bible conferences in five different states. I hope you’ll consider coming to one of these conferences. Here’s my schedule:

May 23-26       Camp Forest Springs     
                        Westboro, WI (Memorial Day Weekend)

July 13-19       Word of Life Inn & Campground
                        Schroon Lake, NY

July 27-Aug 2  Mt. Hermon Conference Center
                       Near Santa Cruz, CA
(Dallas Seminary Week)

Aug 2-9          Cannon Beach Conference Center
                       Cannon Beach, OR

Aug 16-22      Maranatha Bible and Missionary Conference
                       Muskegon, MI

Click on the links for more information about how to reserve space. These weeks often sell out so take action now if you would like to join us this summer. All five conferences feature amazing scenery, deluxe accommodations, lots of activities for children and teenagers, great food, fellowship with Christians from around the nation, plenty of time to relax and enjoy yourself, plus uplifting times of worship and Bible teaching.

If you haven’t made your vacation plans yet, why not take a "vacation with a purpose” and join Marlene and me at one of these great Bible conferences this summer? We’d love to see you in Wisconsin or New York or California or Oregon or Michigan. 

Come see us this summer at a Bible conference near you!

You can reach the author at [email protected]. Click here to sign up for the free email sermon.

The Resurrection and the Life

“I am the resurrection and the life” (John 11:25).

Notice how personal this is.

Jesus doesn’t say, “I bring resurrection and life” but rather “I am the resurrection and the life.” In the presence of Jesus, death is no longer death. It is something else entirely. As Paul says later in the New Testament, death has now lost its sting, and the grave its victory.

How can that be? The answer seems to be that death has been transformed by Jesus himself. I remind you that our Lord often used the word “sleep” to describe death. When he saw Jairus’ daughter, he said, “The child is not dead but sleeping” (Mark 5:39). When he told the disciples that Lazarus was asleep (John 11:11), they were relieved because then they knew he would eventually wake up. Sleep is natural and normal, which is why no one calls the paramedics when you lie down to take a nap. The whole point of sleeping is to wake up later. Death for the believer is like lying down to a good long nap. The body may sleep a long time—for many years in fact—but in the end it will wake up. When Jesus raised Lazarus, it was just a specimen, a sample of what he will do for his people when he returns to the earth.

But it’s very personal with Jesus. The answer to death is not a resurrection. It’s Jesus himself. “I am the resurrection and the life.” No one can ever hope to escape death unless he is related to Jesus through personal faith.

Here’s something you may not have considered. Lazarus was raised from the dead only to die again later. Why did Jesus raise him? So that we would know that he could do it. After all, anyone could say “I am the resurrection and the life,” but only the Son of God could do what Jesus did. 

It’s Easter Sunday. What does this day mean? It means that through Jesus Christ you can be released from the fear of death. But there’s a question you must answer. It’s the question found at the end of verse 26. We generally overlook the question, but it’s the key to what Jesus said. When I’ve asked people to quote the passage, they always stop before the question. But if you skip the question, then you miss the whole point.

Here’s the question. “Do you believe this?” That’s the supreme question of Easter. In the end truth must always become personal. So I ask you, “Do you believe that Jesus is the resurrection and the life?”

With those words we bring our Lenten journey to an end. I hope you have enjoyed these short meditations on the names and titles and descriptions of our Lord. May we love him more and more.

He is risen! He is risen indeed!

Lord Jesus, what would we do without you? Where could we go but to the Lord? You alone have the words of eternal life. We pray for those who do not know you. May they find the Rock of Ages. Thank you for giving us hope that death cannot destroy. Amen.

Click here to download the free Lenten ebook "Lord of Glory."

You can reach the author at [email protected]. Click here to sign up for the free email sermon.

A Dead Man Named Jesus

“A dead man named Jesus" (Acts 25:19).

Death is never easy to deal with.

Most of the time we can avoid it or postpone it or keep it far away from us. But sometimes death stares us in the face and we don’t know what to do or how to respond.

The four gospels do not tell us much about what happened on the Saturday between Good Friday and Easter Sunday. We know that after Jesus died, the disciples stayed behind locked doors for fear of the Jewish leaders (John 20:19). Their fear was well-founded because on that Saturday the chief priests and the Pharisees met with Pilate and asked him to order the tomb sealed to prevent the disciples from stealing Jesus’ body (Matthew 27:62-66). After the resurrection, those same religious leaders would bribe the guards so they would spread the rumor that the disciples had indeed stolen Jesus’ body from the tomb (Matthew 28:11-15). In a bizarre twist, Jesus’ opponents had a greater belief in his resurrection than his disciples. The only other detail we know about Saturday is that because it was the Sabbath, the women who were with Jesus at the cross rested according to the commandment (Luke 23:56).

In the various Christian traditions this day goes by several names: Holy Saturday, Great Saturday, Easter Eve, and Silent Saturday. There are not many liturgical practices associated with this day. It is meant for rest and reflection because on this day Jesus “rested” in the tomb. Often this day is used to prepare food for the great Easter celebration that comes on Sunday. Some churches celebrate the Easter Vigil that begins after sundown on Saturday night.

It is a long day, this Silent Saturday. In many ways it represents life as it is for all of us. Though we like to say that we live on the other side of Easter, and that of course is true in the ultimate sense, it is also true that we live somewhere between Good Friday and Easter Sunday. The crucifixion is behind us, but death is still with us and the final victory lies somewhere in the future. Every funeral reminds us that “the final enemy that will be destroyed is death” (1 Corinthians 15:26). Death was defeated by Jesus, but it has not yet been destroyed. That happy day is still in front of us.

The message of Holy Saturday is, “Get ready. Something is about to happen, but it hasn’t happened yet.” Thank God, we’re not moving back toward the crucifixion. It may be Saturday but we’re moving toward Easter. Sunday’s coming. All we’ve got to do is hold on a little while longer and Sunday will soon be here.

Keep the faith, brothers and sisters. Yesterday our Lord was crucified. Today his body lies in the tomb. Tomorrow he rises from the dead. Saturday can seem like a long day–and it is–but be of good cheer. The crucifixion is behind us, Saturday will not last forever. Sooner than we think, Sunday will be here.

We are Easter people marching from Good Friday through Holy Saturday on our way to Easter Sunday. We’re not quite there but we’re moving in the right direction.

It’s Saturday, but Sunday’s coming. Let that thought give strength to your heart today.

O Lord, waiting is so hard. And waiting is what this day is all about. Grant us faith while we wait so that we will not lose heart but will be ready to rejoice when Sunday finally comes. Amen.

Click here to download the free Lenten ebook "Lord of Glory."

You can reach the author at [email protected]. Click here to sign up for the free email sermon.

The One They Have Pierced

“The one they have pierced” (Zechariah 12:10).

It is not often appreciated that our Lord Jesus died in terrible pain. If you run the clock back from 3 o’clock in the afternoon—the moment of his death—back to about 3 o’clock in the morning and review what had happened to Jesus as he moves through those hours—what you discover is that our Lord Jesus Christ has just been through 12 hours of torture.

Arrested in the middle of the night.
Slapped.
Pushed around.
Mocked. 
Slapped again.
Crowned with thorns that went into his scalp. 
Scourged with a large strap studded with bits of bone and stone and metal. 
His beard ripped out.
Beaten again and again.
Nails driven through his hands and feet.
Crucified. 

At this point a strange question comes to mind. Was Jesus a failure? You could make a good case that the answer is yes. Just look at his life. He was born into an unimportant family in an unimportant little village. He was ignored, he was taken for granted, he was laughed at. When he speaks, the powers that be want nothing to do with him. He faces ridicule, opposition, and misunderstanding all his life. In the end he is crucified like a criminal. His sufferings in those last few hours are unspeakable. When he dies he appears to be yet another forgotten footnote in history. Working with the facts on one level, you could make the case that our Lord was a failure.

But his death is not the end of the story.
Jesus did not fail in what he came to do.
He perfectly fulfilled the Father’s will.

Run to the cross. Cling to it. Embrace the sufferings of Christ. Though this cannot lessen your pain, it may give you strength to carry on. Jesus suffered before you; he also suffered for you. Child of God, remember this: As Friday comes before Sunday, so the cross leads on to the empty tomb. And there is no resurrection unless there is first a crucifixion.

On this Good Friday, let’s make our prayer the final verse of O Sacred Head Now Wounded.

What language shall I borrow to thank Thee, dearest friend,
For this Thy dying sorrow, Thy pity without end?
O make me Thine forever, and should I fainting be,
Lord, let me never, never outlive my love to Thee.

Click here to download the free Lenten ebook "Lord of Glory."

You can reach the author at [email protected]. Click here to sign up for the free email sermon.

About Dr. Ray Pritchard

Dr. Ray Pritchard is the president of Keep Believing Ministries, in Internet-based ministry serving Christians in 225 countries. He is the author of 29 books, including Stealth Attack, Fire and Rain, Credo, The ABCs of Christmas, The Healing Power of Forgiveness, An Anchor for the Soul and Why Did This Happen to Me? Ray and Marlene, his wife of 39 years, have three sons-Josh, Mark and Nick, two daughters-in-law--Leah and Vanessa, and four grandchildren grandsons: Knox, Eli, Penny and Violet. His hobbies include biking, surfing the Internet, and anything related to the Civil War.

  • Editors' Picks

    Every Christian’s 2nd Most Important Book
    Every Christian’s 2nd Most Important Book
  • Heaven's Anything But Boring!
    Heaven's Anything But Boring!
  • 3 Reasons the Resurrection Matters
    3 Reasons the Resurrection Matters
;