Today's Word for Pastors...
I will extol the LORD at all times; his praise will always be on my lips.
Today's Preaching Insight...
He's Not There, but Thank God He's Here!
He really does live, doesn't He? He's not there in that tomb, is He? Thank God He's not there! Thank God He's here — with you and me. There is no question about it. There's no doubt in my mind. The tomb was empty on that first Easter morning. Jesus was resurrected. He's not there, but thank God He's here! That really is the powerful message of Easter Sunday.
And it is a message that needs to be heard again and again. For we are all like the three women, described here in Mark's account of resurrection in Mark 16 — the earliest Gospel account. Early that Sunday morning, they were going to the tomb to anoint the body of Jesus, wondering how the massive stone would be rolled aside so they could enter. Upon arrival they observed that stone sealing the tomb had already been rolled away. Upon entering it, they saw a young man — an angel, to be exact, who told them not to be alarmed since they were. You and I would've been alarmed too, by the way. He knew why they were there: to anoint Jesus' dead body, which would have been a very noble thing to do. But the body wasn't there. The young man told them He had been raised. Even though the angel reminded those three ladies that Jesus had told them all this was going to happen, it still didn't make sense to them.
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Illustration: Easter, Cross
In a church marketing newsletter just a few years ago, a campaign was suggested to attract people to church during the season of Easter. In this public relations campaign, it was suggested the cross be removed from the altar. According to the author, a survey has revealed the cross is one of those symbols the new generation of churchgoers considered too churchy. One pastor interviewed for the campaign gave his wholehearted endorsement. "We are going to attempt to concentrate on the resurrection, and not the death of Jesus."
Easter without the cross. Is it possible to have resurrection without crucifixion? No. It distorts the entire gospel if crucifixion is separated from resurrection. The road to the empty tomb will forever pass by a cross. The One who is raised from the dead is none other than the crucified Christ. Easter without a cross is a hoax.
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