Tag Archives: resurrection

Whose Open Tomb?

With two upcoming baptisms just around the corner, I think it’s only appropriate to reflect on what it means to be baptized. What does it symbolize? And why should baptism be celebrated?

Just as a wedding is a ceremony representing a commitment between husband and wife, so is a baptism a ceremony representing a covenant between God and man. Baptism is such an important public declaration of commitment to Christ that Jesus commands it in the scripture many refer to as the Great Commission. In Matthew 28:18-20, Jesus says:

All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.

If Jesus commanded his disciples to baptize, he wants the same for you and me. He wants us to proudly proclaim that he is our Lord and Savior.

The act of baptism symbolizes Jesus’ death for our sins and burial in the tomb, and his miraculous resurrection on the third day. This is why so many prefer to be immersed in water versus the “sprinkle” baptism. The symbolism is perhaps better experienced in the immersion baptism.

So if the idea is that we die to our old lives of sin, and experience a “spiritual resurrection” when we emerge from the water, then is Jesus’ tomb the only empty grave? If we are truly made new, no longer spiritually dead in our sin, and alive through the cleansing/forgiveness of our sins, then aren’t our graves just as empty as Jesus’?

Visualize this, on the day that you take your last breath on earth, after that breath, you are in a garden, your body has never felt more alive, your skin is flawless, your conscience clear, all you concern yourself with is praising the Father for who he is, not just what he’s done. You look up from your prayer and praise and see your friends approaching a grave. As you look closer, you notice that your name is engraved in the headstone, the date is today. How can you be seeing your own grave, covered in fresh soil, flowers tossed on top? How can it be?

Then you remember that day you decided to give your life to God. You remember the day you were baptized, the symbolism the pastor described. You are taken back to his words, “When she emerges from the water, it symbolizes Christ’s resurrection. Like Him she is made new, alive again, born again, adopted into Christ’s family, a child of God.” You immediately know why you are looking at your grave. There may be a body inside, but your spirit was resurrected the day you accepted Jesus as the forgiver of your sin. You proclaimed it through your baptism, and now you have a first class seat to seeing it completed. You realize how faithful the Father is, how you had taken this step of faith for granted all those years ago, but now you see the reality of your decision to make that covenant with Christ. Do you think you’d have any regrets?

Whose tomb is empty? Is it yours? If it isn’t, do you want to invite Jesus into your life, accept him as your Lord and Savior, forgiver of your sins? You can make that decision now. Just talk to Jesus. Tell him you want to make a covenant with him for eternal, forgiven life as a child of God.

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Come Out of Your Cave!

Lazarus and Jesus were good friends. The Bible says Jesus loved Lazarus, and Jesus spent a lot of time with Lazarus and his sisters. But in John 11 we see Jesus arrive late, four days after His friend’s death, like a delayed ambulance responding to 911. He waited several days to respond to Lazarus’ sisters’ cry for help. Lazarus’ sisters Mary and Martha sent word to Jesus as their brother lay sick, yet Jesus doesn’t respond right away. Finally he comes, and he weeps. Often the verse, “Jesus wept,” is the first people focus on here, but here’s what struck me. After saying, “Did I not tell you that if you believed, you would see the glory of God?” Jesus has the stone rolled away from the entrance to the cave where Lazarus lay. He gave thanks to the Father, and says the words the sisters had been waiting for, “Lazarus, come out!” The scripture says in verse 44, “The dead man came out, his hands and feet wrapped with strips of linen, and a cloth around his face…” When I reread this last Sunday, I thought, ‘How did he know which direction to go if his face was covered?’ It was the sound of Jesus’ voice, His shepherd’s voice, that led him, not just from the grave, but out of death itself. You see sometimes we are blinded by the world. Someone I know recently said she gave up Facebook because she felt like she was looking at it every five minutes, and it was taking over her time and, well, her life. There are so many distractions that can get in the way of what is truly important, but it is comforting to know that even when our spiritual face is covered God still cries out to us, “Come out!” Come out of your distraction to the joy of life! Come out of your dark cave to a life of praise and celebration! Come out of addiction. Come out of your lies. Come out! Come out! And see the One who loves you, who weeps for you, who gives you new life.

This blog post was inspired by my pastor’s message on 5/10/15 about Mary, a woman after God’s heart. I believe this was a family after God’s heart. Enjoy the post, leave a comment, and like this post on social media.

When Curiosity Strikes

When curiosity strikes we have the opportunity to share. Today, while working with one of the volunteers, she, out of the blue, asked, “What is Easter? I mean, I see all the bunnies and eggs, but why do people celebrate it?” Oh boy! I think many of us, including myself, tend to assume that everyone in the U.S. knows why we celebrate Easter and Christmas, but it’s just not true. There are many people, especially those of other cultures or faiths that don’t know the true meaning of Easter.

After she asked this I perked up. Okay, I gotta get ready to shine! I want to really tell it the way God would want me to, so I explained that the bunnies and the eggs don’t really have anything to do with the true meaning of Easter. It involves something much more mysterious, much more exciting. Easter celebrates the resurrection, the rising from the dead, of the Son of God, Jesus Christ, who is also part of the three-part God. He was sent here as a final sacrifice for forgiveness of the sins of everyone. In the past people had to individually kill and burn/sacrifice flawless, first born animals to atone for their sins, but not anymore. That is why Jesus died, and that is why Good Friday is celebrated. It is good because that is when our sins were forgiven. The resurrection was to fulfill a prophesy. He said He would rise and He did, proving His love and integrity.

She looked amazed, “Wow, I thought it was all about eggs and bunnies!” Suddenly we had not just shared a task of updating the grief resource list, but we had shared the gospel. What a privilege to see her face light up as she heard it for the first time.

Oh merciful Father, I thank you for the grace you show me each day. Thank you for sending your Son to die on that cross, and thank you for rising again, not only to fulfill a prophesy, but to give me hope for new life, a spiritual resurrection of my own. Sometimes it’s difficult to remember that we are forgiven and free. Sometimes we remember it in our mind but not in our spirit. Help us to be reassured and comforted, and to speak your truth even in the midst of fear and doubt and frustration. When we are weak, you make us strong. In Jesus’ name, Amen.