Daily Devotionals

Do You Believe?

This last Sunday the global Church all told the same story: the Resurrection of Jesus. Instead of just moving on here, let’s take a few weeks and unpack this story together. And let’s begin with a declaration concerning the Word of God.

Believer, there is no substitute for the truth of the Word! Hear it! Read it! Share it with your children, your neighbors, your co-workers and your friends! Pray it when you are down and engage with it when you are up. It is LIFE and TRUTH for all who know and love Jesus. For those who do not believe, it is the power of God unto salvation. It can quicken the heart, straighten out the mind, make strong the weak knees and stand up the beaten down. It is a diet that needs to be consumed on a daily basis. Without it we are hopeless, bound to believe the lies of the enemy, unsettled, bound to our sin and trapped in a culture that is determined to destroy itself. Church, if you gain anything while reading I pray it is this: the Word of God is living, active and absolutely bound up in the person of Jesus. He is most definitely the Word made flesh. If you wonder what He looked like, sounded like, or just liked look to the Word! It is absolutely sufficient for any need, obstacle, question or wondering you might have.

Today’s story is not a new one. It has been advertised from the rooftops from the moment it occurred. It is volatile enough that the Jewish authorities tried immediately to silence its proclaimers and alter the story. It’s dangerous enough that Judas actually took his life because of it. It’s tender enough that Mary and the disciples ran to the tomb to verify it. It’s factual enough that over 500 people can attest to it as eyewitnesses. Still today we get goosebumps as we read these words together. We don’t understand the science behind it and we still haven’t fully worked out the theology that takes place in it, but we know this: the resurrection of Jesus is THE MOST POWERFUL event in human history. It eclipses Noah’s boat, the parting of the Red Sea, Elijah calling down fire from Heaven and Ezekiel speaking life to a bunch of dry bones. The ripples of this single event are still being violently felt in the lives of billions around the world today. Just like in the book of Acts, we are seeing record numbers of people coming to faith in Christ and laying their lives on the line to defend it, raising up the Church in areas where the crime of Christianity is as serious as murder. There is no drug, no dictator, no dream of power or authority, or any relationship short of the one we are offered in Christ that can motivate a person to act like this. Only the risen Son of God has the ability to stir the waters like we are seeing today. With the truth that Jesus, the Word, is absolutely sufficient for every single task, need or question, let’s pick up this story today.

Right before Lazarus’ resurrection Jesus said to his sister, “Martha, I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he dies, yet will he live and everyone who lives and believes in me will never die.” And then he asks her a penetrating question, “Do you believe this?” This promise was quickly embraced by the disciples upon Lazarus’ new life. People flocked to hear his story and follow Jesus. He was put on the leader’s hit list because of the incredible effectiveness he had in reaching people with the truth of Jesus’ power and claims. And then came the crucifixion. Most every disciple ran. Only John and the Mary’s are found at the cross. These followers quickly abandoned any hope of resurrection and clung to life as if it was the only one they would ever be given. But the story does not end there. I’m sure Jesus asked each of His followers Martha’s question at one point or another, “Do you believe this?” And at some point each of them answered yes. When the time came for them to apply their answer alone, they ran. But that was not even close to the end of the story. By the time this this chapter comes to a close over 500 people have confessed their need of this resurrected Savior. What happened in the mean time? Only the biggest, most important event in history!

The resurrection of Jesus is more accounted for on a historical level than the life of Abraham Lincoln. There is virtually no doubt of its happening. I think it’s important the disciples ran to the tomb. There was urgency in their step. Why? Because they knew the resurrection meant everything. All of their beliefs about Jesus, all of their understanding about Heaven, all of their hopes of a renewed life…all hinged on the promise of a risen Savior. A Messiah who died was just a good man. Everyone dies. Even the best heroes have to come to an end. But when their faint hopes of a resurrected Christ began to take on flesh, they ran.

How many times have we seen this event replayed? The ones who have lived the darkest lives for the longest times are the ones who run to the tomb with the most urgency. They want to see if this new life is really possible. Did He really mean I could live like this? Did He really just say I could be born again? And they run! I get excited each time I encounter someone who is on the line about Jesus, thinking about their reaction to Him once they finally cross that line. I wonder who is reading this right now would run to the tomb if you really believed He was alive.

Let’s pause this story here for now and pick up more next week. The question I will leave you with is “Do you believe?” If the answer is yes, adjustments, possibly some serious ones, need to be made. What will you do with the fact that Jesus is alive and waiting for you to join Him in the work He is doing?

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