May 4, Friday

Devotional Thoughts for Today

“When Everything Changed”

Mark 16:1-9

When the Sabbath was over, Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James, and Salome bought spices so that they might go to anoint Jesus’ body. 2 Very early on the first day of the week, just after sunrise, they were on their way to the tomb 3 and they asked each other, “Who will roll the stone away from the entrance of the tomb?” 4 But when they looked up, they saw that the stone, which was very large, had been rolled away. 5 As they entered the tomb, they saw a young man dressed in a white robe sitting on the right side, and they were alarmed. 6 “Don’t be alarmed,” he said. “You are looking for Jesus the Nazarene, who was crucified. He has risen! He is not here. See the place where they laid him. 7 But go, tell his disciples and Peter, ‘He is going ahead of you into Galilee. There you will see him, just as he told you.’” 8 Trembling and bewildered, the women went out and fled from the tomb. They said nothing to anyone, because they were afraid

There are certain times when an individual or organization senses that a monumental change is at hand. For the Jacksonville Jaguars, such a moment came when they rehired Tom Coughlin to be their executive vice president of football operations. Before the hire, Jacksonville had just finished a 3-13 season and missed the playoffs for the ninth consecutive season. But when Coughlin came on board, his personnel decisions and leadership brought a heightened sense of excellence. As a result, the Jaguars finished 10-6 the season after and were one quarter away from their first Super Bowl appearance.

In the span of human history, the ultimate turning point—when everything changed—was the resurrection. As N.T. Wright (2016) noted, “It is the resurrection that declares that the cross was a victory, not a defeat. It, therefore, announces that God has indeed become king on earth as in heaven” (p.51). Furthermore, each Gospel provides a unique perspective that adds to the full picture of such a monumental occasion. Wright writes: “The resurrection is from Mark’s point of view, the moment when God’s kingdom comes in power. From John’s point of view, it is the launching of the new creation, the new Genesis. From Matthew’s point of view, it brings Jesus into the position for which He was always destined, that of the world’s rightful Lord…from Luke’s point of view, the resurrection is the moment when Israel’s Messiah comes into His glory” (p.123).

Indeed, through the hope of eternity that the resurrection brings, we have the answer to the longing of our hearts for such a reality (Eccles. 3:11). And because of the promise of Christ’s eventual return, we can look forward to the day when God “will wipe away every tear…and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away” (Rev. 21:5). Through any hardships we may face, let us cling onto the eternal hope that we have.

Prayer: Father, I confess that I have let my present situation cloud the eternal hope that I have in You. Thank You that through Your Son Jesus, death, sin and Satan have been forever conquered. Thank You that final victory is assured, despite the hardships that may come. And thank You that even in those hardships, You are not far away but near. In Your Name I pray. Amen. 

Bible Reading for Today: Titus 1 


Lunch Break Study 

Read Hebrews 11:13-9: All these people were still living by faith when they died. They did not receive the things promised; they only saw them and welcomed them from a distance, admitting that they were foreigners and strangers on earth. 14 People who say such things show that they are looking for a country of their own. 15 If they had been thinking of the country they had left, they would have had opportunity to return. 16 Instead, they were longing for a better country—a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared a city for them. 17 By faith Abraham, when God tested him, offered Isaac as a sacrifice. He who had embraced the promises was about to sacrifice his one and only son, 18 even though God had said to him, “It is through Isaac that your offspring will be reckoned.” 19 Abraham reasoned that God could even raise the dead, and so in a manner of speaking he did receive Isaac back from death.

Questions to Consider 

  1. What are some similarities between us believers today and those mentioned in Hebrews 11 (i.e. the Hall of Faith)?
  2. What is the main difference between us believers today and those mentioned in the Hall of Faith?
  3. How are you living by faith today?

Note

  1. All believers, in the past, present and future, are called to live by faith on this earth, while longing for our true home with God. We are to have an exilic mentality, loving and serving this world while knowing that it is not our final destination.
  2. As Christians today, we have the privilege of having the full revelation of Jesus, including His death and resurrection. Men like Abraham could only imagine such a reality (Heb. 11:17-19), but through the testimony of the Bible and the Holy Spirit, we know that eternal life is a reality.
  3. Personal response. 

Evening Reflection

It is easy to be overwhelmed by the brokenness in our lives or in the world and forget the hope of the final restoration that we have. Take some time to ask God for reminders of this hope we have and for strength to act according to His will.

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