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Previous Message From Virtual Church

Can You Hear Him?

Matthew 28:2 There was a violent earthquake, for an angel of the Lord came down from heaven and, going to the tomb, rolled back the stone and sat on it. 3 His appearance was like lightning, and his clothes were white as snow. 4 The guards were so afraid of him that they shook and became like dead men. 5 The angel said to the women, "Do not be afraid, for I know that you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified. 6 He is not here; he has risen, just as he said. Come and see the place where he lay. 7 Then go quickly and tell his disciples: `He has risen from the dead and is going ahead of you into Galilee. There you will see him.' Now I have told you." 8 So the women hurried away from the tomb, afraid yet filled with joy, and ran to tell his disciples. 9 Suddenly Jesus met them. "Greetings," he said. They came to him, clasped his feet and worshiped him. 10 Then Jesus said to them, "Do not be afraid. Go and tell my brothers to go to Galilee; there they will see me." (NIV)

He is alive. He is risen. He is really, really, really, alive!

The tomb: Mark 15:21 - 41 "In the place where Jesus was Crucified there was a garden, and in the garden a new tomb in which no one was ever laid" (NIV)

In 1881 a man named Christian Gordon, found at the west foot of the "Skull Hill" or Golgotha, a "garden". He set a crew of men digging, and under five feet of rubbish and garbage, he found a tomb of Roman times, cut in a wall of solid rock, with a trench in front of the tomb's entry where the stone rolled to the door. The tomb is a room 14 feet wide, 10 feet deep, and 7 1/2 feet high. At the right, as you enter, there are two graves, one next to the front wall, and one next to the back wall. The graves are slightly lower than the floor of the room, with a low dividing wall between. The tomb is large enough to easily hold a group of women, and two angels, with an angel sitting at the place where Jesus feet were, and another angel sitting where His head was. The tomb shows no sign that it was ever used. There were no remains.

In the tomb, during the night, how it happened we do not know, the foundations of the universe moved. An angel rolled the stone away and then sat on it. Sort of a statement, if you think about it. Sort of a victory statement, if you think deeply about the symbolism of seeing death defeated and being there to roll the stone away. The figure of the angel was so terrifying to the guards, the guards were so frightened, the guards appeared to be dead men. Have you ever heard the expression, "Almost scared to death?"

In surveying this scene, one must reflect on the power of Christ's ministry, because why would the Roman's need to guard a tomb? Perhaps the Roman's were afraid of an uprising as a result of a stolen body and claims Christ was still alive. Anyway, the guards, upon regaining whatever composure they had left, ran and told the Jewish leaders what they had seen. The guards were then given money to keep their mouths shut. Things have not changed in two thousand years, have they?

We can speculate today about the power that resurrected Jesus. Was there a giant beam of power from the sky or was there just a soft and quiet touch from God for his beloved Son. Most likely, it was the soft and quiet touch.

We know there was an earthquake. This earthquake was no ordinary earthquake for this quake shook the universe.

What may have happened is one angel rolled the stone away. Then the Hand of God, Christ's Father, touched Him, and Jesus opened His eyes. In the series of events, Christ's body was unwrapped. We do not know whether the angels unwrapped His body or whether Christ did the unwrapping.

One of the more profound meanings of Christ's life is found in what Jesus did and did not do after He came back. What did He do? Did Jesus seek revenge? Did Jesus take over the world as a maximum leader? Did Jesus raise an army and drive out the Romans by force? Did Jesus call down the angels from heaven to vanquish the people who crucified Him? Did Jesus use His ultimate power and His invincible nature to even the score? No. He did not do any of these things, for He is love.

John 20:10 Then the disciples went back to their homes, 11 but Mary stood outside the tomb crying. As she wept, she bent over to look into the tomb 12 and saw two angels in white, seated where Jesus' body had been, one at the head and the other at the foot. 13 They asked her, "Woman, why are you crying?" "They have taken my Lord away," she said, "and I don't know where they have put him." 14 At this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing there, but she did not realize that it was Jesus. 15 "Woman," he said, "why are you crying? Who is it you are looking for?" Thinking he was the gardener, she said, "Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have put him, and I will get him." 16 Jesus said to her, "Mary." She turned toward him and cried out in Aramaic, "Rabboni!" (which means Teacher). 17 Jesus said, "Do not hold on to me, for I have not yet returned to the Father. Go instead to my brothers and tell them, `I am returning to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.' " 18 Mary Magdalene went to the disciples with the news: "I have seen the Lord!" And she told them that he had said these things to her. (NIV)

The resurrection scene is also a scene carrying a message about Mary. On the surface, the above scene is just about Mary and Jesus. However, Mary is not the only person Jesus is addressing in this most glorious of events. For Jesus, through His precious word of scripture, is also talking to you.

Mary was alone at the tomb weeping. She had not heard or understood from the angels that He was alive. Perhaps even seeing angels had not calmed her in her grief. Jesus stood by Mary in her pain, He also stands by you in your pain. Jesus emerged from the tomb the same as He was before his death except He carried the scars and wounds of the torture and crucifixion.

Jesus came from the tomb, not as an invincible human determined to show the world who was in control by seeking revenge. Jesus came from the tomb as the same soft, tender, compassionate man, full of grace, full of truth, and full of love we know Him to be before He was crucified.

The darkest hour is just before dawn. In Mary's darkest hour, there must have been a stillness in the air like the stillness before a storm or an earthquake. Mary loved Him. Mary had been delivered of evil spirits and demons and had found in Jesus a love so wonderful and so accepting His love changed her life. She was crying from the grief she bore. She thought He had died, and then she thought someone had stolen his body. Mary had been there at the foot of the cross, and had been with Him through all of his agony. She had been there when they took Christ's body down, and had helped prepare Him for burial. She had seen Him suffer, seen Him die, and had been with Him through the last days of His ministry. He carried all our sins to the Cross three days before this moment of so much stillness in the air. Three days before this moment, there had been, for Christ, unspeakable torment, agony, and pain suffered for each of us. Jesus had died on the Cross from a broken heart, yet He came back to minister to Mary and to you.

When Jesus called her name...shock, amazement, and love abounded in her heart. There is another name not written in your Bible. There is another name Jesus called that morning. The other name called that morning is your name…not a name like yours…not a name spelled like your name, but your own personal name.

Your name is not written in your scripture, but He still calls you. He is next to you, just like He was next to Mary on that first Easter. He is alive for you, He is calling you. Some of you who read these words have tried to always work things out on your own. Some of you have always been responsible and tried to take control of your life. However, there are some things in life you cannot control. Mary was a responsible person, involved in a situation she could not control. Jesus came to her. Wherever you are at this moment, Jesus is there with you. Can you hear Him calling you?

Perhaps some of you were followers of Jesus but have somehow lost Him. And, like Mary, you stand grieving because He is gone from your life. However, He is not gone from your life. Christ is with you today. He is calling your name. Can you hear Him?

I know some of you have been searching for Him, looking for Him in all kinds of ways and in many places...just like Mary. I know you have seen Jesus and you have heard Him speak, just like Mary. And, just like Mary, you just have not recognized Him. Jesus is with you today just as surely as He was with Mary. Can you see Him? Can you hear Him?

Some of you have been fighting your way through all kinds of trouble and problems and you know Jesus exists somewhere. Perhaps you think Jesus is only in Heaven with God. Sometimes our grief gets so big, the pain gets so bad, the trouble gets so overwhelming, we become blind. Just like Mary, we see Him but do not recognize Him. We forget He is with us. He is sitting right next to you today. Can you hear Him? Can you feel his presence in your life? Can you feel his healing power upon your trouble and problems?

Perhaps you have not openly rebelled against Jesus. It is just so hard to keep our heads above water these days we get pre-occupied. What with financial problems, health problems, family problems, job problems, worries of every kind...we ignore Him. Can you hear Him today? He is calling your name. He is calling your own personal name.

Perhaps you keep listening for God's voice but He doesn't really speak out loud to you. Sometimes it seems as if He isn't really alive or real after all...that's because our own voice and our thoughts are yelling and screaming so loud His voice within our hearts cannot be heard. If you listen, you can hear His voice today. Can you hear Him?

When you read the Bible, you read words written long ago, by people you do not know, who are writing to someone other than you…so it seems. However, the Bible is God's personal word to you. The Bible is His personal letter to you. The Bible is a letter of love, of caring, and of compassion, written just to you. Can you hear Him today?

His death, His agony, His pain, His coming back, mean you can have eternal life if you are sorry for always wanting your own way, and sorry for always putting yourself first. If you are truly sorry for turning away from Him, turn back to Him. He is calling you. If you truly listen to Him and you hear Him, then He is as real to you as He was to Mary. Mary's heart was right. Mary so desperately wanted to find Him without even knowing He was alive. Can you hear Him?

Sometimes you get lost and don't know which way to turn. Sometimes it seems that Jesus is dead and you don't know where to find Him…just like Mary. But He is alive, He is risen, He is real, and He is there where you are today. Can you hear Him?

Christ came to this earth just for you. He came to stand by you in your darkest hour, in your worst grief, in your worst pain. He came so you will never die and so you will live with Him in heaven forever and ever. He came so you could know God in a personal way through Him. Jesus is calling you. Can you hear Him?

If you want to find Him, if you want Him in your life, look up and see Him standing next to you...for His IS next to you. Come to Him this minute. He is calling your name. Can you hear Him? Every name that hears the word of the Lord can hear the Lord say their name as Mary heard her name. Every person hearing Him can receive everlasting life, and hope, and joy, just as Mary received them. Mary's name and your name are written in the Lamb's book of life. The tomb is empty. The stone is rolled away. He is alive and with you this day.

He is calling you to turn back, to come home, to stop fighting within yourself. When we hear Him we want to reach out to Him like Mary did. Your life and my life killed Him on the Cross. On the Cross, He took all the blame for everything we have ever done, and then when we are so alone, and we are looking for Him, He calls our name.

If you have not committed your life to Him, if you have not given all that you are to Him, and you want Him as your Lord and savior…if you want Him to be real to you...if you want to find Him again, I want you to put your hand over your heart this minute. With your hand over your heart, tell Him you are sorry for the life you have lived. Then reach out to Him and touch His outstretched hand. Accept Him into your heart and life. Tell Him you love Him and you accept Him.

Precious Lord Jesus, call again to this reader. Reach out again to this reader's heart. No matter what the circumstances might be, reach through those circumstances and touch this person so they will hear you calling their name. Amen.

 

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Scripture quotations marked (NIV) are taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®. NIV®. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan Publishing House. All rights reserved.

Scripture quotations marked (RSV) are taken from the HOLY BIBLE, Revised Standard Version of the Bible, Copyright © 1952 [2nd edition, 1971] by the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Entire contents copyright © 1999 - 2010 by Rev. Patrick Kelly, All rights reserved.
All content is presented on behalf of Shepherd’s Care Ministries. Shepherd's Care Ministries reserves no right or claim upon content.

Shepherd's Care Ministries author and webmaster, Rev. Patrick Kelly, is affiliated through ministerial ordination with Church of God Ministries, Anderson IN 46018