Pause for Thought

4th April        Easter Day.                 Mark 16 v, 1 – 8

When the Sabbath was over, Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James, and Salome bought spices so they could go and anoint the body of Jesus. Very early on the first day of the week, just after sunrise, they went to the tomb. They were asking one another, “Who will roll away the stone from the entrance of the tomb?” But when they looked up, they saw that the stone had been rolled away, even though it was extremely large. When they entered the tomb, they saw a young man dressed in a white robe sitting on the right side, and they were alarmed. But he said to them, “Do not be alarmed. You are looking for Jesus the Nazarene, who was crucified. He has risen! He is not here! See the place where they put Him. 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.’ ” So the women left the tomb and ran away, trembling and bewildered. And in their fear they did not say a word to anyone.

     Sometimes Mark's short, concise account of the Resurrection can have a greater impact upon us than the longer, more details in the other three Gospels.   In the first four verses of the chapter, we are presented with the problem facing the women who were going to anoint the Body of Jesus.  They knew well that the tomb had been sealed with a massive stone, and yet they went there.  “Who will roll away the stone” It was a problem but it seems that they were expecting to receive help when they got there  -  and they were.  They were greeted by as simple statement. “He is not here; He has been raised.”  In those few words, Mark tells the message of the Resurrection on which the whole of our Christian faith is based.  In the second part of the message, they were told to go away from the scene and tell the good news to others.

Mark gives us a statement of our faith. And a command to follow when we have accepted that Truth.

How deeply do we believe that Jesus rose from the dead?

If we truly believe that Jesus died and rose again to save us from sin, how can we effectively share that good news with others so that they will believe too?

 

11th April             2nd Sunday of Easter                  Acts 4 v. 32 – 35

The multitude of believers was one in heart and soul. No one claimed that any of his possessions was his own, but they shared everything they owned. With great power the apostles continued to give their testimony about the resurrection of the Lord Jesus. And abundant grace was upon them all. There were no needy ones among them, because those who owned lands or houses would sell their property, bring the proceeds from the sales, and lay them at the apostles’ feet for distribution to anyone as he had need.

Last week we heard Mark's version of the Resurrection of Jesus - “He is not here; He has risen.  Go and tell”.  In today's passage from Acts, we are given a glimpse of the early Church – and the results of belief on some of the disciples.  They had witnessed the Resurrection, believed and had begun to live according to that belief  - showing the generosity and pastoral care which comes with Christian love.

We have just celebrated the Resurrection and our next task is to begin ( or begin again! ) to live according to our belief by living it out, showing Christian love and care for the people with whom we come in contact.

This does not mean trying to earn Brownie points by performing “ good works “ but quietly trying to show the love of Jesus to people we meet. This is not always easy. But Jesus continued to love Peter and Judas who betrayed Him  He continues to love you too – for ever.  How can we make a fresh start in trying to follow Jesus' example of love  -  putting the needs of others before our own?

 

18th April                   3rd Sunday of Easter              Acts 3 v. 12 – 19

And when Peter saw this, he addressed the people: “Men of Israel, why are you surprised by this? Why do you stare at us as if by our own power or godliness we had made this man walk? The God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, the God of our fathers, has glorified His servant Jesus. You handed Him over and rejected Him before Pilate, even though he had decided to release Him. You rejected the Holy and Righteous One and asked that a murderer be released to you. You killed the Author of life, but God raised Him from the dead, and we are witnesses of the fact.  By faith in the name of Jesus, this man whom you see and know has been made strong. It is Jesus’ name and the faith that comes through Him that has given him this complete healing in your presence.  And now, brothers, I know that you acted in ignorance, as did your leaders. But in this way God has fulfilled what He foretold through all the prophets, saying that His Christ would suffer. Repent, then, and turn back, so that your sins may be wiped away, 

Peter had been in the Temple in Jerusalem, preaching Jesus' Resurrection and performing miracles in His Name.  We read of him telling the astonished crowd that it had been responsible for Jesus' Death, but if they believed and repented, God  would forgive them completely.  Of course it wasn't just the Jews who had been responsible for Jesus' crucifixion.  It was the sins of every single one of us. In the past, the present and in the future.  However, because of Jesus' Resurrection, we can all receive God's forgiveness when we repent.  We can feel totally forgiven and have a fresh start in our journey of faith.

Do we acknowledge our part in the Crucifixion of Jesus?  Think about it.

When we do acknowledge our part, we can repent and receive the joy of God's forgiveness.  Then we shall receive also a completely fresh start in our relationship with Him.

 

25th April                 4th Sunday of Easter                Acts 4 v, 5 – 12

The next day the rulers, elders, and scribes assembled in Jerusalem, along with Annas the high priest, Caiaphas, John, Alexander, and many others from the high priest’s family. They had Peter and John brought in and began to question them: “By what power or what name did you do this?” Then Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, said to them, “Rulers and elders of the people! If we are being examined today about a kind service to a man who was lame, to determine how he was healed, then let this be known to all of you and to all the people of Israel: It is by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom you crucified but whom God raised from the dead, that this man stands before you healed. This Jesus is ‘the stone you builders rejected, which has become the cornerstone.’  Salvation exists in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved.”

Peter and John were causing a stir in Jerusalem with their preaching about Jesus having risen from the dead.   Peter had cured a lame man in the Name of Jesus too.  The two disciples were brought before the Jewish Council for questioning.  Peter, as many of them knew, was a fisherman by trade not a schooled man, You will notice how bravely and confidently he addressed the Council.  God has promised to give us the words when we need them.

Have you ever been questioned about your faith or been asked why you go to Church?   What did you say?  If you aren't too good at it to start with, keep trying.  God will give you the words and you will gain in confidence at proclaiming how important He is to you.

 

 




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