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Just Kidding...That Was the Beginning

“Why do you look for the living among the dead? He is not here; He has risen!” Luke 24:5b-6

The single greatest day in the history of mankind: Resurrection day! Jesus defeated death! He became the atonement for our sins! He saved the world! He is worthy of all praise! I love the account of His appearing in the Gospel of John when He appears to Mary Magdalene. I like to imagine myself in her sandals. She is weeping outside the tomb, convinced someone stole Jesus’ body. “At this time, she turned around and saw Jesus standing there, but she did not realize it was Jesus. He asked her, ‘Woman, 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.’ Jesus said to her, ‘Mary.’” (John 20:13b-16a)

That’s all it took. One word. “Mary.” She knew instantly who He was. Can you picture it? Oh, the joy she experienced in that second was probably the most remarkable feeling she experienced to date. “Mary.” He was alive. She’d stayed nearby and watched everything that happened to her Lord. She’d seen the beatings. She’d heard Him give up His Spirit. She was there when Joseph put His Body in the tomb. She saw it all. Yet, here He stood. Alive. Well. Calling her name. What if I told you that He is calling your name today?

All the suffering He experience was for you to answer that call! For you to repent and trust Him with every aspect of your life. For you to walk with Him daily. For you to engage in a relationship with Him, the King of the world. He didn’t die for you to walk through this life alone, confused, unfulfilled, fearful, and with the gaping God-sized hole that’s within every person until He fills it.

I once heard an atheist on television say he didn’t want the love of Christ. Like most Christians say, he wanted proof of Jesus. I wanted so badly to write to him, “You’re breathing, right? Well, there’s your proof.” But, I didn’t. Instead, I had this realization that there are genuinely people who don’t even believe Jesus existed, despite the numerous historical records that prove He lived. 

I then remembered a song I absolutely love that starts with the following quote, “The greatest single cause of atheism today is Christians, who acknowledge Jesus with their lips and walk out the door and deny Him by their lifestyle. That is what an unbelieving world simply finds unbelievable.” Dc Talk

I thought about my own life and the times I stumble and fall. The instances when I show the ugly side of myself. That day I yelled at my kids because I was impatient. When I honked at a car for not turning when I thought he or she should’ve. When I was unkind to a friend because I didn’t consider my words before I spoke them. Bottom line, we all fall short of the glory of God, but are we able to admit that to an unbelieving world? Can we say, “You sin differently than me, but you know what, I love you anyway”...will we be that Grace-filled?

The world wants to see proof of Jesus in us! Read that again! Of course, we don’t measure up; nobody does and that’s the point. When most mainstream people think about Christians, they think of how many waiters say they hate working Sunday afternoons because of “the church crowd.” They remember the hatred shown toward hot topics that are contrary to what we believe is the right lifestyle. They think of someone who used a Bible verse to condemn them. 

Notice I said most, but not all. Certainly, there are others who would say good things. My point is this: in a world looking for proof of Jesus, are we--the church, His Bride--enough evidence? Do we live the standard of loving like Jesus? Our actions are far heavier than our words! Are we walking in integrity and grace? Is kindness exuded to everyone and not only reserved for the people you share a pew with? Believe me, these are questions I’ve asked myself.

As you celebrate the day of our risen Lord, remember that the world is hungry for proof, not just love. Let His Light shine through everything you do! Show someone what He’s done in your life through your actions. Love the unlovable. Serve those who are overlooked. Engage your cashier at the store for crying out loud. Something ought to show that you are different because Jesus exists in you! Be the light of the world! Show Jesus off! 

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