Matthew 28; Deuteronomy 9-10; Job 8
Earlier this week, Americans observed the 100th anniversary of the beginning of our involvement in World War I. The war began when the Archduke Ferdinand was assassinated in 1914, setting off a chain of events that led to war as countries honored treaties to defend and support each other. America had been isolationist up to that point in time, avoiding foreign ventures. This war changed the world. Countries were more careful about the treaties they entered into and the United States became a player, and ultimately, the leader on the world stage. While you can debate whether or not that’s a good thing, you can’t debate the world changing results of World War I.
Many events throughout history have been world changing. The most recent event in modern history was 9/11/01. Changes made because of that attack will probably be with us forever. There is one event, though, that has changed the world far more than any other event in history: The Resurrection of Jesus. The Resurrection of Jesus spawned the Christian Church that was described as having turned the world upside down. (See Acts 17:6) The Christian Church ultimately changed the Roman Empire and set in motion, for good and bad, a religious revolution. I doubt that the earliest followers of Jesus had any idea of what lay ahead – they were seeking to assuage their grief. “The angel said to the women, ‘Do not be afraid, for I know that you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified. He is not here; he has risen, just as he said. Come and see the place where he lay.’” (Matthew 28:5-6)
Jesus had been crucified. He was dead and buried. No one could deny that. Then, the trouble started. The ladies went to the tomb to finish anointing Jesus with burial spices once the Sabbath was over. No one was expecting anything different to happen. When they got there, they found that all heaven had broken loose. Jesus wasn’t in the tomb. Angels showed up saying, “He’s outta here. Don’t you remember what He said?” (loosely translated from the original Greek.) Soldiers ran to tell what happened and the Jewish leaders told them to say that the disciples stole the body while they were asleep – admitting to an offense punishable by death. It seems that the Jewish leaders had more of an understanding about Jesus rising than the disciples. As time went on and the disciples realized that Jesus really had risen from the dead, they changed from hiding behind locked doors to proclaiming Jesus Christ publicly so that all could hear. The rest is history…perhaps I should say His story.
All that is well and good, but the most important question is “How has the Resurrection changed your world?” We can go through all kinds of motions in life that make us look like good people. We can go to church, give away money, volunteer to help people or animals, have an important job – what else makes people look good? If we do all those things, though, and don’t know Jesus, the Resurrected Savior, we’ve missed out on the most important, world-changing event ever. I used to have my sins, didn’t we all, but I was a pretty good person compared to most. It wasn’t until my world changed when I committed my life to following Jesus that I understood what it meant to be fully alive; now I’m fully alive in Jesus. There are some who might tell you that once you turn to Jesus, your world will change so much that nothing bad will happen. Don’t believe that. What you can believe is that when the bad things of life do happen, and they will, our God will be walking with you each step of the way. If you’ve never committed your life to Jesus Christ, change your world today by asking God to forgive you through Jesus and committing your life to Him. You’ll change your world and the world of many others by your new life. It truly is worth it.
Oh Lord, thank You for the Resurrection showing Your power over death. Thank You for changing the whole world, and for changing my world. I pray for anyone who needs their world changed today: let them follow You.