Think about what you would do if you suddenly saw a friend who you knew had died ... but there they were doing the usual thing they have always done ... like making breakfast or something. You'd think you've seen a ghost, right?
You already know that the most significant event in the history of humankind was ... Jesus. Unique in every respect. His life, His death, the destruction of death and the salvation of the believer planned before the foundation of the world.
But the "end" of the story was kept a secret and a mystery until the resurrection. Seriously. We are so used to hearing about it and knowing the story that it's no longer a surprise. This lack of wonder makes sense, though. Have you ever seen a movie so many times that it no longer has the same power? I mean, think of a story you know SO well you can practically say the dialogue along with it. And maybe you've heard THIS story so many times and it is still very important to you, but, well, it just isn't a moment for you anymore ... so let's imagine it's your first time. Or even better ... imagine you are Peter after the death of Jesus.
"Jesus said, 'Breakfast is ready.' Not one of the disciples dared ask, 'Who are you?' They knew it was the Master." John 21:12
Peter was SO excited when he realised it was the LIVING Jesus speaking to him from the beach that he jumped from a boat into the water with his clothes on ... he didn't wait for any welcome to walk on water, he took the plunge and just - WENT FOR IT. And what did he find that Jesus was doing when he finally got to Him? The same thing He was doing when they met Him, but this time at a fire. He was preparing a breakfast. Gotta love that. Plus, He had the same message both times too! "FOLLOW. ME." And the last time, some of them hadn't seen Him since He was dead. I think I'd be answering that request post haste ... how about you?
You know that this is an event that changed you once and has a power that has changed the world. Its message is eternal freedom. It is a message that has divided families, friends, and nations. It has also united loved ones, calmed the restless, and brought peace to those at war. Some are uncomfortable hearing this story, but it is a message that is the hope of the saint and the glory of the believer.
The cross and resurrection demonstrate the power, holiness, love, mercy, wrath, righteousness, and patience of God. It is grace magnified. And as a follower of Jesus, are you rejoicing in every remembrance of this moment? It was for YOU He died on the cross. He resurrected for YOU. I know I'm asking you a lot of questions ... but is it not evident that a person educes Jesus not by a barren faith but by faith fruitful through their life?
"The very moment you separate body and spirit, you end up with a corpse. Separate faith and works and you get the same thing: a corpse." James 2:26
So, um ... how DO you get rid of that 'dead body?' Don't fret. It has already happened. He IS risen and is no longer a slave to death. He IS risen and has opened all doors. Although He died on that "old rugged cross" and paid the price for you and me, He forever LIVES in victory and is the RISEN King of Kings.
Of course, I hope you aren't a "corpse" as James warns, but if you know you are on the verge of spiritual death ... how do you 'get rid' of (or better yet, resurrect) YOUR dead body?
Now you may have travelled a path that has taken you to a place where this is old stuff. I hope you can pardon this little Easter altar call. Take some tips from Peter. I promised you some actionable tips, so here we go! Since He IS alive ...
SINCE HE IS ALIVE, GET "OUT OF THE BOAT" AND RUN. Whether or not Peter has entirely digested a belief of Christ’s deity at this time in his life or not is doubtful. Still, he does recognize the remarkable authority that Jesus must maintain if He can make His path on top of the swells and tides of that water. Such faith inspires Peter to ask for confirmation from Jesus to hop off the boat and meet Him upon the SEA!
Jesus said, "come to me." For you, this call may be a matter of movement or a something that frightens you to step out in FAITH, but DOES mean that He’s over there, and you need to go in order to get from to "there" with His from where you are. Time to move....
Worldly humanism centres on how human beings can lead to happy and useful lives. That's great. But it also says that human beings are competent of being upright and kind and honest people without religion or God. It neither leaves humans to be innately evil or inherently good. It presents humans as superior to "our nature." But without God you would have no life at all. And outside of Christ, there is no reality. There is no logic. There is no reason. There is no reason to BE. Everything in this world was made to point us to Christ. Your next breath comes FROM Christ and is to go back TO Christ.
SINCE HE IS ALIVE, YOU CAN KEEP YOUR BODY & SPIRIT TOGETHER. If you are weary of trying to save yourself, clean up your own life or get to God by your own effort He’s saying, "Come to Me, I’ll give you rest. The very thing you’re trying to work for, I’ve already accomplished." (Matt. 11:28)
We must solely depend on Jesus because, without Him, we have blank, zip, ZERO. But with Him, we have everything. When you don’t have Jesus, you already know that you don’t indeed have LIFE, and you also don't have power over those waves that come at all.
SINCE HE IS ALIVE, IT WILL BE HARDER FOR YOU TO SEPARATE FAITH AND WORKS. I say this with all respect for you, but just in case you need to hear it (we ALL do! I DO!): live like a follower, not a corpse.
We must solely depend on Jesus because, without Him, we have blank, zip, ZERO. But with Him, we have everything. When you don’t have Jesus, you already know that you do not indeed have LIFE, and you also are without the power over those waves that come at all.
In so many ways, Peter was a man like us, with life like us. Complex as it was in many ways, his life was basically the same. I am not making this up! Your faith, your encounter with God’s grace, your legacy with the saints is the same as Peter’s. And this is the same as that of any Christian, at any time, in any place.
These matters are far more significant to the meaning of human life than the cell phone or space travel or a global pandemic. Sin, blessed grace, the existence of heaven and hell, and the call by our Creator (who is also our Savior) is for us to live lives of obedience to Him.
Oh, and once you jump out of your cosy boat, don't forget to run and do what Peter did ... go have breakfast with Jesus.
I know he'll be happy to see you.
We talked about how Peter reacted to seeing Jesus after His death. Please enjoy this wonderful song, HE'S ALIVE, that helps us consider how Peter may have reacted to the wonderful news of Jesus and how we can too. I first heard this when it was first written and released by Don Fransisco and years later, Dolly Parton also made a passionate recording. I have offered both lovely versions below for you to enjoy. Choose one or watch both. They are both amazing in different ways. Enjoy!
Below is Dolly singing acoustically from her home studio during COVID-19 in 2020. Thanks, Dolly!