27,000 Sunrises

Monday, April 13, 2009

Christ has risen! He has risen indeed!

It was early in the morning when Mary Magdalene discovered that Jesus’ body was missing from the tomb. What a morning of emotions as her sorrow turned to joy when Jesus appeared to her and called her by name. At sunrise on that morning Mary Magdalene recognized Jesus.

Beginning that morning, Jesus appeared to a smattering of his followers. Each failed to recognize him until he revealed himself in a way that cast away their doubt. You see, Jesus met them where they were. He spoke to their individual concerns. Then it was up to each individual to respond.

Mary Magdalene was crying outside the tomb when Jesus appeared to her. She thought he was a gardener. Then Jesus called her name, “Mary.” She heard and believed.

The disciples, fearing the Jews, had locked themselves in a house. When Jesus appeared, he calmed their fears as he stood in the midst of them and said, “Peace to you.” But it wasn’t until he showed them his nail-pierced hands and side that they rejoiced. They saw and believed.
Thomas needed more. It was not until he put his finger in the nail holes that he was able to say, “My Master, My God!” He touched and believed.

Simon Peter needed even more. After an unsuccessful night of fishing, Peter and his disciple friends fell asleep very disappointed. The next morning Jesus appeared on the shore, unrecognized. He told them to throw the net on the other side of the boat. All of a sudden there were so many fish that they couldn’t pull them in. After experiencing this miracle, Peter acknowledged Jesus, “It’s the Master!” Peter experienced and believed.

Aren’t their experiences much like ours? Some of us are like Mary Magdalene. We need a tender voice of comfort in our sorrow. We need to hear Jesus. Jesus whispers our name and says,
“I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you.” John 14:18

Some of us are like the disciples, gripped by fear – fear of the unknown, fear of what others say about us. Maybe we’re “locked” in emotionally. We need to see Jesus working in our lives. We need to Jesus says
“Peace I leave with you; My peace I give unto you; not as the world gives, do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, nor let it be fearful. “ John 14:27
Some of us are like Thomas. We doubt and become skeptical. We hear what good things God is doing for others but don’t believe it will happen in our own lives. We need to touch God. We need for God to move mountains in order for us to believe. Jesus says,
"I tell you the truth, if anyone says to this mountain, 'Go, throw yourself into the sea,' and does not doubt in his heart but believes that what he says will happen, it will be done for him." Mark 11:23

Then some of us are like Simon Peter. We may have a history of highs and lows in our relationship with Christ. We may have praised him in one minute and denied him in the next. Or maybe we’re in a rut and like the disciples, our net comes up empty. We need to experience Jesus in a mighty way. Jesus says,
“It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners. “ Mark 2:17

Jesus meets us where we are. Whether we need to hear, to see, to touch, or to experience Jesus, he has promised to be near. He will reveal himself to us. Will we recognize him? Will we respond to him?

If you live to age 75, you will experience over 27,000 sunrises. Jesus will appear at all of them. On how many mornings will you recognize him? Like his early followers, all we have to do is accept and believe.


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