Jonathan's Perspective  

Apr 23

'WHAT IS YOUR STORY?'

The resurrection stories of Jesus are full of encouragement. While resurrection is about new life, a ‘new creation’ and forgiveness of sins, it is much more personal than that. The 30-thousand-foot view of the resurrection is awe inspiring, reason to celebrate, and covers us with a tremendous sense of peace. The one-inch view is grittier; at least is was for Mary Magdalene, Peter, and Thomas. Perhaps you might identify with one of them.

We read in Luke 8 that Mary Magdalene was in spiritual chaos, battling her demons and confusion. Jesus cast out the demons and restored life-giving spiritual order. Out of her gratitude, she followed Jesus as many did, helping to support the disciples out of their own money. Mary Magdalene was the first one to the tomb because she was bringing oils and spices to embalm Jesus’ body. Because of her love and devotion, she became the first witness to the world-changing resurrection of Jesus! Jesus took her out of spiritual chaos, restored spiritual order, and granted her the first witness to his victory over sin and death.

Peter was someone of great faith. He saw Jesus heal, teach, forgive, cast out demons, and baptize many who repented. Peter walked on water and was the first to proclaim Jesus as Messiah. But Peter deeply betrayed Jesus at his hour of need. Peter fled when the guards came to arrest Jesus. He denied Jesus three times with visceral lies and cursing. He did not follow Jesus along the road to his crucifixion. While other disciples are described at the foot of the cross, Peter was not. Yet, the resurrected Jesus went to Peter and asked Peter if he loved him. Peter was cut to the quick. By the third question, Peter was in deep emotional pain. But Jesus said, ‘feed my sheep.’ Jesus restored Peter to leadership. Jesus forgave Peter. Peter’s story goes from faithful follower, to betrayer, back to faithful follower.

Thomas could come from the ‘Show Me’ state of Missouri. For an entire week Thomas would not believe the others when they told their stories of how they met the resurrected Lord. A week after the resurrection Jesus came to the disciples again. Jesus told Thomas to feel the wounds in his hands and side. With that, Thomas fell on his knees proclaiming, ‘My Lord and my God!’ Thomas went from being a skeptic to a believer. Thomas would later tell the good news in India with the results of many generations of Jesus followers for 2,000 years!

Each resurrection story is as unique as the individual involved. Jesus is profoundly interested in our individual healing. Perhaps you relate to one of these characters: the one in spiritual chaos, the betrayer, or the cynical skeptic. No matter our life’s condition, no matter where we have been or how broken we are, Jesus wants to restore us – even you. Jesus didn’t die for an idea or a philosophy. He did it for each of us. But he went even one step further. He rose from the dead to give us a profoundly rich and joyful new life in God – Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Have you entered into that life in Jesus? Where are you now in the story of your life?

Inviting you further into the Kingdom,

Jonathan

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