“I’ll Be Back”

He is Risen!

Happy Easter for all of you in the Northern Hemisphere!  For us down here, we’ve already celebrated Sunrise service on the beach, followed by countless folks being baptized in the surf, including 7 or 8 from our church!   My hat’s off to the those pastors who risk life and limb to wade out into the waves that threaten to take all the participants straight on to Heaven. It’s all in the timing.
After a brisk gathering on the sand (which by the way was blessed with no rain and a beautiful sunrise, in spite of the huge storms we’ve had all week, including most dreary forecasts for this morning), we made our way to church and a full house where we enjoyed great music, great preaching, and great chocolate!
Today I’ll keep this brief, since many of you are scurrying around with your own celebrations. But I just have to share a little tidbit I picked up when we were in Israel recently.

Remember the words of Matthew 28:2-6? “Suddenly there was a great earthquake because an angel of the Lord came down from heaven and rolled aside the stone and sat on it.”  I think I’ve mentioned this before, but this is the only mention in the Bible of an angel “sitting”. After all, they would never sit in the Presence of God. And I think it’s yet another illustration of what has just happened in that empty tomb. The angel is sitting, and his message is, “He’s not here”.

And then, if that wasn’t enough, the angel went on to say to the women in verse 6,  “He is not here! He has been raised from the dead just as He said would happen.  Come see where His body was lying.”

Now, I learned in Israel about a Jewish tradition that I believe many of us today also practice without knowing where it came from.  We’re told that if they leave the table during mealtime, to run an errand or whatever, they FOLD their napkin so the host knows they’ll be back momentarily. In other words, “Don’t take my plate; I’m coming back.”

Can you see where this is going?

Jesus was already GONE before the stone was rolled away. Opening the tomb was not to let Him out, but to let us in, so that we could witness what had happened.    And just so there was no mistaking His intention, Jesus took the linen napkin that had covered His face… and neatly folded it.
Something to think about as we continue through this wonderful day.  He’s alive, and He’s coming back!


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