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Stone Cold Reality
Friday, March 29, 2024 by Dave Holland

 

“They were startled and frightened, thinking they saw a ghost. He said to them, ‘Why are you troubled, and why do doubts rise in your minds? Look at my hands and my feet. It is I myself! Touch me and see; a ghost does not have flesh and bones, as you see I have.’”

“When he had said this, he showed them his hands and feet. And while they still did not believe it because of joy and amazement, he asked them, ‘Do you have anything here to eat?’ They gave him a piece of broiled fish, and he took it and ate it in their presence.” Luke 24:36-43

 

Nothing’s meaner than death. When my brother died at fifty-two years of age, all the hope for his life vaporized in a moment. After the failed surgery, his humor and laughter left forever. My heart broke for what could have been.

Surely death comes for us all, even Jesus.

In Luke 23, we find Jesus buried in Joseph’s tomb. Lying in the stone-cold reality of death, the Roman guards closed the rock cave of a tomb and sealed the entrance with a massive stone. The guards probably anticipated a boring night.  

Two grieving women approached the tomb at dawn, expecting to prepare Christ’s body for burial. Instead, they found the guards asleep, the stone rolled away, and a pair of glowing angels saying, “Why do you seek the living among the dead?” (v. 24:5) Wait, what? Where’s Jesus?

Later that night, the grieving disciples huddled in fear. The women’s report was too incredible for the disciples to grasp. Then Cleopas burst into the room, claiming he talked to Jesus on the road to Emmaus.

That’s when IT happened. A walking, talking dead man appeared in the room. “Peace be to you, He says, for they were terrified.” (dh) No kidding.

Jesus said, “Look at my scarred hands and feet. Touch me. I’m not a ghost or a fantasy. I’m alive,” (dh). Their stone-cold reality of death stood before them clothed in flesh and bones, alive.

Demonstrating both his divinity and humanity, he rose in bodily form. Just look at his man-sized appetite. It is as if he is saying, “This resurrection business is hard work. I’ve been to hell and back, and I’m hungry. Peter, will you pass the fish?” (dh). Their grievous reality of death turned into a marvelous manifestation of life. Jesus is alive, and man is he real.

There are moments in life that change everything. Births, marriages, and deaths are three of the big ones. But when the truth of a resurrected Jesus penetrates our doubts and we decide to believe in Christ, amazing starts to happen. Our eternal destiny transforms from the stone-cold reality of eventual death into a warm, pulsating faith.

Over five hundred people saw the dead Savior alive. Though persecuted, tortured, and threatened with death, these believers would never deny what they saw. Thus, there is more legal evidence supporting Christ rose from the dead than there is for Julius Caesar even existing.

The most astounding fact in human history is that Jesus rose from the dead. This truth has divided people into two groups for thousands of years. Christians and non-Christians, believers and unbelievers. All must choose what they are going to believe.

Christian author Brennan Manning says in his book, Abba’s Child, “For me the most radical demand of Christian faith lies in summoning the courage to say yes to the present risenness of Jesus Christ.” Saying yes not only requires faith but also a response of obedience.

Jesus is saying to you, “Look at me through the eyes of faith. Touch my scars, know that I am real and alive,” (dh). Look at his hands, feet, and scars as evidence of his love for you. The first step of faith is responding to the intimate reality of your living Lord. Christ not only died for you, he lives for you.

Episcopalian pastor Phillips Brooks says. “Christ’s resurrection gives me the hope and certainty that I will one day rise to be with him. Let every man and woman count himself immortal. Let him catch the revelation of Jesus in his resurrection. Let him say not merely, ‘Christ is risen,’ but ‘I shall rise,’” I’m thankful that my brother believed in Christ and though his death was a great disappointment, he is in heaven now.

Imagine Jesus stepping into your living room and saying, “Look at me, touch me, believe in me.” 

Just tell him, “Yes, Lord, I believe.”

 

(quotes followed with dh are my translation of Christ’s conversation in this passage.)


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