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Not Here!

September 22, 2020

“The angel said to the women, “Do not be afraid, for I know you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified. He is not here; he has risen, just as he said. Come and see the place where he lay.” Matthew 28:5-6

Can you imagine what it would be like to go to the gravesite of someone you deeply loved three days after they were buried only to find an angel telling you telling you he/she is gone. It sure would make me scratch my balding head to see an unearthed grave with an empty coffin.

When the men assigned to guard the tomb first saw the angel, ‘…the guards were so afraid of him that they shook and were like dead men’ as written in Matthew 28. These guards had been given strict orders by Pilate to guard the tomb where Jesus had been laid. Otherwise, his disciples may come and steal the body and tell the people he has been raised from the dead. This last deception will be worse than the first.” Matthew 27:64-65

Not here - The resurrection of Jesus Christ makes Him different and superior to every person who has ever lived on earth. Every religious founder, from Confucius to Martin Luther to John Smith, Jr. has died and stayed dead, except Jesus. All other religions of the world can point to a founder and then point to a grave or tomb. Only followers of Christ can point to an empty tomb and say, “Our founder is alive!”. Jesus sits at the right hand of the Father in Heaven.

Not here - He is risen, the tomb is empty. In John 12:32, Jesus said,And I when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all people to myself.” I love studying the Bible and have considered the words in this verse in several ways.

A. As a new believer, I was convinced this verse was referring to His ascension into to Heaven where He is seated at the right hand of the Father. My thoughts were he spiritually drew us into Heaven like a magnet with miraculous power.

B. About twenty years ago, I asked a Pastor what he thought this verse meant and he told me it referred to the Lord’s resurrection. He went on to tell me about the dunamis power God used to raise Jesus from the dead. The word dunamis is a Greek word from which we derive our English words dynamite and dynamic. The word dunamis, as used by Paul in the book of Romans refers to the boundless power of God.

C. When discussing this with my wife, she thought it meant when Jesus was lifted on the cross, it is what causes us to believe. She went on to tell me how the cross itself is a symbol of Christianity all over the world.

D. The other night as I lifted songs of praise during an hour of worship online with, I felt like we (over 100 tuned in) were being drawn closer to Jesus. What a special feeling when Facebook connects us closer to Jesus as we lift our voices in praise as Believers!

Which way of looking at this verse is correct? A. B. C. or D. The answer is E. all the above. There are more ways to consider this profound statement. Jesus said this to show the kind of death He was going to die. This is in fulfillment of the promise made in John 3:16, “For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life.” This is what makes Jesus the only Way to the Father.

The old Ruben is Not Here - When I accepted Christ as my Lord and Savior, my transformation happened instantly. As written in Broken Walk: Searching For Wisdom: “at age 47, I repented of my sins and by faith, accepted Christ as my Lord and Savior that crisp November morning. Immediately, a rushing wave of warmth, peace and love seemed to cover me from head to toe. It also felt like electricity dancing through my veins. My lungs seemed to become unclogged as I breathed in Life and I began sweating profusely. It seemed like a 100-pound weight was taken off my shoulders. Wow! I felt like I was 20 years younger and in spiritual reality I was, because the old was gone and now I was a new creation.”

At first, I was a little worried when I got around draft beer, as well as being at required business dinners with other executive managers. Drinking had been a way of life for the prior thirty years. My manner of speaking also needed some attention as I used strong language to motivate other managers and supervisors to ‘move the mail’. My excuse to Irma at that time was, “I’m going to use some profanity, but I don’t mean it. I just need to get their attention.” My drinking dried up immediately and my potty-mouth received some Spirit-filled water that sanitized my mouth.

As a new believer, I could not wait to tell one of my homies, Coop, about my becoming a born-again Christian. He laughed for a minute straight and told me I was the last person he thought would do this

. I could not understand why he laughed so much. He quickly reminded me of some of the hoodlum things we had done together. It was like my memory of those days had been erased from my brain. “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, a new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here.” 2 Corinthians 5:17

Make a decision to follow Christ right now. You cannot go back and change the beginning but, you can start where you are right now and change the ending. If I can do it, you can too!

Becoming a Christian is as easy as ABC

A. Admit you have sinned and come short of the Glory of God (Romans 3:23; 6:23; 1 John 1:10)

B. Believe in the Lord Jesus Christ and you will be saved (Acts 16:31; John 1:12)

C. Confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved (Romans 10:9; Ephesians 2:8-9)

God loves you and wants a relationship with you. He knows you better than anyone does and loves you more than anyone ever will. He does not want anyone to perish, but all to have eternal life with Him. We will all die, and we will all live somewhere for eternity. Where you live in eternity can be determined now. The choice is yours, TODAY, to have your name written in the Lamb’s Book of Life.

So, here is the question, Do you believe in Jesus?? I pray you do not answer: NOT HERE

He is risen, just as He said, and the tomb is empty!

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As always, we’ll said brother. 🙌🏼

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