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News for Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Sunday School Lesson — Explore the Bible
April 20: Be Amaped By the Resurrection
By Aubrey Hay
retired, TBC staff

Focal Passage: Mark 14:32-16:8

Our lesson today is the most important and the most cherished truth of the Christian faith — Resurrection Day. The account in Mark covers the whole span of Holy Week, the eight day period from Jesus’ arrest, trial, crucifixion, burial, and resurrection. No other biblical event comes close to this event in importance. It is surrounded by the lurid account of the actions of men who carried out the assault on Jesus, the Son of God, and it starts with betrayal.

In a sense, the act of Judas encapsulates all human sins that made the cross necessary. Mankind was and is in a sorry mess. While we can narrate the actions of his assailants as well we should, and justly lay blame at their/our feet, it was God’s action and love that is here portrayed. Betrayal and the acts that follow reveal man’s worst; the cross and the resurrection reveals God’s best.

Believers cannot come to these events without a feeling of deep humility. These are the steps God took to make us right. In one of our staff retreats the leader led us in an extended narrative of these events. The story was not new; we had heard it in lessons and sermons all our lives. He told the old story of the trial and suffering and the death of Jesus. The room was quiet as we sat in deep reverence. A few sobs were heard, then more, as we were caught up in the sacredness of the moment. And so it should always be, for this is what Jesus did to make us right. When Harry Truman was president, a group of radicals stormed the Blair House where Truman resided. His security guards protected him, killing the attackers. One security guard was killed in the fight. A shaken president said, “I never knew how it felt to have someone die for me,” but he should have, for Mr. Truman was a professing Christian. He was simply expressing a feeling that all of us have had. The sheer enormity of what Christ has done should move us out of complacency and bring reaffirmation to our lives.

There is more of course than being moved in a service. The call is for us to believe and to believe in such a way that people everywhere would want to know what it is that makes us different. The centurion, who may have been in charge of the gruesome act of crucifixion, watched Jesus as he breathed his last breath said, “This man really was God’s Son!”

The climactic stroke in this portrait of love is the resurrection. Without this event all that had gone on before would be just a tragic story. Many terrible crucifixions have occurred in history, most we have no knowledge about. Without the resurrection, Jesus’ crucifixion would have been one of these.

What follows now is the most remarkable event in human history, the resurrection of our Lord. From all accounts, this was an unexpected event. After the crucifixion the disciples had apparently scattered. A pall of depression and bewilderment would have been experienced by them all. Then early morning on the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James, and Salome came to the tomb to anoint the body of Jesus.

As the women wondered who would help them to roll the stone from the entrance of the tomb they discovered it was already open, a messenger in white clothing announced: “Don’t be alarmed. You are looking for Jesus the Nazarene which was crucified. He has been resurrected! He is not here! See the place where they put him.” So was announced the greatest news to mankind. Jesus is alive! Hallelujah!

— Hay, a former pastor and retiree from the Tennessee Baptist Convention, lives in Dyersburg.

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