Clergy View: He lives
The man was in a funk.
The man had been in a prolonged stage of doubt, depression and worry over the things he was dealing with in his life. After a number of days of this, his wife showed up at the dinner table wearing a black dress worn during a time of grieving. The man asked his wife, "Who died? His wife responded, "Jesus did." The man replied, "I know Jesus died but we also know he rose from the dead." His wife asked him, "Are you sure? By the way you are acting and moping around the house I wasn't sure if you knew Jesus was alive." After that, the man got out of his funk. He wrote in large letters on a piece of paper, "He lives!" and put it on the refrigerator as a daily reminder.
Knowing and believing Jesus was alive made a huge difference in the lives of his first followers. Knowing and believing Jesus is alive makes a big difference in the lives of his followers today.
Knowing Jesus is alive means we do not have to live with doubt.
When Jesus first rose from the dead, he told the women at the tomb to go and tell his disciples to go north to Galilee. There, in Galilee, they would see Jesus. After seeing Jesus Easter Sunday evening and the following Sunday evening, they went north to Galilee. Sure enough, Jesus was there just like he said would be. He was alive. He keeps his promises. No matter where those first followers of Jesus went in the future, Jesus would be there with them.
When we know and believe Jesus is alive, we do not have to doubt his presence in our lives either. He will always be there. Jesus asks us to move forward into the future. Sometimes we wonder what it will be like next year at this time, five years from now, 10 years from now. We don't know every detail about the future. But we move forward anyway, like the disciples went to Galilee. Because when we get there, Jesus will be right there with us because he said he would be. He is alive. He keeps his promises. So live with confidence, not doubt, about who is with you in your life.
Knowing Jesus is alive means we do not have to live with worry.
When the disciples first arrived in Galilee, they went fishing. They were getting skunked until Jesus told them to start fishing from the right side of the boat. They netted 153 fish. Because Jesus was alive he had the power to provide. They did not have to worry. Jesus had always provided for them ever since they started following him. Jesus would provide for them as they started to take the Gospel to the world after Jesus ascended into heaven.
When we know and believe Jesus is alive, we do not have to live with worry either. Jesus tells us he feeds the birds of the air. He says if I feed them, I will feed you because you are much more valuable than they are. Jesus tells us he clothes the grass of the field. He says if I clothe them, I will clothe you. Jesus gives us what we need, even when we give up things to follow him. Jesus will provide. He always has. He is alive. Jesus knows when times are tough. He knows when we've been fishing all night and getting skunked. He knows when we're spinning our wheels. But, even then, he provides. So live trusting Jesus is alive and because he is alive, you do not have to worry.
Knowing Jesus is alive means we do not have to live with guilt.
When Peter saw Jesus on the shore of the Sea of Galilee on their fishing trip, he jumped out of the boat and ran to Jesus. How could he do that after he denied knowing Jesus just days earlier? Because a living Savior always forgives. Peter knew Jesus loved him and forgave him. Peter did not have to pay for his sin. He did not have to carry guilt around with him. Why? Because when Jesus rose from the dead it meant God the Father accepted His Son's death as the payment for sin. What a difference that made in Peter's life. God wasn't holding anything against Peter. His sin was gone because of Jesus.
When we know and believe Jesus is alive, we can live free from guilt as well. How can we run to Jesus in life and in death with joy and confidence after all the sins we have committed?
Because a living Savior always forgives. God the Father has accepted Jesus' death as the payment for your sin. It's gone. You do not have to pay for your sin. You don't have to carry your sin around. Jesus paid for it. Jesus carried it. So live your life guilt-free, knowing God forgives all your sins because of Jesus.
That's God's good word for you today. We will have difficulties in life. There will be funks we get in. Sometimes it seems like all we're doing is spinning our wheels and getting skunked. But always remember at the end of the day, every day, Jesus is alive. He lives. No doubts. No worries. No guilt.