7 SAYINGS OF THE RESURRECTED LORD
Resurrection is the foundation of our faith in Christ Jesus. You may recollect hearing the 7 sayings of the Saviour from the cross. I would like to focus our attention on the 7 sayings of the resurrected Lord. They are something like the departing words of a beloved teacher.
1) Matthew 28:10 are the first words of the resurrected Lord: "Do not be afraid." The women saw the angels at the empty tomb who told them to go and tell the disciples that Jesus had risen from the dead; they were on their way and they met Jesus. Naturally, they were scared, and so Jesus was telling them, "Do not be afraid." He was trying to calm them down as He read their thoughts. They might have gone through a lot of pain after they saw Jesus hanging on the cross and more so when they took His body and buried it in the tomb. Like many others, they thought that it was all over. So, as was the custom, they went over to the tomb on the third day to apply fragrant oils to the body of Jesus. Suddenly, they saw angels who told them that Jesus had risen from the dead and to go and tell this news to the disciples. They were on their way and they saw Jesus.
Imagine you have seen someone die in a very brutal accident; you have attended his funeral and seen him/her being buried and when you visit the tomb on the third day you see an empty tomb and some people who tell you that he/she is alive. When you are just about to leave the cemetery, you suddenly see the same person greeting you, what will your reaction be? I would just leave everything with me, make myself light, and run from there with all my strength. This was the reason why Jesus told them, "Do not be afraid"; it simply meant He was not a ghost, but He was really alive. Many-a-times we go through situations that cause us to be frightened and scared of life. Remember that the same Jesus who assured the women that He was there for them is with us in times like these. He is still saying to us, "Do not be afraid. I am there for you."
2) John 20:19. "Peace be with you." For the fear of the Jews, the disciples were together, with the doors locked. Jesus came in and said to them, "Peace be with you." These words of Jesus identify somewhat with the first words that He spoke to the women at the tomb. The disciples were fearful of the Jews that they might come, catch them and punish them as they were disciples of Jesus. Jesus, knowing this, said to His disciples, "Peace be with you." What He was saying to His disciples was that they should not let their heart be troubled, but to be peaceful, because He would give them His peace. Many-a-times, we go through situations that cause us to think, "Is God really there? Does He really care for me? Is He really looking?" In times like these, these are the words of Jesus that still speak to our lives. He is giving us His peace, not just today or tomorrow, but all through our lives, so that we may not be fearful but may live with peace in our hearts and share that peace wherever we go. Someone has rightly said, "You can only give what you have."
3) John 21:15ff. It talks about the conversation Jesus had with Peter. He asked Peter whether He loved Him, and asked him to feed His sheep and to follow Him. Now imagine, you follow a great leader and he turns back to you one day and asks you, "Do you love me?" not just once, but three times. It would naturally hurt you, wouldn't it? This explains why Peter was hurt when Jesus asked him for the third time, "Do you love Me?" Jesus turned back to Peter and said, "Feed My sheep." What He meant was to take care of His sheep, and to give them food and protection, which is the duty of every good shepherd. Jesus had already done His part as the Good Shepherd and through the example of Peter He is now handing down the responsibility to everyone who believes in Him and follows Him with a true heart.
The sheep hear the shepherd only if they obey him, and they obey him only if they love him. So, we are to love the people around us and be good shepherds so that they follow us and in turn, follow the Good Shepherd, Jesus.
4) Acts 1:4. Jesus told the disciples, "Do not leave Jerusalem, but wait for the gift of the Father which I have spoken about and promised to you." What Jesus was telling them was that they needed to be empowered and prepared; only then they should leave Jerusalem and go into the world to preach the good news. Jesus was telling them of the need to go and tell the world about Him and the good news. But before they could go and tell the world, they needed to prepare themselves. He had already told about the teachers of the Law that they wanted others to obey the Law, but most of the times they themselves disobeyed it. Referring to them Jesus said, "How can you look into your brother's eye and say there is dirt in your eye, when you yourself have a splinter in your eye. First go and remove that splinter and then go and tell your brother." He was warning His disciples. He does that today to us, not to be like others who preach, but do not practise what they preach; we must practise first, be prepared and then go and tell others. This is a very important lesson for all of us to learn. Many-a-times we are so excited about giving the Good News to others that we forget our own lives and neglect what we ourselves teach others.
5) Acts 1:8. This is a very familiar verse. The power of the Holy Spirit is given to us for being witnesses. However, the question is where are we to begin? We are to begin in Jerusalem. Our Jerusalem is the place where we live. The disciples lived in Jerusalem, and so Jesus told them that they needed to begin in Jerusalem. What He meant was that they needed to start from where they were. We need to start with our families, our neighbours, our friends and colleagues. Nevertheless we are not to stop there, but to move on, and be witnesses even in Judea, Samaria and to the ends of the earth. Simply put, we need to move on from our familiar surroundings, and go to uncharted territory. We need to leave our comfort zones like the early disciples did, and move on to places, which are not familiar to us. Let the Good News go out, so that the people there may know the Lord and have the salvation experience with Him.
6) Matthew 28:18-19 is the Great Commission given by Jesus to all His disciples. Jesus has not only given us the commission, but He has also given the authority. Now imagine you are working in a multi-national company as the MD and you have all the power and authority over everyone working in the company. If someone just talks back to you or back answers, what will you do? You will fire him/her from the job. Why? Because you have been given authority and power; so you use it. In the same way, we have been given authority by God. What use it is if we do not exercise our authority? However, we are called to exercise our authority, leave our comfort zones and go and make disciples of all the nations. Moreover, how are we going to do that? By obeying what God is telling us to do and being faithful in the little things that He is giving us to do.
7) Matthew 28:20 is the promise of Jesus that He is going to be with us to the end of the age. He will be with us forever, but only if we are faithful in whatever He gives us to do and say. God not only gives the task, He also gives us the authority with which to accomplish it, and the promise.
Let us not leave the spirit of Easter throughout the year. Let us carry the spirit of Easter fresh in our hearts and also let us carry the Good News for the whole world to hear that we serve a God who is not dead, but who is living and willing to help us in everything. Are you willing to surrender your lives into His hands and let Him be the Lord of your lives?