Greetings to you this Friday! As we saw in yesterday’s study, “Greetings” is the way Jesus spoke as He appeared in His risen state to Mary Magdalene after her leaving the tomb where His body had been laid to rest. This is the same Mary out of whom He had driven seven demons. I can just imagine Jesus being happy to be with Mary and having a big grin on His face as he said “Greetings!” How surprised Mary must have been. Wow! What mighty works Jesus had done in her life. No wonder she had such a fond devotion and love for Him! Jesus definitely changes lives! After this encounter with Jesus, Mary then faithfully went and told those who had been with Him and who were now mourning and weeping over His death. I can just imagine how devastating it must have been to these disciples to be in a place of being separated and without their beloved Jesus. Without Jesus, life would be hard going which speaks to my heart that we need to keep going and telling others about Jesus in hopes that they who are weeping and mourning in their lives can have hope! Sometimes in doing so, there are those who will not believe us and that is what happened when Mary first went to the disciples. After Mary, Jesus appeared in a different form to two of His disciples as they were walking in the Country and these two returned and reported it back to the others that they had seen the risen Lord and they didn’t believe the two either. But God doesn’t give up on people easy. He desires that none perish, but that all have repentance. He desires that all have the saving knowledge and good news of Jesus. Because the disciples did not believe Mary’s testimony nor the story of the two disciples, Jesus Himself appeared to the eleven as they were eating. There was only eleven as Judas Iscariot had committed suicide because of the evil one’s influence on him over his perceived failing in life. If only he had been able to learn from his mistake, confess his sin to Jesus and accept His grace, how different his life could have been. Perhaps this is why Jesus was so concerned about Peter’s heart-broken state over his denial of Him. Jesus had already lost one of His loved ones to the enemy and He didn’t want to lose Peter whom He loved. Depression is an awful thing. There is help for depression and if you battle with it, I encourage you to seek out Godly help in overcoming it so that it does not overcome you. You are too loved and precious to our Father to allow physical problems that can cause depression or the evil one to destroy you! Please seek help quickly so that you are healthy. As Jesus appeared to His disciples while they were eating, He gave them the food of rebuke for their lack of faith and their stubborn refusal to believe those who had seen Him after He had risen. Ouch! Hmmm. Is this a lesson for me? I’m asking myself what are my fellow believers telling me that I am being stubborn about and refusing to accept? Where in my life am I lacking in faith? After pointing this out to His disciples, He said to them: “Go into all the world and preach the good news to all creation. Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned. He said that in His name, there would be amazing signs that would accompany those who believe. This is the great commission our Dad has given to us all and we all have part in it! What is my part and what is your part? Maybe you are one who is to physically go into the whole world telling the good news of Jesus and baptizing those who internally place their faith in Him for salvation and are willing to make an external or public confession of their saving faith in Jesus through baptism. Perhaps your part is to support the one going through prayer, sharing your giftedness in some way or providing financial support that is needed to keep one going out into the world. I encourage us to not be found by Jesus lacking in faith or being stubborn in refusing to believe Him. Yikes!!! Moving ahead to what’s next in the story, we see that after speaking these things, Jesus was taken up into Heaven where He now sits at the right hand of God. The disciples thankfully got His message and faithfully went out and preached everywhere and the Lord worked with them and confirmed His Word by the signs that accompanied the message. Hence, you and I as Dad’s kids received the message. Praise Dad and bless our brothers and sisters before us who faithfully carried the baton of faith to us. What will we now do with it? Hey, Dad has a great idea for us: let’s put on our faith sneakers, take the baton of His good news and run with it in such a way as to bless others and get the prize that waits at the end of the race. Whoohoo!!! On our mark, get set. Well, gonna run. I’m with ya in heart!
Mk 16:9-20; Lk 24:13-53; 1 Co 9:24; He 12:1-3; 2 Pe 3:8-9