Monday, 28 July 2014

TFTD - 27 July 2014 - Thoughts from Today's Bible Readings

27 July 2014

2 Samuel 13
Jeremiah 17
Matthew 28

“WITH FEAR AND GREAT JOY” 

Fear seems to be incompatible with joy!  Yet “fear” in the Bible often means a feeling of complete awe, being overwhelmed with feelings of astonishment at some event.  Now, how can you experience this - and have joy at the same time?  The answer is seen when you really put your minds to imagining the situation described in our Matthew reading (Chapter 28) today.  “Toward the dawn … Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went to see the tomb (of Jesus)” [Matthew 28:1]

They (and it seems from the other Gospels that there was at least one other woman) got up in the middle of the night; their object was to embalm the body of their Lord, [Mark 16:1] their last opportunity to do so before it began to decompose. They probably did not know that Nicodemus had brought “a mixture of myrrh and aloes” [John 19:39] when they put the body into the tomb.

They get to the tomb and to their awe an angel is there and says to them, “Do not be afraid for I know that you seek Jesus who was crucified.  He is not here, for he has risen, as he said.  Come, see the place where he lay. Then go quickly and tell his disciples that he has risen from the dead … so they departed quickly from the tomb with fear and great joy” [Matthew 28:5-8]  Can we enter into their feelings at least a little?

Jesus met them “and they came up and took hold of his feet and worshipped him.” [Matthew 28:9] The risen Lord is now their Lord in an even greater sense.  The women were the first to really believe - they had been among the women watching the crucifixion from a distance [Matthew 27:55-56], they had been the ones willing to get up in the middle of the night, dress and with flickering burning “torches” wend their way to the garden in which was his tomb [John 19:41] and the dawn was just breaking as they arrived.

Our world is in deep spiritual darkness, but the dawn must be near. Are we awake and ready for our time “of fear and great joy”?  The inexpressible drama of the return of our Lord from heaven will totally confound the minds of everyone!  They cannot even begin to comprehend the nature of the experience of the time of trouble about to come.  It will be greater than anything ever seen on earth before!  At that time God’s angels gather will his elect! [Matthew 24:31]  Dare you not believe?  What agonies of mind will all others experience.  Let us read and meditate on God’s word as often as we can  “encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.” [Hebrews 10:25]
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- DC


Thought for the Day

27 July 2014

"The love of God and love of neighbour were not sectioned off in the Lord’s life; they were interconnected and indivisible in his words and actions. Even in his death we see, on the one hand, a loving obedience to his heavenly Father and, on the other, we see him laying down his life for his friends. The Lord Jesus’s whole life-in every part-was lived in the context of his faith. At all times and in all activities, every word and attitude was motivated by a central love of God."

- Martin Turton
Bearing the Infirmities of the Weak (1996)