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April 7, 2018

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by Robby Higginbottom

Now after the Sabbath, toward the dawn of the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went to see the tomb. And behold, there was a great earthquake, for an angel of the Lord descended from heaven and came and rolled back the stone and sat on it. His appearance was like lightning, and his clothing white as snow. And for fear of him the guards trembled and became like dead men. But the angel said to the women, "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 heSome manuscripts the Lord lay. Then go quickly and tell his disciples that he has risen from the dead, and behold, he is going before you to Galilee; there you will see him. See, I have told you." So they departed quickly from the tomb with fear and great joy, and ran to tell his disciples. And behold, Jesus met them and said, "Greetings!" And they came up and took hold of his feet and worshiped him. Then Jesus
said to them, "Do not be afraid; go and tell my brothers to go to Galilee, and there they will see me."

Matthew 28:1-10 (https://pcpc.us1.list-manage.com/track/click?u=eba67192d3a27da52e93fefb8&id=9e32869833&e=82a9a8f891)

 

How do you feel when someone says, “I told you so”? An interesting tension exists in the resurrection narratives in the Gospels. On one side, we have trembling guards and fearful women and perplexed disciples. Everyone seems so surprised by the empty tomb. On the other side, we have Jesus and angels, who don’t seem surprised in the least. “He is not here, for He has risen, as He said” (Matthew 28:6). What do we make of this angelic “I told you so”?

When people say, “I told you so,” they’re often trying to tear us down. But when the Lord says it, He intends to build us up. The various responses to the resurrection reveal a kind of scriptural amnesia. Confronted with the horror of the cross and the triumph of the resurrection, the disciples simply forget what the Scriptures say—and what the Lord Himself has said! As the news spreads, some of His followers remember His words (Luke 24:8), while others think it’s “an idle tale” and struggle to believe (Luke 24:11). Jesus even tells two travelers, “O foolish ones, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken!” (Luke 24:25). Without question, the risen Christ wants His people to rejoice in His victory. But He also wants the resurrection to build their confidence in His word.

The Lord loves the argument from the greater to the lesser. “He who did not spare His own Son but gave Him up for us all, how will He not also with Him graciously give us all things?” (Romans 8:32). If God has already accomplished the greater thing (not sparing His own Son), how will He not also accomplish the lesser thing (graciously giving us all things)? The Lord’s “I told you so” suggests a similar argument. “If Christ has been faithful to His promise to rise again—as He said—how will He not also be faithful to every other promise He has made?” The resurrection invites us to take God at His word, to cultivate a humble confidence in His great and precious promises (2 Peter 1:4). Should we be shocked when God does what He says He would do?

By God’s grace, we can put this “argument” to work this week. If we’re anxious, we can cast our anxieties on Him, because He cares for us, as He said (1 Peter 5:7). If we’re tempted, we can be confident that He will provide a way out, as He said (1 Corinthians 10:12-13). If we’re lonely, we can trust that He will never leave or forsake us, as He said (Hebrews 13:5). If we feel inadequate to be His ambassadors, we can remember that our sufficiency is from Him, as He said (2 Corinthians 3:5). If we feel cut off from His love, we can remind ourselves that nothing can separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord, as He said (Romans 8:37-39). If we’re facing death, we can be confident that we will be united with Him in His resurrection, as He said (Romans 6:5).

Friends, Christ is risen, as He said. All the promises of God have found their “Yes” in Jesus Christ (2 Corinthians 1:20)! May we come and see the glory of the risen Christ on full display in His word. May He cause our hearts to burn as He opens the Scriptures to us (Luke 24:32). And like the morning of the resurrection, may He give us joy to go and tell, as He said (Matthew 28:10).

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About the Author

Robby Higginbottom
Assistant Pastor of College Ministry
Park Cities Presbyterian Church

Robby Higginbottom was born and raised in Dallas, Texas. As early as high school, he sensed the Lord calling him to pastoral ministry. Robby is a graduate of Highland Park High School, Duke University, and Redeemer Seminary. Through the years, he has worked with high school students, college students, and young adults at PCPC. Robby currently serves as an assistant pastor. He is married to Ann, and they have two children: Will and John Harper.

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God's Holy Fire from Heartlight

God's Holy Fire is a daily devotional about the work of the Holy Spirit in our lives.
  • How Foolish Can You Be?

    How foolish can you be? After starting your Christian lives in the Spirit, why are you now trying to become perfect by your own human effort?

    Galatians 3:3 NLT

    Key Thought

    Try harder! Be better! Achieve more! Seek perfection! These are all messages that we hear every day in our competitive world. In fact, these admonitions can help in many areas of our lives. However, there is one area that they do not help: becoming holy like God! Yes, we need to obey God. Yes, we must offer ourselves to God for his service. Yes, we should yearn to be holy as God is holy. However, without the work of the Holy Spirit, we will never become like Jesus. The Spirit convicts us, purifies us, gives spiritual gifts to us, empowers us, and transforms us to become like Jesus. Our effort alone cannot bring about these changes in us; we must depend on the Spirit's work to accomplish all these changes. While this dependence on the Spirit may feel counter-intuitive to our pursuit of Christ-likeness, this trust in the Spirit is an indispensable element of God's grace. The Father delivered us from sin and death through the gift of his Son. We become like Jesus as we offer ourselves to God through the gift of the Holy Spirit. Our own efforts, our own power, and our own attempts at perfection will always fall short of God's holiness and majesty. Only the "Holy Gift" within us can transform us into the very nature of Jesus (2 Corinthians 3:18).

    Today's Prayer

    O Father, I do want to be holy as you are holy. I do want to live with your righteous character and your gracious compassion. So I offer myself — my life, my gifts, my time, my money, my all — to serve you. But I know, dear Father, that these things will fall far short of your perfection and glory, and so I ask for your Holy Spirit to do his work in me. In Jesus' name, I pray. Amen.


    Ⓒ 1996-2018 Heartlight, Inc. This material may not be reproduced in part or whole for commercial use without written consent. The Thoughts and Prayer for God's Holy Fire are written by Phil Ware.

    Scripture quotations marked (NIV) are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.

    Scripture quotations marked MESSAGE are taken from THE MESSAGE, copyright © 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 2000, 2001, 2002 by Eugene H. Peterson. Used by permission of NavPress. All rights reserved. Represented by Tyndale House Publishers, Inc.

  • How Did You Receive the Spirit?

    I would like to learn just one thing from you: Did you receive the Spirit by observing the law, or by believing what you heard?

    Galatians 3:2 NIV

    Key Thought

    Most of us love lists. We can check things off our lists and show we've completed our tasks. If we don't complete our list, we feel like we deserve any negative consequences. The Holy Spirit, however, is not something we deserve. The Spirit is a gift Jesus gives to those who believe in him — those who trust in and share with Jesus in his death, burial, and resurrection through baptism (1 Corinthians 15:1-5; Romans 6:3-6). Paul was reminding these Galatian Christians that no list, not even one given in the law, can bring the Holy Spirit to them. They received the Spirit because they fully believed in Jesus who poured out this gift upon them (Titus 3:3-7). No wonder Jesus talked about the Holy Spirit as one of God's greatest gifts (Luke 11:11-13).

    Today's Prayer

    O Father, thank you for the gift of your Son who died for my sins and was raised from the dead to give me the victory over sin and death. I also thank you, dear Father, for the gift of the Holy Spirit who is your presence that lives in me. May my life be to your glory, O God. In the name of Jesus, I offer you my deepest thanks! Amen.


    Ⓒ 1996-2018 Heartlight, Inc. This material may not be reproduced in part or whole for commercial use without written consent. The Thoughts and Prayer for God's Holy Fire are written by Phil Ware.

    Scripture quotations marked (NIV) are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.

    Scripture quotations marked MESSAGE are taken from THE MESSAGE, copyright © 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 2000, 2001, 2002 by Eugene H. Peterson. Used by permission of NavPress. All rights reserved. Represented by Tyndale House Publishers, Inc.

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