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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.
  • Who Can Argue with These Qualities?

    For the Kingdom of God is not a matter of what we eat or drink, but of living a life of goodness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit. If you serve Christ with this attitude, you will please God, and others will approve of you, too.

    Romans 14:17-18 NLT

    Key Thought

    Who can argue with goodness, peace, and joy? These three virtues are not obtained just by human effort. Yes, a passion to possess these godly qualities is necessary, but the source of these qualities is the Holy Spirit alive in us. Goodness, peace, and joy have their source in God's nature and are made real in us through the work of the Holy Spirit. As we invite the Holy Spirit to reign over our inner being, our character is transformed to be more and more like Jesus (2 Corinthians 3:17-18). So let's yearn for the Holy Spirit to transform us to be ever more like Christ and trust that the Spirit's influence will be displayed in our lives through goodness, peace, and joy.

    Today's Prayer

    Father, don't let me be distracted by, or addicted to, food or drink. I want to be sustained and fed spiritually and emotionally by the presence of your Holy Spirit within me. I specifically pray that your goodness, peace, and joy will become more and more apparent in my life as I seek to honor Christ and yield myself to the influence of your Spirit. 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.

  • Confirmation

    I speak the truth in Christ — I am not lying, my conscience confirms it through the Holy Spirit...

    Romans 9:1 NIV

    Key Thought

    We often use hyperbole to make an emphatic point about something that is important to us. Hyperbole is an overstatement meant to get other people's attention. The words of hyperbole can even be jarring to help others understand the emotions behind the words spoken. Paul is about to make an incredibly shocking statement about being willing to be cut off from Christ if it would mean that his own people, the Jews, would know Jesus as their Messiah and Lord (Romans 9:1-5). But, Paul has done his own spiritual inventory: What he says is NOT hyperbole or exaggeration. He means it with all of his heart, and the Holy Spirit confirms it. As The Message puts it, "I'm not exaggerating — Christ and the Holy Spirit are my witnesses." Since the Holy Spirit lives within us and works with our consciences to convict us of sin, to help us discern God's truth when it is proclaimed, and to confirm God's truth within us, Paul can speak with assurance that what he says is the truth. We might stretch the truth to each other, but we cannot lie to the Spirit who lives within us.

    Today's Prayer

    Heavenly Father, I want to speak the truth in love. I know that I need the convicting, comforting, and confirming Holy Spirit to be at work in my heart so that my words are true and redemptive. I ask for this grace in Jesus' name. 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.