Friday, March 25, 2016

An international Sunday school lesson commentary
For Sunday March 27, 2016

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(Our faith hinges on the risen CHRIST)
(Mark 16:1-8)

   The sins of Adam and Eve brought physical death. The Resurrection of CHRIST JESUS brought spiritual life. The Resurrection of CHRIST is the essence of the Christian Faith, and, it is the core of all the Apostle’s teachings. In the Greek, the word used for “resurrection” is “anastasis”, and in the spiritual sense, it is “a moral recovery of spiritual truth”. In the physical sense, it means, quite literally, “to stand up again”.
     JESUS’ death and resurrection are a symbol of how the giving of HIS life regenerated us, and made it possible for us, to be reconnected into a personal relationship of friendship with GOD the FATHER in Heaven. HE is the bridge that gave us direct access to GOD, for the first time since the days of Adam and Eve, and HE continues to act as that bridge even today.
    In Mark 16:1-8, Matthew 28:1-8, Luke 24:1-12, and John 20:1-20, the respective authors of GOD, give their accounts of the Resurrection story of our LORD and SAVIOR, JESUS CHRIST. They collectively tell us that at dawn, on the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene, Salome, Mary, (the mother of James and Joseph), Zebedee’s wife (the mother of James and John), and Joanna went to the tomb of JESUS.
    They knew where the body of JESUS had been laid, because they had seen Joseph of Arimathea, who’s tomb was being used to bury JESUS, and Nicodemus, together, roll the stone over the door of the tomb a day earlier (Matthew 27:61, Luke 23:55, John 19:39-42). The women had returned, on this Sunday after the Sabbath was over, to anoint JESUS’ body for burial (Mark 16:1-2).
    Matthew records that there was a great earthquake associated with an angel of the LORD, who came down from Heaven and rolled away the stone from the entrance of the Sepulcher. The Roman soldiers, who were guarding the tomb, became so frightened that they fainted.
    The angel, who appeared like lightning, was garbed in clothing that was as white as snow. He proceeded to issue a proclamation to the women, that, JESUS had risen as HE had said HE would. He invited them to come into the tomb and see for themselves, and then, instructed them to go and tell HIS Disciples the good news, and to meet HIM in Galilee as pre-planned.
    As the women were hurrying along to tell the Disciples what had happened, JESUS suddenly appears before them. Upon hearing HIS greeting, the women recognized JESUS and immediately fell at HIS feet and begin to worship HIM. It is all together fitting that these women should be the first to receive the news of the risen LORD, and then, actually see HIM. They had been faithfully there, at the cross, and they had also been there when HE was laid in the tomb. Now, they were receiving their reward, by becoming the first people on earth to witness, and experience the joy, of the Resurrected CHRIST.
    In the Greek, the word used for “greetings”, or “hail” is “chairo” (khah-ee-ro), and it means to “be cheerful; be glad and rejoice”. In Matthew 28:6-9, we see “the three great imperatives that govern the Christian Faith”. First we see the women being urged to “BELIEVE”, because in verse 6, we see the angel invites them to “see the empty tomb”.
    Secondly, they are instructed by the angel to “SHARE” the good news. In verse 7, the angel tells them to “go quickly and tell”. And thirdly, in verse 9, the first words, JESUS says to them is, “All Hail”, in the Greek “chairo”, which means, “REJOICE”.
    Any person, who has met and accepted CHRIST JESUS, will be able to live forever in the joy of HIS presence. They will be able to come to rest in the knowledge that, if they choose to believe on HIM, nothing can separate them from HIS saving Grace, and, eternal life in Heaven.
    No man can give you that kind of religion. For, it is something that only GOD can do. Christianity is the only true religion, because it is the only religion that is a product of GOD’s mind. Through the Birth, Ministry, Passion, Death, and Resurrection of JESUS CHRIST, GOD is saying to us, that HE loves us, with an everlasting love that can withstand all the suffering that this world has to offer. Amen.

A Sunday school lesson by,
Larry D. Alexander

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