Tuesday, March 25, 2008

The Bethany Bullet-Tuesday, March 25, 2008

We Californians understand earthquakes. Perhaps the only thing more terrifying than living through the earthquake is the fear of the aftershock.

Matthew tells us of an earthquake on Friday of Holy Week. "Jesus cried out in a loud voice and gave up his spirit. Suddenly the earth shook and the rocks split. The curtain of the temple was torn in two and tombs broke open and the bodies of many holy people were raised to life." Matthew 27:50-52

Three days later Easter begins with another. "There was a violent earthquake, for an angel of the Lord came down from heaven and, going to the tomb, rolled back the stone." Matthew 28:2

If you are a California native and are about 19 or 20 years old, an earthquake might be one of your earliest memories—The Northridge Earthquake of '97. If you’re my age and a native—The San Fernando Earthquake of ’71 might be one of yours. Both were about 6.5 quakes. Pretty good size, definitely big enough to do damage and be remembered. You recall the jolt, the roll, perhaps stuff falling, people yelling, and taking cover.

It is a traumatic event. What happens next is just as troubling. The worry and fear that an aftershock is coming.

Just imagine the disciples. It is Easter Sunday; all they know is Jesus is dead and all they recall is the dark sky and the trembling ground and all of a sudden they are tossed from their beds. The Richter scale is off the charts—"Here we go again.”

The fear comes back. Jesus is on the cross again—“I don't know that I can take it.” Little do they know that this quake will rock the entire world not just their corner of planet Earth.

Jesus is alive! He stands in their presence! Instead of saying, “Duck and Cover”, He commands, "Go and Tell!" The epicenter of the universe is before them. The magnitude of the moment is eternal. Christ is alive.

We who live in earthquake country, who have our supplies ready just in case, are reminded that the BIG ONE has already come. And it shakes use to our core. The fault lines in our lives are very fragile aren't they? That topic, that look, that place, that picture, that smell, that sound and we are back there again. We are on the cross anew. The pain is as real as it was the moment it first happened.

We are all dealing with the after shocks of past actions; the things that humiliate us or haunt us. The things we hope never get revealed. The things we've buried and prayed never to have opened up for all to see. Today those things are gone. They threaten no more.

For the BIG ONE has come. Its magnitude is eternal. And here in bread and wine, in the house of God, you've come face to face with The Epicenter of reality. That all your guilt is atoned for, all your sin is forgiven, and all your future is in His hands, and eternity is yours through faith in Christ.

You live in earthquake country; if the ground starts shaking duck and cover may be the necessary response. But through the BIG ONE that shook 2000 years ago, the scheme and power of death and the devil have been knocked flat forever. “Go and Tell” is the only response!


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