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An open view.  There is nothing quite like it.  A picturesque meadow, a vista of the seashore, a mountain range on a winter morning.  Certain sights can captivate the spirit and overwhelm human capacities.  Certain views are just too great to describe.  The open tomb—the empty tomb—is a view too great to describe.  This is why it remains THE VIEW that inspires, compels, and encourages.

The death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ is the act of all time and place.  It ended in an empty tomb that representated a whole new beginning for people.  It is the historic and inimitable sacrificial act of love that revealed to the world the lengths to which God and Christ would go to bring people into right standing with God.  If you have trusted Christ as your Lord and Saviour, to God be the Glory.  If you have not, may the light of Easter dawn on you as never before.  May the Holy Spirit touch you so that you may receive Christ’s ultimate gift of encouragement.  May you look out into your future with a promising open view.

Lord Jesus, You have done everything to prove Your love.  Gratitude for Your gift has no words.  Humility speaks thanksgiving.  To be loved by You is all.  Amen.

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To enter into Holy Week and look for encouragement is to look at the Cross of Jesus Christ.  How can that place of tragedy be encouraging?  He intended it to be.  He was looking beyond that act of love to a joy that was ahead.  This is why He endured.  Love brought Jesus to the Cross.  Love for God, love for you, love for me.  Love kept Him on the Cross, to shed His blood for your sins and mine.  Only Christ’s pure blood and righteousness can cleanse sins and make us whiter than snow.

Be encouraged.  Even as you live through the solemnity of Holy Week, be encouraged by the love that fills these days, and the outcome that proves joy comes in the morning.  Before we celebrate Resurrection victory next week, we remember the Christ who died so we might live.  The gift of encouragement for this week is remembrance of an act of love Jesus submitted to ages ago.  His love and this act of submission remain our love gift forevermore.

Lord Jesus, to look at the Cross is to look at Your heart of love.  Thank You seems trite in view of all of You have done.  Yet, with loving adoration and warm thanksgiving, praise is Yours.  You are the hope and reason why anyone can carry on.  In Thee, Amen.

Perspective.  It matters.  How you look at someone or something colors the way you feel.  When loss comes into a life—and loss comes into every life—perspective determines how the grief process will be experienced.

Jesus wants us to live with hope.  Even when life’s challenges and sorrows touch us, He died a death and was raised from the dead so that we would always—always—have hope.  Be embraced by His hope today.  Even if you do not feel it, have the faith of a mustard seed.  It is enough to hold on to Christ’s perspective.  He is holding on to you.

Lord Jesus, with faith eyes look to tomorrow with hope.  Thank You, Jesus, for making our perspective Your own.  In Thee, Amen.

To follow Jesus is to remember that He is before you.  Every step, every day.  A Christian follows Christ, His Word, and His ways.  Faith assures a follower that you are not alone—ever—as you follow Jesus.  He is with you.  He knows the way, even if you do not.  Trust Him.

Life in this world holds seasons of uncertainty and unusual steps.  Disappointment, confusion, sorrow, and doubt will be part of human steps.  But the Christ of yesterday, today, and tomorrow is with you.  When you say Yes to Jesus, remember that He is leading your way.  You never walk alone.

Lord Jesus, You know that at times to follow You is done with heavy hearts and feet.  Help Your followers to hold to You when life is challenging, dark, and uncertain.  By faith, may all steps continue to be taken with you.  In Thee, Amen.

PROOF

But Thomas, one of the twelve, called Didymus, was not with them when Jesus came.  The other disciples, therefore, said unto him, We have seen the Lord.  But Thomas said unto them, Except I shall see in His hand the print of the nails, and put my finger into the print of the nails, and thrust my hand to His side, I will not believe.  And after eight days again his disciples were within, and Thomas with them; then came Jesus, the doors being shut, and stood in the midst and said, Peace be unto you.  Then saith He to Thomas, Reach hither thy finger, and behold My hands; and reach hither thy hand, and thrust it into My side, and be not faithless, but believing.  And Thomas answered and said unto Him, My Lord and my God.        John 20:24-28                        

Thomas had doubts.  Scripture explains that when Jesus and Thomas met after Jesus rose from the dead, Thomas needed proof that this was really Jesus.  Jesus stood in front of Thomas; this was not enough.  Thomas wanted more.  He needed evidence.  Jesus provided it.  Jesus held out His nail scarred hands.  Then Thomas knew this was the Christ of the Cross, the Risen Christ.   Thomas rejoiced and exclaimed My Lord and my God. 

Because God knows all, He knows all about human doubt.  Those who distrust the reality of Jesus require proof to assuage doubt.  While the Bible informs us that without faith it is impossible to please God (Hebrews 11:6), this record in Scripture tells us that Jesus wants to offer what is needed to eliminate uncertainty so faith is inspired.  For those who have walked many years with Jesus, several years, and those yet to walk across the threshold of belief in Him, each step with or toward Jesus is a step that may still require assurance or proof.  Jesus understands.  His patience is deep.  Jesus’ hope for relationship with people is far greater than quizzical thoughts and expressions that require His Word or His ways to settle doubt.  As with the Thomas of yesterday, proof is still essential for some before they will come to faith in Jesus.

Proof is exemplified in Holy Week and Easter.  These days recount the acts that provide outer evidence to the inner love that Jesus holds for every soul.  He died a brutal death when beaten and nailed to the cross at Calvary.  Jesus’ pure blood was shed to cleanse people from their sins—all sins for all time.  His bruised and hanging body was taken from the cross to the tomb.  Everyone thought that was the end of Jesus’ story.  It was not.  Three days later Jesus rose from death.  It was a glorious beginning.  Jesus’ Resurrection continues to bring hope and deliverance from death—spiritual, physical, and emotional—to those who believe in the Christ of Calvary.

Do you require proof?  Of Jesus’ total identity, part of it or proof to remind you of a once vibrant faith worn weary by life?  Proof is yours—today.  Look at your palms.  They are free from nail scars.  Jesus wants that freedom for you, for me.  He lived out His love and desire for our freedom from sin by taking pain so we would not.  So we could be cleansed from it.  Easter celebrates the love Jesus has for everyone.  Those who believe in Jesus Christ will rise from death as He did.  This proof stands against all doubt.  It is the proof that time nor tide can change. 

My hope is built on nothing less
Than Jesus’ blood and righteousness.
I dare not trust the sweetest frame,
But solely lean on Jesus’ Name.
On Christ the solid rock I stand,
All other ground is sinking sand.
All other ground is sinking sand.

Edward Mote, 1797-1874
William B. Bradbury 1816-1868

May the Resurrection of Jesus Christ stir you for the first time or once again this Easter Season.  May the wonder of Christ’s love penetrate you as you ponder the proof of His incomparable love.  Rise in faith.  Live confidently in the love of Christ whose love for you is rich and abiding. 

Lord of Love and Life, You gave all so that we might live.  Praise, adoration, thanksgiving, humility and mirth are Yours, the Christ of Calvary, Lover of Souls.  This season and all seasons, we continue to rise all because of You.  Amen.