WONDER AND AMAZEMENT -- A PERSONAL ENCOUNTER WITH THE RISEN LORD
- Key Verse
- Jesus said to her, "Woman, why are you weeping? Whom are you seeking?" Supposing Him to be the gardener, she said to Him, "Sir, if you have carried Him away, tell me where you have laid Him, and I will take Him away." Jesus said to her, "Mary!" She turned and said to Him in Hebrew, "Rabboni!" (which means, Teacher). (John 20:15-16)
- READ THE CHAPTER
The truth of the resurrection of Jesus Christ is amazing and wonderful. When you encounter the risen Christ and personally claim the truth of the resurrection as your own, the truth will come with the power of God, and it will change everything you thought you knew.
The first Easter, the day that changed every day to follow, came just as Jesus had predicted it would. He had said that He would be raised up in three days (John 2:19-22), but even those closest to Him didn't know what to make of the empty tomb. Hearing the news, John and Peter raced to see the evidence. Peter entered the tomb first and saw the burial linens, but it seems he didn't fully grasp the situation.
A short time later, Mary Magdalene was the first to encounter the resurrected Jesus. She was in such a state of despair and weeping that she didn't even recognize Him until He called her name. That evening, the disciples had gathered and, although they had heard the reports, it wasn't until Jesus appeared in their midst that they understood and accepted the truth. And it was eight days later when Thomas was finally convinced by a personal encounter with Christ. Only John seemed to believe what he was seeing at the tomb (John 20:8).
For a long time, I didn't get it either. I didn't understand. I knew of Jesus and His death and resurrection, but I hadn't yet personally encountered Him. I was like Mary Magdalene, confused about who He was. I was like Peter, unable to make much sense of it all. What I knew of Jesus affected my life very little. I did not fully grasp that He loved me so much that He had given His life for me personally. I did not fully grasp that He desired a personal relationship with me. I knew of Him, but I did not know Him.
When my own personal Easter finally dawned, and He called my name and revealed Himself to me, I finally understood and rejoiced. The gospel traveled the longest eighteen inches in the world -- from my head to my heart. That day, I personally met and recognized Jesus for who He is, my Savior and Lord. For me, that was the amazing and wonderful day that everything changed.
HE IS RISEN! HE IS RISEN INDEED!
Discussion Questions1. Do you know Him? If so, do you remember the time when you first met Him? What was it like for you?
2. Do you know Him? If so, how is your relationship with Him? Are you close? What do you need to work on to be closer?
3. Do you know Him? If so, are there people in your sphere of influence who need to meet Him? Are you ready to introduce them to Him?
4. Do you know Him? If not, why not cry out to Him now, confess your need for Him, and proclaim your willingness to follow Him? He will answer your prayer.
WEEKLY FAMILY ACTIVITY
John 18 – Acts 2 (April 30 – May 4)
Read Acts 2:41-47.
• This is the early church. Discuss all the things they were doing together.
• How is this similar to your church today?
• God calls us to be in community together. Parents share with your kids what community looks like in your life.
• Then discuss how community looks for your kids. What friends are they "sharing life with"? And talk about what it looks like to really live in community (e.g., sharing the good and the bad, meeting together regularly, serving the needy together, helping each other when you are in need, etc.).
Activity: Make a list of some of the most important people in your community. Think about something that you can do for them to let them know you are thankful to have them in your life (e.g., bake some cookies and leave on their porch, write them personal thank-you notes, or throw a movie night at your house).