Tag Archives: Jesus

The Second First Breath

sun

His cold and bloodied body lay on the stone slab in the dark room, the humanity snuffed out. This was the morning of the third day since he cried out in agony and sucked in his last desperately painful breath.

In a moment the darkness disappeared into a canopy of pure, blinding light. It was as if the sun itself had somehow burst into the room and flooded the darkness with a radiance that was both beautiful and terrifying.

In the center, where the light was most intense, where it seemed to originate, lay the faint outline of a man. At first the man didn’t move, although his form pulsated with the energy of a thousand supernovas. It was a blinding, unfathomable display of glory.

Suddenly the canopy of light went into the form of the man. His body, which just moments ago lay cold and still, now shone with a brilliance and power that defied all description. His form, his being and the light were one glorious entity.

Pierced by the light, the man inhaled deeply, drinking in his second first breath. The last time his lungs tasted oxygen for the first time, he was greeted by the smiles of his mother and the chaotic melody of barn animals. This time he was alone as the air rushed into his chest. As he exhaled his heart exploded with life causing the pale skin to fill with color.

The light sat up and the linen cloth that encased the previously dead body simply fell neatly on the stone parapet, unable to remain on the now radiant skin. As the man began to move the light melted into his body the way a flame gives way to coals when there is nothing more to burn. He slowly stood and stretched out his arms as if waking from a long slumber. In a moment the linen cloth that wreaked of death was instantly replaced by new robes flickering with the glow emanating from the man.

Despite the unbelievable transformation the new man still bore a resemblance to the dead body. The wounds which precipitated his death were visible, but of course now healed. His face and overall form were markedly similar to the dead man so that he would be recognizable but there was something new and glorious even in the details of his features.

He walked, nonchalantly towards the eastern stone wall of his tomb. Without breaking stride he passed into and then through the thick stone. Whatever his constitution, its’ essence was superior to anything known in the material world so that the stone could not contain him. As he stepped into the garden, the soldiers guarding the entrance simply passed out, unable to mentally or physically process what they saw – a man pulsating with the light of the sun emerging from a sealed grave.

In the days to come the man went about daily life, reintroducing himself to friends, catching and cooking fish, eating, drinking and finally ascending in one last glorious act as he returned to heaven.

This is resurrection. This is death conquered. This is life without end.

And for those of us who submit to the authority of King Jesus – this is our hope and our future.

One day we too will take a second first breath. One day we too will experience what it feels like for the power that created the universe to enter into our mortal bodies, transforming them into immortal, glorious bodies. One day we will walk out of our graves to join the firstborn among the dead in a life without pain, suffering or death. One day we too will live forever.

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The King’s Dinner

jesus-washing-the-feet-of-his-disciples

The rebellion was total. All that could go wrong had. It was a cataclysmic revolt of epic proportions. Destruction and chaos ordered the day as each man, woman and child did what was right in their own eyes. They rejected the King, his rule, his love and his future. The future was theirs and nothing would stop them.

Nothing except death of course. They spent their lives in pursuit of their pleasures, comforts and ambitions. And they succeeded, at least for a while. But the rot set in. Each day their bodies, minds and even the world around them decayed just a little more. Sickness, famine, war and pain defined their lives. They were absolutely without hope in the world. And the worst part was that they didn’t even realize it.

In desperation they tried to use their minds to devise a way out. They tried to make peace, to eliminate disease, to comfort themselves, but no matter how great the effort they always failed. Their efforts stood small and useless next to the gargantuan beast of death the rebellion required.

But the King was good. And the King had a plan.

He would go behind enemy lines. He would invade the world He made. He would gather a people to defy the rebellion. They would call him Father and He would call them Sons and Daughters. For years and years He sent messengers ahead of the invasion to warn the people. Mostly they didn’t listen. Mostly they kept going their own way. They kept dying. A few kept waiting.

Then in the cover of night the invader King came. They didn’t recognize Him even though He walked among them. He didn’t seem like a King. He was poor. He wasn’t handsome. He didn’t seem powerful. He didn’t seem relevant.

But then he began doing strange things – not things a King would do, but things that gave hope. He took away some of the sickness and even some of the death. He feared nothing. He loved his friends fiercely. He defied what they understood about the way the world works – walking on the water, calming a raging storm, turning water into wine. They either hated him or loved him. The way he lived made them decide one way or the other. He made outrageous statements that no one really understood like “I am the Creator God.” and “I am the resurrection and the life.”

Those that hated him – the people of rebellion – wanted to kill him and he knew it. Those who loved him waited for him to make a move, to take power, to act like the King.

The story of the King, the rebellion, the rescue comes to a climax at a place we least expect it – over dinner. The King Jesus calls his friends to celebrate the Passover meal, a meal that calls those loyal to the King to remember his promise – that he had saved his people from death once before and that he would do it again, this time forever.

As his friends recline at the table and prepare to eat the air is tense. This is the moment he will announce his rule. This is the moment he will take power. This is the moment they have all been waiting for. The King will rule and they, the faithful friends will be at the center of power. They will be respected. They will matter in the world.

“And during supper Jesus, knowing that the Father had given all things into his hands, and that he had come from God and was going to God, got up from the table, took off his outer robe, and tied a towel around himself. Then he poured water into a basin and began to wash the disciples’ feet and to wipe them with the towel that was tied around him.”

The friends around the table were confused. Gentile women, those who mattered the least, those with the least amount of power, those furthest from the King washed feet. But here was the King stripped down to a towel, kneeling on the floor, scrubbing the dirt from the bottom of his friends’ feet. One of the friends, Peter, the loudest and most leader-like among them responded, first with a question, “Lord, are you going to wash my feet?” and then with a statement, “You will never wash my feet.” He simply could not accept the reality of a King who acted like a slave. This did not fit into his understanding of the way the King would take power. This did not meet his expectations for a future where he was powerful and important.

Jesus answers Peter saying, “Unless I wash you, you have no share with me.” And in this statement the King Jesus reveals the plan to save the world, the plan to save his friends, the plan to save us. Unless he washes us we have no share with him. Unless we lay down our right to live by our own set of rules, to do what is right in our own eyes then we have no future. Unless we let the King serve us we will die. Unless we let the King cleanse us we have no hope, no future, no life.

Here is the offer before us tonight: the King has invaded. The King has spoken. “Unless I wash you, you have no share with me.” What will you do with these words? How will you respond. Will you politely nod and go on about your way? Will you reject this reality completely? Or will you remove your pride, stretch out your feet and let the King of Glory wash you? And if He has washed you are you prepared to go and do likewise?

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He is a River

 

Reggie-the-River

There is a river

His name is Jesus

He is the life

The flood

The blood

That carries me

Winding

Twisting

Turning

Flailing

Fighting

Fumbling

Raging in the flood

There is a river

His name is Jesus

He is the life

The flood

The blood

That carries me

Winding

Twisting

Turning

Sinking

Choking

Gasping

Going to my death

There is a river

His name is Jesus

He is the life

The flood

The blood

That carries me

Winding

Twisting

Turning

Rescued

Floating

Breathing

Now giving in

There is a river

His name is Jesus

He is the life

The flood

The blood

That carries me

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