Easter Sunday 2019, Guest Post by Colin Markham

From his blog Fellowship of St. Peter  Colin Markham’s Resurrection Sunday post is copied here. It  expands and explains the extraordinary events begun on Good Friday marking the passion and death of Jesus Christ, to Easter Sunday when, Markham writes, taking us back there, “Just as daylight now pierces the interior of the empty tomb, so the light of divine truth  pierces the soul of man, illuminating the darkness, reaching like a sword of justice into the place where vain ambitions and evil plans ferment, exposing all the shallowness and duplicity, all the rebellion and strife. And through the searing pain of the Cross the grace of God bathes humanity with the healing balm of forgiveness (Romans, ch. 8)…”  

Have a blessed Easter.

THE RESURRECTION

(Guest Post by Colin Markham) 

God hear my prayer, do not hide away from my plea,                                                               give me a hearing, answer me, my troubles give me no peace.

I shudder at the enemy’s shouts, at the outcry of the wicked;                                                   they heap up charges against me, in their anger bring hostile accusations against me.

My heart writhes within me, the terrors of death come upon me,                                           fear and trembling overwhelm me, and shuddering grips me.

And I say, ‘Who will give me wings like a dove, to fly away and find rest?’                      (Psalm 55.1-6 NJB)

The first glimmer of light, the third day after the agony of the Cross. A great hush has descended on the land, the silence of iniquity, the silence of kings and governors who murder with impunity in all times and places. On a desolate hill the dew glistens on the tree of anguish, mingling with the blood of torn flesh. The aroma of death hangs like a pall over this place. Nothing stirs, no creature comes near. No bird flutters or alights on  beam or post, no glinting eyes peer from beneath stone or leaf, no hoof or claw, no coiled serpent to uncoil when the rays of the rising sun shine on this forsaken mound. And the world sleeps on….

But there is One who has risen from the sleep of death. It is first light in the garden of tombs, the new Eden where evil has been vanquished. The women who had come from Galilee with Jesus and had noted where he had been laid, approach the cave, their eyes reddened with sleepless sorrow. They bring various unguents to anoint the body of the Lord (cf Luke 23.55 – 24.1). They pass among trees that drip with the moisture that the cold damp night has deposited on them. It is as if they too weep, lamenting the passing of him who in the mist of time had witnessed the weaving of their splendour.   (See Genesis, ch. 1; Proverbs 8.22-31; John 1.1-5; Colossians 1.15-20; Hebrews 1.1-4).

But what is this? What has happened? The women see that the stone that had been placed over the entrance of the tomb has been rolled back. What can this mean? They peer into the space. The body of the Lord is not there. Two men appear in white raiment, angels of the Lord. Why look among the dead for someone who is alive? He is not here, he has risen. Remember what he told you when he was still in Galilee: that the Son of Man had to be handed over into the power of sinful men and be crucified, and rise again on the third day. And they remembered his words (Luke 24.2-8 JB).

When the women returned from the tomb they told all of this to the Eleven and to all the others. The women were Mary of Magdala, Joanna and Mary the mother of Jesus. The other women with them also told the apostles, but this story of theirs seemed pure nonsense, and they did not believe them (Luke 24.9-11 JB).

Peter, however, went running to the tomb. He bent down and saw the binding cloths but nothing else; he then went back home, amazed at what had happened.  (*Luke 24.12 JB).

Just as daylight now pierces the interior of the empty tomb, so the light of divine truth  pierces the soul of man, illuminating the darkness, reaching like a sword of justice into the place where vain ambitions and evil plans ferment, exposing all the shallowness and duplicity, all the rebellion and strife. And through the searing pain of the Cross the grace of God bathes humanity with the healing balm of forgiveness (Romans, ch. 8).

The purport of this event will soon become evident to Christ’s followers through his many resurrection appearances. A new dawn of realisation will rise in hearts and minds presently numbed with sorrow. They will be enlightened. Then, enraptured by joy and fired with zeal, the truth will radiate outwards to capture the world. The first witnesses to the resurrection who will join those sanctified by the breath of God at Pentecost will be among the band of heralds proclaiming the new Way, for the Holy Spirit will invade their spirit to fill them with the fullness of Christ. For now, grief and shock overwhelm the people of God. They are not fully alive to the magnitude of the moment, the mystery of redemption (cf Luke 24.13-49; John 20.19-29; Acts 1.1-11; Romans 5.1-11).

Christ’s death and resurrection are all of a piece, they are indivisible. On the day of his crucifixion time stood still. Now on this mournful morning, this Dawn of dawns, it is the first day of a new era. For Christ to liberate us from the sting of death he must himself be released from death. He also unshackles us from the strictures of legalism, for he is the Word, he is the Light. Those pious women who sought to tend the scarred body of the Lord on that feverish dawn will come to the Light that enlightens mankind and they will see the risen Lord (1 John 1.1-7). They will see as we see (John 8.12).

For Christ’s death to have any meaning there had to be a subsequent narrative of cosmic proportions. This is the crux of the matter, this is the key to it all. If Christ’s death had been a finality, if it had resulted in bodily decay, he would have entered the pages of history as a mere footnote, an inconvenient holy man who had ruffled the religious establishment and paid the ultimate price, a prophet who had spoken truth to power and met with violent persecution.

But the narrative is very different. The Christian faith is about the person and work of Jesus Christ, the Son of God, the Messiah foretold. Holy Scripture contains the revelation of God, the unfolding drama of salvation history, a text inspired by God and written down by holy men for posterity. The whole of the Old Testament moves forward to the New Testament, to a turning point: the life, death and teachings of Jesus Christ, the incarnate Word of God, as recorded by men who witnessed the spiritual convulsions manifested during his walk on earth and the spiritual revolution that came in his wake (Acts 2.1-41 passim; 1 Corinthians 2.6-16; Titus 2.11-14).

Christ’s legacy cannot be confined to the annals of prophecy. His purpose, his presence and his teachings are too momentous for that. He is Prophet, Priest and King. He is the unique manifestation of the divine, the summit of God’s salvific plan, the means of redemption, the author of new life in the Spirit. It cannot be understood in any other way; it was not meant to be any other way. The evidence will not allow us to diverge from divine truth. The great tide of history has been intersected by events unheard of in human experience, and the face of the earth has been renewed by the hand of God  (Psalm 104.30; Ephesians 1.3-14; 1 Timothy 3.16; 1 Peter 1.3-21).

In the end there is a beginning. In his infinite mercy and forgiveness, God so loved the world that he gave his only Son for our salvation (John 3.16). For Christ to liberate us to live a life of love, as God had intended for humanity at the time of creation, he had to die for the accumulated transgressions of mankind. He had to draw all the derangement of the human condition to himself so as to release us from evil. His sacrifice is the atone-ment for the disfiguring disease of sin. For us to be redeemed and enter eternal life, he had to suffer an ignominious death, conquer evil and rise to glory, creating a path for all who respond to his call and embrace the faith. For us to don the cloak of discipleship is to follow the example of his teachings and actions, to display courage in the face of adversity, to exude the same depth of love and compassion, to be all-consumed by his transforming friendship (John 15.15-17) so that we become the eyes, hands, feet and mind of Christ in the human maze (Matthew 5.1-16).

In Christ the human and the divine are interwoven for the salvation of mankind, and we must keep before us the astounding fact of his victory over evil and death. He bids us to follow him here as citizens of the kingdom of God, and when our labours are done and the evening of life turns to night, to be fully reconciled, to rest with him in eternity (John 14.1-6). With this in mind, this magnificent inheritance, how is it possible, how is it reasonable to disregard our true destiny? Wake up, sleeper, rise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you (Ephesians 5.14 NJB). Now is the time for foolish dreams to be dispelled, for the sleep of human reason to be awakened by the dawn of enlightenment. Now is the time to seek understanding. Now is the time to be still and acknowledge God (Psalm 46.10 NJB)….to be still and know God. For this is the day which the Lord has made, a day for us to rejoice and be glad (Psalm 118.24 NJB).

~~~

Thank you, Colin.

 

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On Holy Saturday Here, and There

Phyllis Beveridge

It must have been as if all of creation was holding its breath, that day “in the middle,” after the Lamb of God was slain (on Friday) and before He rose again to life (on Sunday), the day believers call Holy Saturday.

A day unlike any other…

Here

Jesus’ blood and sweat still covered the rocks and sand of Golgotha beneath where, less than twenty-four hours before, that cross had stood holding Him high during His final hours of agony and suffering.

The screams of the ragers and the haters were stilled. They’d gone home yesterday with their  bloody souvenirs and their satisfaction.

I picture only a few mourning there, that day in the middle, perhaps his mother Mary among them. Did she remember, just then, hardly able to look through her grief at His splattered blood still seeping into the ground, the prophecy of Simeon, thirty-three years’ prior, about how her first-born would be “a sign that will be spoken against” and that “a sword (would) pierce (her) own soul too”? (Luke 2:34). Did she feel the pain of that sword just now?

Others milled about the city still discussing, in dread and awe, the events immediately following His last words the day before, the last time He was able to lift His battered head, His chest and lungs engorged with fluid from hours of torture, His heart failing, His strength abating: “Father, into your hands I commend my spirit” (Luke 23:46).

They marveled in horror remembering the earthquake, the tombs opening and the dead rising and appearing to many in the city, the darkness that enveloped the land, and the massive temple curtain tearing in two from top to bottom. (Matthew chapter 27).

Surely, this man was more than just a rabbi, a prophet, a carpenter from Nazareth?

His disciples, however, were in hiding for fear of what Jesus’ enemies might do to them.

But this was not what they had expected, either, of Him Who had raised the dead, healed the sick and the blind, cast out demons, multiplied a few fish and some bread to feed thousands, and so much more that John wrote, “If every one of them were written down, I suppose that even the whole world would not have room for the books that would be written..” (21:25, NIV).

This was also not what they had expected of Jesus Who had on several occasions escaped, as if miraculously disappearing, from the crowds who were bent on killing Him previously!

+

Here, on this middle day, all was quiet, though it was likely a tenuous stillness, reverberating, if just in minds and hearts, from the natural and supernatural phenomena of the day before, undoubtedly causing some to wonder if this was really He Who was, in fact, the Promised One.

It must have been an anticipatory kind of quiet, a pensive intermission, an uneasy interlude, unlike any other the world had known…

There

The Bible doesn’t say a lot about this day we call Holy Saturday. Here is the most extensive summary from Matthew 27:62-66, ESV:

62 The next day, that is, after the day of Preparation, the chief priests and the Pharisees gathered before Pilate 63 and said, “Sir, we remember how that impostor said, while he was still alive, ‘After three days I will rise.’ 64 Therefore order the tomb to be made secure until the third day, lest his disciples go and steal him away and tell the people, ‘He has risen from the dead,’ and the last fraud will be worse than the first.” 65 Pilate said to them, “You have a guard of soldiers. Go, make it as secure as you can.” 66 So they went and made the tomb secure by sealing the stone and setting a guard.

So precautions were taken as people tried to figure out what He and his followers had said about what might come next. Maybe a few had even heard the stories of when He had raised others from the dead.

Bible scholars write only about Holy Saturday there, in the eternal realm, as a day of rest for Jesus after his suffering, and a day of reflection for us.

But from what we now know of what happened on day three, Resurrection Sunday, perhaps we can surmise a bit…

I like to think about the celebration in heaven, the preparations, there in the throne room, for the event to come the next morning, THE event that split time, affirmed the hundreds of prophecies (353) Jesus fulfilled as the Son of Man and the Son of God, and brought a man dead from 3:00 in the afternoon the Friday prior back to life.

I like to imagine the angelic Hallelujah choruses in continuous refrain, and the Old Testament believers drawing as near as they could to the edge of heaven to watch the imminent miracle of miracles on earth.

I also like to meditate on God the Father and the Son Who, in concert with the Holy Spirit, had the redemption plan laid out a long time before, back as far as that garden when the first humans strayed from their instructions and God announced the pain to follow BUT also, at the same time, announced His promise of redemption, we know now, through the life–and death–of the Son.

What touches me most about that scene in the garden, though, where so much was lost for Adam and Eve and for us, is that God, Himself, made their coverings of animal skins–pause for a moment and imagine that. He knew what they did. He loved them still. And He Himself made the covering for their sin, their shame…

Perhaps that was a foreshadow of a time much later called the “fullness of time” when God sent His son, Jesus, “in the flesh,” to be a covering of another kind for sin* (on Good Friday), and not just Adam’s and Eve’s, but ours as well. St. John put it like this:

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. (3:16)

And, lastly, I imagine up there, on that first Holy Saturday, a much more intimate, tender scene, where a Father, missing His Son, embraces Him now that, after all those years, He is finally home, His grand, terrible, exquisite, agonizing, mission accomplished.

Once and for all time…

Up there, that first Holy Saturday, preparations were surely taking place for the next day, the first Easter Sunday, arguably the biggest day in the history of salvation, but it is that reunion of Father and Son after the mission was completed that gives me the most pause and prompts the most gratitude today, here, on this Saturday of rest and reflection just before the biggest celebration of this trinity of sacred days.

~~~~~

*For a discussion on the kind of love that  covers sin, see here.

The forensic details of Jesus’ death come from https://www.godonthe.net/evidence/forensic.htm

Image credit: https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/3/3f/Wood_cross_at_the_Aussois_mountain_pass.JPG

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Easter Message 2019: Redux–“By Grace Efficacious (Or How the Meek Inherit the Earth)”

Phyllis Beveridge

Originally posted 5/17/14

HUMBLE POWER

“Every success becomes the force of timid people,” wrote my Chinese student on the topic of self-efficacy, that is, a “person’s estimate or personal judgment of his or her own ability to succeed in reaching a…goal” [1].

The strength of her statement, as translated from her language to English, stays with me, and defines this student, in a way. A soft-spoken, timid, if you will, young lady, she illustrates a stark contrast to our more strident, independent native speakers; however, she is quite strong in the attributes of a superior student faced with the challenge of learning a new language WHILE having to use it in a college study skills course. Continue reading

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A Tale of Two Cathedrals, April 15, 2019

Phyllis Beveridge

The Notre Dame Cathedral

Incendie Notre Dame de Paris Created: 15 April 2019

Today will long be remembered as the day an 800 year-old icon of western civilization was either accidentally or purposefully set ablaze. When the embers fade, perhaps Notre Dame Cathedral will be completely lost; perhaps not.

But whatever the cause, or the case, what is known even now, today, as it still burns, is that a magnificent monument to architectural and artistic brilliance and beauty may be irretrievably gone. Continue reading

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On Intersectionality and “The Code”: Did AOC “Switch” or Pander Using the “Plain Folks” Fallacy?

Phyllis Beveridge

In the last year or so I’ve occasionally heard the comeback “Learn to code” in the context of advice given to millennials regarding how to get on in the social and/or political world.

At first I thought this referred to learning computer technology, if I gave it much thought at all. But recently, I learned that “code” is a shortened version of what linguists call “code-switching,” which means to speak the language (the vernacular, including accent and cadence) of the audience one is addressing if it is not one’s normal way of speaking. In the context of code-switching for business or political gain, it is known as pandering. Continue reading

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Part 4: “Then they came (for my ancestors)”–College Propaganda Mills

Phyllis Beveridge

Introduction and Parts 1 and 2     Part 3

Section 1: Article Review, “Terrifying video on antisemitic conference at the University of North Carolina”

“Ami Horowitz, the investigatory filmmaker who often exposes campus madness, has produced a video that ought to terrify anyone familiar with the history of Weimar Germany.  Then, as now, universities were among the leaders in whipping up Jew-hatred and actually persecuting Jews.”

Thus begins the brief essay and video review featured in Part 4 of my series, written by Thomas Lifson in today’s (4/13/19) online edition of American Thinker. Continue reading

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Review: “Unplanned,” the Movie, and Abby Johnson’s Story

Phyllis Beveridge

My friend and I saw the pro-life movie Unplanned a few days ago. It is the true bio-pic of former Planned Parenthood clinic director Abby Johnson who had a life-changing reversal of mind and heart after helping with an abortion.

What she saw on the ultra sound she was asked to monitor during a “vacuum aspiration abortion” caused a painful epiphany. It reduced her to tears and grief. She left the industry within a few days and is now an outspoken pro-life advocate. Continue reading

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Tired of Bad News Lacking Solutions? 5 Ways to Stay On the High Road Amid Today’s Turmoil

Phyllis Beveridge

Everywhere one turns these days for (real) news and (objective) analysis more and more of the tactics of totalitarianism and on a global scale are being exposed.

Anybody paying attention gets it, already!

It’s time to know how to rise above the fray–and remain there as much as possible–because angst is exhausting; anger, infectious; and anarchy looms not far behind when it all breaks apart because civilization breaks down.

And it seems many are getting close to the break-down point globally and some, personally. Continue reading

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Extremists, Falling Skies, Revolutions, and Resistance

Phyllis Beveridge

With the extreme left, these days, it seems that whatever the topic being discussed, there are only two views allowed: good or bad, us or them, saviors or Nazis, perfect and fart-free weather or climate catastrophe dooming everybody AND the planet to TOTAL annihilation in 12 years.

No if’s, and’s, or but’s. Continue reading

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Part 2: “On the Red Flags of Global (Political) Psychopathy”–an Inside Assault, an Inside Solution

Phyllis Beveridge

In two previous posts, here and another cited in its entirety below,* I discussed what I believe are key components of political psychopathy and how to resist it so as to maintain a clear mind and strong spirit.

The first post discusses what I believe to be our “original enemy’s” asymmetric forms of warfare used to destroy us if we are unaware and unprepared, as well as spiritual and practical strategies on how to be aware and prepared.

The second, below, reviews the basics of psychopathy. See how many of them have become more and more apparent on the global political scene as time has elapsed. Continue reading

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