July 21, 2017
Acts 26:23 - that the Christ must suffer and that, by being the first to rise from the dead, He would proclaim light both to our people and to the Gentiles.
Have you ever heard of Ashutosh Maharaj ? Good, I hadn't either.
The truth is Ashutosh Maharaj is a pretty famous guy, at least in some circles. You see in 1983 Mr. Maharaj became the founder of a sect called Divine Light Awakening. Today, that sect which is dedicated to "self-awakening and global peace" has millions of followers and owns property worth more than $120 million.
There is only one very small, little problem.
In 2014 Mr. Maharaj died of a heart attack. At least his son and the medical people consulted said he died of a heart attack. On the other hand, many of Maharaj's followers say he is in a deep, meditative state, and they are waiting for him to wake up. They believe the day is coming when Maharaj will revive, come back to them, and walk out of the commercial freezer where his body is currently being stored.
Did I say there was only one very small problem? Let's make that two very small problems.
The second problem is legal. You see, if Mr. Maharaj is dead, his son is free to cremate his body according to Hindi tradition, and a fair percentage of his father's assets will go to him. On the other hand, if Mr. Maharaj is alive, the $120 million will continue to be controlled by church leaders.
For right now, at least, India's courts have said Mr. Maharaj can continue to meditate in the freezer.
No doubt you have formed your own opinion about the state of Mr. Maharaj. And, although I haven't taken any kind of poll, I would guess that most of you hold the opinion that Mr. Maharaj is not going to be joining his followers anytime soon.
If that's your belief, I agree with you.
As far as I know, in human history there have been only a few folks who have been brought back from the dead, and only One who came back without any assistance. In the first group would be numbered people like the son of the widow from Nain, the daughter of Jairus, and the brother of Mary and Martha.
In the second group is Jesus Christ, God's Son, our Savior.
If you look at the Gospels, you will quickly realize there was no debate about whether Jesus was alive or dead. Nobody said the Savior was meditating or had fallen into a deep coma. The Roman execution squad was an efficient group of men, experts at their trade. When they nailed someone to a cross and put a spear through his heart, that person was dead.
Yes, Jesus was dead when they put His corpse into a borrowed tomb.
And three days later He was alive, having defeated the last and the worst of humanity's enemies. Because of that victory, and because He had taken our place under the Law, all who believe on Him are given forgiveness and eternal life.
THE PRAYER: Dear Lord, may my heart be moved to unending thanks for the life, suffering, death, and resurrection of my Savior. May doubters and unbelievers also be given faith in the one and only Savior. This I ask in Jesus' Name. Amen.
The above devotion was inspired by a number of sources, including one written by Linda Hervieux for Newser on July 6, 2017. Those who wish to reference that article may do so at the following link, which was fully functional at the time this devotion was written. Please click here
Pastor Ken Klaus
Speaker emeritus of The Lutheran Hour®
Lutheran Hour Ministries