Luke 24:36-39 - As they were talking about these things, Jesus Himself stood among them, and said to them, "Peace to you!" But they were startled and frightened and thought they saw a spirit. And He said to them, "Why are you troubled, and why do doubts arise in your hearts? See My hands and My feet, that it is I Myself. Touch Me, and see. For a spirit does not have flesh and bones as you see that I have."
God went to great lengths to display His love to us in physical terms.
Listen to the apostle Paul: "Though He (Jesus) was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied Himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross" (Philippians 2:6-8).
No words are adequate to explain the love our Heavenly Father has had for us which then moved Him to send Jesus to die on Calvary. If we're fortunate, we've had parents who have made sacrifices to enrich our lives. They've given of their time, their energy, their money, and more to make our lives fuller, richer, and blessed. Still, as selfless as these efforts have been, the sacrifice Jesus made for us on the cross is a million times more.
Furthermore, God did this for us when we were alienated against Him—lost in our sins and hostile to His holy nature. Here Paul writes, "But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us" (Romans 5:8).
God has done it all, preparing salvation for us through the ministry and mission of Jesus. "In this the love of God was made manifest among us, that God sent His only Son into the world, so that we might live through Him. In this is love, not that we have loved God but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins" (1 John 4:9-10).
Oh, the depths of God's love, the unfathomable depths of His love toward us—timeless and available to everyone. "I have loved you with an everlasting love" (Jeremiah 31:3b), God tells us through the prophet Jeremiah.
Yes, our Heavenly Father loves us with an everlasting love. This He has expressed willingly, showing us in Christ just how much—and how costly—His love is. For us, for each and every one of us, God sent His only Son, Jesus, to die on the cross, bearing the weight of our sins, and then rising on the third day in resurrection glory.
So then, my friends, live each day with the blessed assurance of God's love for you and the certain hope of your total forgiveness through the blood of Jesus.
Trust Him with your life. He gave His so You could be His forever.
THE PRAYER: Heavenly Father, impress Your gift of faith upon our hearts, so we may trust in Jesus completely. In His Name we pray. Amen.
From "The Cross That Came As No Surprise," a sermon excerpt from Rev. Dr. Wallace Schulz, former Speaker of The Lutheran Hour
1. Have you ever experienced something that might be considered a ghost or apparition?
2. How important was it, do you think, for Jesus to reappear to His followers in the flesh? Why?
3. Does knowing Jesus was alive in the flesh for some 40 days after His resurrection impact your faith in any way? How so?
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