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How amazing and wonderful

[Acts 1: 3 
He presented himself alive to them after his suffering by many proofs, appearing to them during forty days (remember 40 days is very significant to the stories)
and speaking about the kingdom of God.
So when they had come together, they asked him, “Lord, will you at this time restore the kingdom to Israel?”
7 He said to them, “It is not for you to know times or seasons that the Father has fixed by his own authority.
8 But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.”
9 And when he had said these things, as they were looking on, he was lifted up, and a cloud took him out of their sight.
10 And while they were gazing into heaven as he went, behold, two men stood by them in white robes,
11 and said, “Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking into heaven?
This Jesus, who was taken up from you into heaven, will come in the same way as you saw him go into heaven.”]
Wow I read this and I am amazed, that for forty days after he died and resurrected, he appeared to them sharing many things with them.
THEN He was lifted up… right before their eyes. Can you even imagine? Can you even think of how awesome that would have been?
I remember when I have watched a balloon or a kite leave the hands that were holding it, and I watched as it drifted up higher and higher till it can no longer be seen.
Wouldn’t that be both amazing and confusing to see a cloud drift him up higher?
This is JESUS who they were just talking to.
Then two men appeared? Could they have been angels? we aren’t told.
He rose from the dead and left alive, as he moved higher and higher into a space they could no longer see.
How amazing and wonderful this whole story of love is for us.
I cannot imagine this whole scene unfolding.

He knows what we need

John 20:
[18 Mary Magdalene went and announced to the disciples, “I have seen the Lord”—
and that he had said these things to her.
19 On the evening of that day, the first day of the week, the doors being locked where the disciples were for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood among them and said to them, “Peace be with you.”]
Not too different from the time the angel stood with Mary and said, “don’t be afraid.”
[20 When he had said this, he showed them his hands and his side.*
Then the disciples were glad when they saw the Lord.
21 Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, even so I am sending you.”
22 And when he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit.”]
He knew He was leaving and also knew the power for them to share with others, would come from the Holy Spirit.
I find it fascinating that he BREATHED on them.
Reminding me of a song we sing in church that says, “It’s your breath in our lungs as we pour out our praise.”
The story continues.
[24 Now Thomas, one of the twelve, called the Twin, was not with them when Jesus came.
25 So the other disciples told him, “We have seen the Lord.”
But he said to them, “Unless I see in his hands the mark of the nails, and place my finger into the mark of the nails, and place my hand into his side, I will never believe.”]
I don’t really blame Thomas for questioning. Anyone who were there would have had the same reaction.
[26 Eight days later, his disciples were inside again, and Thomas was with them.
Although the doors were locked, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you.”
27 Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here, and see my hands; and put out your hand, and place it in my side. Do not disbelieve, but believe.” 28 Thomas answered him, “My Lord and my God!”
29 Jesus said to him, “Have you believed because you have seen me?
Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.”]
Wow he did the same thing two times. Joining them in the room with the doors shut and locked.
Yet, he appeared and stood among them. Not only did he do that, but he addressed Thomas in the very matters of the heart way that only he would know how to do.
Our Lord and our God… knows what we need even if we never say it to him.
A wonderful love, and caring Father.

She ran and told them

When Jesus called her name, she was both surprised and confused since she saw him pass away and watched as they laid him down in the tomb.
I can’t imagine any of us would be not feeling the same feelings.
It would be a mixture of emotions and feelings.
She knew and remembered how he would say her name.
He probably said it to her, many times in the years they knew each other.
It is an intimate approach for him, towards her in the most ‘precious’ way.
We are like that with special loved ones or friends.
We welcome the sound of their voice.
He knew by using her name in the special way he would say it, he would get her attention.
Can you even imagine… her excitement and hope?
Then he said for her to go tell the ‘others’ about what she had seen and experienced.
She would be a credible witness and others would hear and believe her story.
What I find fascinating is her ability to not recognize him until the timing was right.
He didn’t allow her to see him for who he was until she heard his voice.
She was the one who had demons cast out of her so she knew his voice and she knew his power.
Our voices are very recognizable to those who know us.
John 20:
[11 Now Mary stood outside the tomb crying. As she wept, she bent over to look into the tomb
12 and saw two angels in white, seated where Jesus’ body had been, one at the head and the other at the foot.
13 They asked her, “Woman, why are you crying?”
“They have taken my Lord away,” she said, “and I don’t know where they have put him.”
14 At this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing there, but she did not realize that it was Jesus.*** (important)
15 He asked her, “Woman, why are you crying? Who is it you are looking for?”
Thinking he was the gardener, she said, “Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have put him, and I will get him.”
16 Jesus said to her, “Mary.”
She turned toward him and cried out in Aramaic, “Rabboni!” (which means “Teacher”).
17 Jesus said, “Do not hold on to me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father.
Go instead to my brothers and tell them, ‘I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.’”
18 Mary Magdalene went to the disciples with the news: “I have seen the Lord!”
And she told them that he had said these things to her.]
She ran and told them what she had seen.

And He called her by name

When we think of the days surrounding the Easter story we have to think about and include those who were most involved in the process.
[20 Now on the first day of the week Mary Magdalene came to the tomb early, while it was still dark, and saw that the stone had been taken away from the tomb. 2 So she ran and went to Simon Peter and the other disciple, the one whom Jesus loved, and said to them, “They have taken the Lord out of the tomb, and we do not know where they have laid him.” 3 So Peter went out with the other disciple, and they were going toward the tomb.
4 Both of them were running together, but the other disciple outran Peter and reached the tomb first.
5 And stooping to look in, he saw the linen cloths lying there, but he did not go in.
6 Then Simon Peter came, following him, and went into the tomb. He saw the linen cloths lying there,
7 and the face cloth, which had been on Jesus’ head, not lying with the linen cloths but folded up in a place by itself. 8 Then the other disciple, who had reached the tomb first, also went in, and he saw and believed;
9 for as yet they did not understand the Scripture, that he must rise from the dead.
10 Then the disciples went back to their homes.]
Jesus Appears to Mary Magdalene
[11 But Mary stood weeping outside the tomb, and as she wept she stooped to look into the tomb.
12 And she saw two angels in white, sitting where the body of Jesus had lain, one at the head and one at the feet. 13 They said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping?” She said to them, “They have taken away my Lord, and I do not know where they have laid him.”
14 Having said this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing, but she did not know that it was Jesus.
15 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.” 16 Jesus said to her, “Mary.” She turned and said to him in Aramaic, “Rabboni!” (which means Teacher).
17 Jesus said to her, “Do not cling to me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father; but go to my brothers and say to them, ‘I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.’”
18 Mary Magdalene went and announced to the disciples, “I have seen the Lord”—and that he had said these things to her.]

He took courage out of love

Mark 15:
[And when the sixth hour had come, there was darkness over the whole land until the ninth hour.
34 And at the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice, “Eloi, Eloi, lema sabachthani?” which means, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”
35 And some of the bystanders hearing it said, “Behold, he is calling Elijah.” (FOR THEY DIDN’T UNDERSTAND)
36 And someone ran and filled a sponge with sour wine, put it on a reed and gave it to him to drink, saying, “Wait, let us see whether Elijah will come to take him down.”
37 And Jesus uttered a loud cry and breathed his last.
38 And the curtain of the temple was torn in two, from top to bottom.
39 And when the centurion, who stood facing him, saw that in this way he breathed his last, he said, “Truly this man was the Son of God!”
40 There were also women looking on from a distance, among whom were Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James the younger and of Joseph, and Salome. 41 When he was in Galilee, they followed him and ministered to him, and there were also many other women who came up with him to Jerusalem.]
They were watching from a distance crying and weeping.
They loved him, they were unsure of this moment. They were in sadness and shock
[42 And when evening had come, since it was the day of Preparation, that is, the day before the Sabbath,
43 Joseph of Arimathea, a respected member of the council, who was also himself looking for the kingdom of God, took courage and went to Pilate and asked for the body of Jesus.
44 Pilate was surprised to hear that he should have already died. And summoning the centurion, he asked him whether he was already dead. 45 And when he learned from the centurion that he was dead, he granted the corpse to Joseph. 46 And Joseph bought a linen shroud, and taking him down, wrapped him in the linen shroud and laid him in a tomb that had been cut out of the rock. And he rolled a stone against the entrance of the tomb.
47 Mary Magdalene and Mary the mother of Joseph saw where he was laid.]
Mark 16
[When the Sabbath was past, Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James, and Salome bought spices, so that they might go and anoint him. 2 And very early on the first day of the week, when the sun had risen, they went to the tomb. 3 And they were saying to one another, “Who will roll away the stone for us from the entrance of the tomb?”
4 And looking up, they saw that the stone had been rolled back—it was very large.
5 And entering the tomb, they saw a young man sitting on the right side, dressed in a white robe, and they were alarmed. 6 And he said to them, “Do not be alarmed. You seek Jesus of Nazareth, who was crucified. He has risen; he is not here. See the place where they laid him.
7 But go, tell his disciples and Peter that he is going before you to Galilee. There you will see him, just as he told you.” 8 And they went out and fled from the tomb, for trembling and astonishment had seized them, and they said nothing to anyone, for they were afraid.]