We call the Friday following Thanksgiving “Black Friday” because retailers open their doors with big sales intended to lure in Christmas shoppers. These sales are a major source of annual income for retailers, and can be the difference between getting their finances in the black (meaning they made a profit for the year), or ending the year in the red (having a net loss). However, the first black Friday was when Jesus died on the cross at noon and the sun refused to shine. God’s gift was our gain, and because of the red that Jesus bled on that Friday, we can end our lives in the black, in the positive rather than the negative. Jesus paid our debt with His own blood and ransomed us from sin.
If Christ is not risen then all our self-denial of carnal pleasures was for nothing. If Christ is not risen then all our prayers were pointless. If Christ is not risen then there is no blessed hope, no heaven, no eternal healing, no restoration of all things, no point, no purpose, and no promise … if … Christ is not risen.
THE GREAT MISTAKE By Mark E. Hardgrove, PhD, DMin Mark 12:18-27, NKJV 18 Then some Sadducees, who say there is no resurrection, came to Him; and they asked Him, saying: 19 “Teacher, Moses wrote to us that if a man’s brother dies, and leaves his wife behind, and leaves no children, his brother should take his wife...
The good news of Resurrection Sunday is that regardless of how low we feel, or how down we get, God is able to pick us up when we’re ready to look up and cry out to Him. But it will require us to lay aside every weight and the sin that doth so easily beset us. It means that we have to call out to Jesus and be ready and willing to repent.
In short, when Jesus told Jairus “Do not fear; only believe,” Jesus was saying a mouthful: Don’t despair, only believe. Don’t give up, only believe. Don’t quit, don’t stop, don’t worry, don’t throw in the towel … ONLY BELIEVE because Jesus is on the way with authority over death, hell, and the grave! Only believe, because all things are possible in the name of Jesus!
And with that, sometime between 3 and 4 p.m. on a Friday, Jesus won the victory over sin. He was the perfect sacrifice, the Lamb of God without spot or blemish who takes away the sins of the world. But Jesus did not come only to defeat sin, He also came to defeat death. To do this, Jesus had to fully experience death, so the spirit of Jesus descended into Hades, and into the realm of the righteous dead to lead captivity captive.
One of the reasons I love the First Epistle of John, is because of the opening verses of the Epistle. Look at them with me. They are so powerful in the way the apostle asserts the truth of Jesus Christ. Notice the way John repeats himself to powerfully argue the empirical nature of the evidence. What John has to say is not hearsay; it is not some philosophical treatise or mere speculation based upon some vague vision or hysterical reports of the woman who came running to them from the tomb.
PETER’S PERSPECTIVE ON THE PASSION Translation by Mark E. Hardgrove Text: Mark 14:12 – 16:20 The Early Church Fathers believed that John Mark wrote the Gospel that bears Mark’s name. Papias said that Mark derived his content from Peter, whether from sermons Peter preached, or from conversations that Mark had with Peter. As such, the...