Weekly Devotions - April 10, 2018
The Risen Shepherd
“On the evening of that first day of the week, when the disciples were together, with the doors locked for the fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood among them…” (John 20:19, NIV 1984).
I prayed this morning for a pastor friend of mine who now leads a church in Western Tennessee. He called me tonight and told me his father came to his Easter service today. When he saw his father walk into the sanctuary, my friend was so overwhelmed that he had to leave the stage for the bathroom where he cried his heart out. As he preached, he watched the tears flow from his father’s eyes. After 15 years as a pastor, this was the first time his father had ever come to hear him preach. I prayed earlier this week for a young man who lives in the Balkans, a medical student to whom we have been witnessing for three years through friendship and heartfelt conversations. I received word tonight that this young man came to accept Christ as his Savior today. This was a good Easter.
Easter is about great things that happened in history, things that changed the world forever. As followers of Christ, we know that Jesus rose from the dead. We have the facts of an empty tomb, the testimony of more than 500 witnesses; we have a cowering bunch of followers who walked out of that little room and changed the world, most of them dying for what they knew to be true. We can look at these facts and use our reason, examining the evidence, to get us almost there, almost to undeniable truth…but not quite. As Phillip Yancey put it, we have to rely on “reason gone courageous.” Blaise Pascal described us as knowing “too much to deny—too little to prove.” Based on the historical evidence, it is certainly more reasonable for me to believe in a risen Christ than to deny Him. But the real proof of Easter comes with the true reason for Easter. The real proof of Easter comes with a Balkan medical student whose life is transformed by the living Christ; the real proof comes with a preacher’s father who, after years of antipathy, listens to his son’s Easter sermon with tears in his eyes; the real proof comes with the presence of the living Christ in my own life, for, like Billy Graham said, “I can tell you that Christ is alive, because I talked to Him this morning.” It is as Jesus said, “I am the good shepherd; I know my sheep and my sheep know me” (john 10:14, NIV 1984). The real proof of Easter comes as the risen Lord enters our lives, calls us by name and changes who we are.
Praise your name. You are risen indeed.