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Dying AND rising - the only way to defeat death

April 5, 2023

Daily Scripture

Mark 9:30-32, John 14:1-3, 8-9, 19

Mark 9

30 From there Jesus and his followers went through Galilee, but he didn’t want anyone to know it. 31 This was because he was teaching his disciples, “The Human One [or Son of Man] will be delivered into human hands. They will kill him. Three days after he is killed he will rise up.” 32 But they didn’t understand this kind of talk, and they were afraid to ask him.

John 14

1 “Don’t be troubled. Trust in God. Trust also in me. 2 My Father’s house has room to spare. If that weren’t the case, would I have told you that I’m going to prepare a place for you? 3 When I go to prepare a place for you, I will return and take you to be with me so that where I am you will be too.

8 Philip said, “Lord, show us the Father; that will be enough for us.”
9 Jesus replied, “Don’t you know me, Philip, even after I have been with you all this time? Whoever has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, ‘Show us the Father’?

19 Soon the world will no longer see me, but you will see me. Because I live, you will live too.

Daily Reflection & Prayer

Jesus worried his disciples when he spoke of dying, or of going away. He pledged to return (alive after his death, and again at the end of human history). He told them God’s house is spacious, with plenty of room for everyone—they could always be with him. He told them that in him, they’d seen the Father. He linked his dying and rising to our hope of life beyond death—“because I live, you will live too.” He said those who trust him have eternal life—present tense (John 3:36, 5:24, 6:47 and 54).

  • Jesus’ teaching was direct: “He is simply trying to tell them what he can see is going to happen. He will be handed over; he will be killed; he will rise again. Why couldn’t they understand?…. nobody at all believed that, if and when God did send one, that Messiah would have to suffer, still less have to die.” * How do you keep your mind and heart open to however God works, whether it fits your expectations or not?
  • Jesus promised that, after he died, he would rise, and then when he returned his followers would always be with him. “Heaven” is not an abstract subject—it’s about whether we believe Jesus’ promise. Pastor Hamilton wrote, “I ask you a simple question: What do you trust in? When you strip away everything else, what is it—at the bedrock in your life—that you trust in?… Christ calls us to trust in him, to count on him.” ** How do you answer that “trust” question?

Lord Jesus, you succeeded through self-giving love, through a cross that somehow gives me life. Reshape any flawed notions of success I may have and help me to seek success by the same divine standards that you did. Amen.

GPS Insights

Picture of Jennifer Creager

Jennifer Creager

Jennifer Creagar is the Community Assistance Coordination Director in Resurrection's Congregational Care Ministry. She is married and loves spending time with her family, and she enjoys writing and photography.

Soon the world will no longer see me, but you will see me. Because I live, you will live too. (John 14:19)

I am struck each year when we come to this week, and read these words, by how much Jesus cared for his disciples and how he wanted to prepare them for what was coming very soon. He was approaching humiliation, torture, and death, but his big concern in these moments was that his disciples would understand and not be afraid. He didn’t want what they were about to witness to destroy the story of their time together or wipe out all they had learned. He didn’t want them to lose heart. He wanted them to know that they would see him, and that they would live because he would defeat death. He would prepare a place for them. They would live and live with him.

This year, these words have special meaning for me, as a dear friend has entered his final days in this life. My friend, in a message to all of those who love him, made it very clear that, as Pastor Adam says, he’s counting on the truth of Jesus’ promises. Because Jesus lives, so will my friend. He will joyfully live with Jesus forever. Because Jesus lives, we will live too. Our place is prepared, and the trials and hard losses of this life won’t be able to keep us from this joy.

Lord, thank you for preparing us for eternity with you, and for reminding us of your love and promise when we let disappointment, anger, fear, or grief confuse us. Amen.

© 2024 Resurrection: A United Methodist Church. All Rights Reserved.
Scripture quotations are taken from The Common English Bible ©2011. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

* N. T. Wright, Mark for Everyone. Louisville: Westminster John Knox Press, 2004, p. 123.
** Adam Hamilton, John: The Gospel of Light and Life. (Nashville: Abingdon Press, 2015, p. 97.)