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Jesus' resurrection and our hope

January 25, 2022

Daily Scripture

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

Mark 9:30-32

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 14:1-3, 19

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.

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 disciples winced when he spoke of dying and rising again. “In this period [Jewish people] did not normally expect the Messiah to be martyred….Jesus’ disciples expected to follow him to the kingdom—not to martyrdom.” * But Jesus fully linked his dying and rising to the 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), and spoke of God’s house having plenty of room for everyone.

  • 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?
  • 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?

Lord Jesus, you went where most of us most dread going—into death itself—and you came back alive! Help me claim your victory, and live and die in calm trust in your eternally loving life. Amen.

GPS Insights

Picture of Brandon Gregory

Brandon Gregory

Brandon Gregory is a volunteer for the worship and missions teams at Church of the Resurrection. He helps lead worship at Leawood's modern worship services, as well as at the West and Downtown services, and is involved with the Malawi missions team at home.

(Spoilers for the newest Star Wars trilogy, if you haven’t seen them yet.)

I think Star Wars is one of the most universally loved franchises in film. It draws a lot of comparisons to another space franchise, Star Trek, but they’re very different franchises. While Star Trek is an intellectual series, Star Wars hits all the right emotional notes, choosing not to worry too much about the science and focusing on iconic heroes instead. When we find out that Luke Skywalker is not just some farm boy, but is the son of a powerful Sith lord, it gives additional meaning to his character.

With the newest trilogy, things almost went in a very different direction. Our new hero, Rey, grew up in a small town much like our previous hero, Luke. When she starts searching for a deeper meaning in her life, she ironically finds a connection with one of the primary antagonists, Kylo Ren, himself the son of heroes from the first trilogy. In a moment of solidarity and connection between the two, near the end of the second movie, Kylo Ren tells Rey that her parents were, essentially, nobodies who abandoned her. Her search for deeper meaning was bound to be fruitless. After seeing the heritage of Luke Skywalker in the first film, this was a pretty big statement to make.

If you saw the third movie in the trilogy, you know they went back on this in a pretty huge way. Rey discovers her father was not only a powerful Force user, but was also one of the primary villains throughout the series. Why would they make that change? Because we, as humans, are hard-wired to seek out a greater meaning in things. We look for connections between mundane events and cosmic happenings. In short, Rey being a nobody was not a satisfying story for those of us with that human condition. Rey being somebody is a very big part of the emotional connection for that story, and the writers surprised us by giving it back after taking it away.

If you’ve found God, you’ve probably also found that he gives a greater meaning to our lives. So take that, and put yourselves in the apostles’ shoes. You’ve abandoned your old life to follow this man, this prophet so radical that the existing religious establishment wants to kill him. You follow him because you honestly believe he will usher in a new age for your people. That’s when Jesus tells you not only are these men seeking to kill him going to find him, they will succeed in killing him. The future these apostles had built in their minds was at risk of disappearing, and they believed if this happened, they would have to go back to their mundane lives as fishermen, tax collectors, and a host of other things they didn’t want to do.

Now, today, we know that Jesus got the Star Wars ending. The meaning he took away in that grim moment ended up turning into a far greater connection than any of the apostles had dreamed possible. But that only happened because the apostles chose to follow God even after they thought their future had been taken away. The apostles got Kylo Ren’s speech at the end of Star Wars and truly thought that what they had dreamed of was going to fail. But they stuck with it and found out that they hadn’t dared to dream big enough. Just as a rocket that begins even a few degrees off course can land thousands of miles from its intended target, setting off on a wrong trajectory in life can get us places we didn’t want to go. I’ll be honest, when I set off in life, I often start more than a few degrees off. I have this vision in mind of landing gracefully and walking out into the promised land of whatever I was doing. When I get closer, I find out that not only can I not see the promised land, I’m also about to fall into a vast ocean of broken expectations. It’s not satisfying—I want my Rey Skywalker ending. The important thing isn’t to land where you expected to, it’s to figure out where you’re supposed to land (which might be wildly different from what you expected) and keep going. When you’re going through hell, keep going. That persistence might make all the difference between a hard crash and a satisfying ending.

© 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.

* NIV, Cultural Backgrounds Study Bible, eBook (Kindle Location 226630, 226642). Zondervan. Kindle Edition.

** Adam Hamilton, John: The Gospel of Light and Life. (Nashville: Abingdon Press, 2015, p. 97.)

*** N. T. Wright, Mark for Everyone. Louisville: Westminster John Knox Press, 2004, p. 123.