Friday, March 25, 2016

A Grave Matter

“And if Christ has not been raised, then your faith is useless, and you are still under condemnation for your sins.” I Corinthians 15:17

After Jamal returned from a short visit to his country he came over to our home to deliver a gift to us. It was a beautiful expensive hard covered tourist type of book depicting pictures of what his country is famous for. As I turned page after page of the glossy photos I was shocked that at least 75% of the photos depicted graves of famous people.  The impressive huge monuments of graves are beautifully kept up and visited by millions of tourists. His country takes good care of their famous dead poets, philosophers, rulers, and sages. It is obvious that Jamal’s people love the graves and cherished memories of the past.

I often ask my Muslim friends, “Where is your prophet Mohammed?” They reply with a surprised look which communicates 'don't you know?' “He died. He is in his grave in Saudi Arabia.” "His bones are there?” I ask. “Of course. He died.” They dream of the opportunity to visit his grave. “Like you want to go to Israel and visit the grave of Jesus,” Muslims will say to me. “Well, Jesus did die, but He is not there. I do not need to visit a grave,” I explain. They look puzzled. “You will not find any grave there with His bones. He arose from the dead. He is alive,” I try to explain. Now they look really puzzled. “Where is he now?” Amal once questioned. “After He died and came back to life many people saw Him go up in the clouds to heaven but His Spirit lives within me because I am His follower. What is your prophet Mohammed doing for you right now?” I ask them. They often do not know how to answer that question. “He died,” is the usual reply. And then I share with them what Jesus is doing for me right now. "Because He is alive He is listening to me. He loves me. He is comforting me. He gives me power over sin and the assurance of going to heaven. He is giving me power to forgive people who hurt me – all kinds of things because He is alive – not dead. I have a living Savior, not a dead prophet."  It is a grave matter.

What an awesome, wonderful, victorious Savior we have! Our Jesus walked right through suffering and tasted death for all of mankind. We do not have a fantasy Jesus who escaped death but willingly walked through it and conquered the power of death. He broke Satan’s power.  It is really mind boggling to think that there is no grave on this earth containing His bones. No ziarat, shrine or monument. The resurrection of Jesus’ body is the very foundation of my faith. It is a grave matter – seriously. Happy Easter.

Dear heavenly Father, I celebrate the resurrection of Jesus. Hallelujah!  Amen.