Kingdom Principle: Heaven comes to earth from above, look up!
The grave can’t hold you, unless you hold on to it.
Acts 10:34-43 Psalm 118:1-2, 14-24 Colossians 3:1-4 John 20:1-18
I have heard the song “Let it Go” so many times – being sung it is getting quite irritating…. And yet that is really the message we need to hear –So, Let it go. It is so easy to get our eyes fixed on the things of the moment. We are constantly poised to react to crisis, we are excited to celebrate a victorious battle even in the midst of the war we are losing, and in general people do not see the big picture. We have looked at this in light of our need for a paradigm shift. To have our eyes opened to a more complete picture or simply something that does not seem so obvious to us – even if it is before our very eyes . Mary needed a further paradigm shift on the day Jesus Rose from the Dead, and when we are working so hard to figure this life out – so do we!
The texts this week highlight a theme:
Colossians sets the bar at the top – “Set you hearts on the things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on the things above, not on earthly things.” John’s Gospel of the resurrection story includes an often debated statement from Jesus to Mary – “Do not hold on to me, for I am ascending to the Father, Go instead to my brothers and tell them, I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.” The focus here is not on Jesus’ body, rather on the mission to go and tell the others… a new understanding (paradigm) has been completed. Acts further explains this in Peter’s declaration that “We are witness of everything Jesus did in the country of the Jews and in Jerusalem…. God raised him from the dead on the third day and caused him to be seen. He was not seen by all the people, but by witnesses whom God had already chosen.” The Psalm brings it to completion saying, “The Lord has done such mighty things, He has become our salvation, in this we shall not be handed over to death, therefore let us rejoice today and be glad.”
So the message of this week is: LOOK UP! There is nothing in this world to which we can cling which shall bring us any hope. Even our own life is hidden with Christ in God. To be WITH Christ IN God is the paradigm shift we must fully embrace. Mary believed in the power of God in Christ, but she did not see herself as WITH Christ until she was clinging to him standing next to the tomb… Jesus was reminding Mary – there is so much more of me for you to have, but you must let go of me (physically) to truly share in my life (spiritually).
So how might we engage this Week of Passion and Resurrection? LET GO! There are many things of this world which capture our attention and our focus. Jesus went around doing good and healing all who were under the power of the devil, because God was with him…. Is God with you – if your answer is YES – then your life is hidden with Christ and the very power God is in you. This frees you from the power of the devil, which is held in death. In our call to let go…. We are Letting Go, first– of our life, then we can let go of those people, things and ideas that are around us. This is not a call to radical separation, detachment, or cutting off of relationships. It is the conviction to witness and testify to your belief that being covered by the Blood of Jesus forgives us of all sin, and also binds us together as family forever. Let Go of needing to hold it all together, Let go of needing to have it all together… (There is no rebuke of Jesus for Mary’s crying or clinging – simply a redirection)
Finally – As we LOOK UP! & LET GO! What might carry us forward LIVE FREE! The Lord is my strength and my defense – this is my salvation! I will not die, but live. No matter what comes of my life, I will always LOOK UP! & LET GO! Therefore my way is Freedom. This freedom is in the forgiveness of sins and discovering life in HIS NAME. However to LIVE FREE we must have our grave clothes removed. As Lazarus was called from the grave, his grave clothes bound him and needed to be removed. With Jesus the clothes were removed and left behind. This removal must be done ….
This week – let me encourage you to take an closer look at what may possibly be the grave clothes you are clinging too.. Grave Clothes are the people, things and ideas of this world that you cling to and hold on to – because they give you hope. While this hope may be what you think you need most to get you through the present moment, it is actually like an anchor around your neck, rather than the anchor of your soul. (Hebrews 6:19) To know which it is a; noose around your neck or the hope which floats… Look up – see if it is a gift from heaven – if so, then thank God for it and keep your focus on the giver not the gift. If it is not, then Let Go and be set free. The way to let go… is by confessing the sin that is attached to the security or false hope which was being held by you. At its core this is a form of idolatry – having security and faith in anything other than God. (Exodus 20:3-6, 1 Cor. 10:14, Col. 3:5)
Easter “Resurrection Sunday” is the time which are most mindful of the gift of life given to us through the death and resurrection of Jesus. The true King of Kings has come from heaven to make way for us to be with him. For the new relationship has been opened to us, Jesus says God is both his Father and our Father, his God and our God. May we this week discover the freedom of this reality. This Sunday, leave your grave clothes behind and be set free!