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GUIDE TO PRAYER & STUDY / Week of April 16-22, 2017 PDF Print E-mail
Written by CGUMC   
Friday, 14 April 2017

APRIL 16: EASTER’S FIRST WITNESS
Colossians 3:1-4; John 20:1-18

Things I want to remember from today’s worship service:
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Monday, April 17
:  Read John 20:1-10.
Very early on Sunday, Mary, Peter and “the disciple whom Jesus loved” found Jesus’ tomb empty. Notice her first report: “They have taken the Lord from the tomb, and we don’t know where they’ve put him.” We’ll see this week that the gospels made it plain that none of the disciples were waiting hopefully for Jesus to rise from the dead. Mary simply wondered if “they” (grave robbers? the authorities?) had taken Jesus’ body. Mary went to the tomb “while it was still dark.” She didn’t expect to find Jesus alive, but she was eager to care for his body as soon as possible to express her devotion. (The Jewish laws Jesus had challenged forbade that work on the Sabbath.) How can you nurture a desire to go to Jesus first, even in times of darkness or discouragement?

Tuesday, April 18:  Read John 20:11-18.
Mary thought Jesus was “the gardener.” In symbol, he was—Adam failed in the first garden (see Genesis 3), but Jesus (the “second Adam”) would tend earth’s “garden” well (see Romans 5:15- 21). Mary didn’t recognize Jesus by sight, but it seems his beloved voice, the way he said her name, was unmistakable. Then Jesus sent Mary as the very first eyewitness to the risen Christ. Mary knew Jesus’ voice. She had listened carefully to what he said. Unlike most Jewish rabbis in his day, Jesus taught women as well as men (see Luke 10:38-42). How can you come to know the “sound” of Jesus’ voice? What practices and choices can make your relationship with Jesus personal, a link between your heart and his? 

Wednesday, April 19:  Read Mark 16:1-8.
The oldest manuscripts we have of Mark’s gospel end at 16:8. We don’t know if the abrupt ending was Mark’s intention, or reflects a loss of what he wrote. But even as it stands, verse 6 said Mary and her companions had heard the good news: “He has been raised.” Mark’s resurrection story contains one vital extra detail. In Mark 16:7, the angel told Mary Magdalene and the other women, “Tell his disciples, especially Peter, that he is going ahead of you into Galilee.” Peter, who had publicly denied even knowing Jesus, was specifically included by name. What does this tell you about Jesus’ grace toward Peter? Can you trust Jesus to treat you the same way when you fail?

Thursday, April 20
:  Read Matthew 28:1-10.
Jesus said that he would rise after three days (see Matthew 16:21), so we might expect his followers to be eager to greet the risen Lord on the third day. Not even close! Mary Magdalene and the other Mary came to look at the tomb. These very real women felt “great fear and excitement,” a reaction much like most of us would have had. Try to put yourself in their shoes: what is there in the mystery and power of God that stirs a certain kind of fear in your heart? Have you ever had the sense that following God might cause huge changes in your life? What is there about sensing that God is at work through your life that fills you with the greatest joy?

Friday, April 21:  Read Luke 24:1-12.
Upon returning to Jesus’ tomb, the women didn’t find his body, but did find two men in gleaming clothes who said, “Why do you look for the living among the dead? He isn’t here, but has been raised.” They reported this to the eleven, and again we see the bluntly honest way the gospels reported what happened. “Their words struck the apostles as nonsense, and they didn’t believe the women.” These accounts make it clear that no one expected to see Jesus alive that Sunday. They were gripped by preconceived ideas of what the Messiah would be and do, and of what death meant. In what ways can preconceived ideas make it harder for you to trust the Bible’s testimony? When have you found greater joy and peace after letting God overturn some fixed idea of yours?

Saturday, April 22:
Reflect on your week’s readings, and join us for Sunday school at 9:30 a.m. and worship at 10:30 a.m. on Sunday. Worship is our human response to the goodness, mercy and love of God. It is also a moment in which God speaks to us, renews us, forgives us and reminds us of who we are, and Whose we are.


 
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