Another comforting thought of the day from my wife, Jill, in her daily readings…

                                          “In Judah God is known; his name is great in Israel.  Psalm  76:1
 
     The entire message of the Christian faith comes down to this:  Through Jesus Christ we can know God personally and intimately.  This is an astonishing thing to say.  Can anyone truly say,  “I know God” and not be boasting?  Yes.  If we are not astonished by that, it’s because we take it too much for granted.
 
     Every year the newspaper publishes a list of the most admired men and women in America.  And each year I scan the list to see if I know anyone on it.  So far the answer has always been in the negative.  But I can truly say,  “I know God” because I met Him when I met Jesus Christ.  How can that be?  How can one man’s death – good as it may be – introduce me to God?  Dead is dead. How can His death do that?  I’ll tell you how.  He’s not dead anymore.
 
     You see, if His death had been no more than our death, He would still be dead.  His death did what our death could never do – it paid for the sins of the world.  Therefore, God raised Him from the dead.
 
     Several years ago when my wife and I visited Jerusalem, we toured the holy places.  Our guide took us outside the Damascus gate north of the city to a place called Gordon’s Calvary.  Erosion has carved the image of a skull in a limestone cliff.  Next to it is a lovely tomb in a peaceful Middle Eastern garden.  Many people think this is the spot where Jesus rose from the dead.
 
     Because the opening is very small, I had to duck to go inside.  For a few seconds, I saw nothing until my eyes adjusted to the darkness.  Then I could easily make out the two chambers.  Visitors stand in the mourners chamber.  A wrought-iron fence protects the chamber where the body was laid.  As I looked around the burial chamber, I could see faint markings left by Christian pilgrims from earlier centuries.  There is no body to be found in the this tomb.  Whoever was buried there evidently left a long time ago. The Garden Tomb is empty.
 
     As I exited back into the sunlight, my eyes fastened upon a wooden sign:  “Why seek ye the living among the dead?  He is not here, but he is risen”  (Luke  24:5-6  KJV).
 
     I’m sure and certain that Jesus is alive.  I’ve read it in the pages of God’s book.  I’ve experienced Him in my own life.  Jesus is alive today.  His resurrection proves that His death had infinite value.  And through Him I know God.  Through Him I believe in God. Through Him my faith and my hope are in God.  That’s the astonishing privilege:  Through the redeeming death and victorious resurrection of Jesus Christ, we can know God.
He conquered Death and saved all who would call on His name.

Because He lives, we do not have to taste the second death.

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