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Sunday, April 4, 2010

Through the Valley

"Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil."

Those words from Psalm 23 are some of the most familiar in the whole Bible. But how many of us realize we are walking in that valley every single day? Police officers, firemen, soldiers, CIA and FBI agents work jobs where they walk out the front door every day knowing they may not come home. Pilots, truck drivers, oil riggers, fishermen and others in hazardous jobs do, too. Those of you who have “safe” jobs don’t always think of yourself as “in the valley” every day, but how many of those who worked at the Murray Federal Building in Oklahoma City or the Twin Towers in New York worked safe jobs? How many people are killed yearly commuting to or from their safe jobs? How many die of heart attacks from job related stress? Now add everyone who is at risk for death through every possible circumstance.

Do you see what I mean? We all walk through the valley daily.

On Friday, I encouraged you to put yourself in the place of Jesus’ disciples and forget you knew about the resurrection. Imagine you live in Jesus’ time where false Messiah’s have been popping up for years and will for several more. You’ve seen his miracles, though, and are convinced he’s THE ONE. Then, the Roman Empire, the most powerful government on the face of the earth, the one you daily expect him to overthrow, kills him. He has raised Lazarus from the dead but he cannot save himself from the power of the empire. Not even when Jesus is told to save himself does he do it.

We know Jesus would not save himself, but his disciples did not. Now he’s dead, they think he is just like the other fake Messiah’s who’ve come and gone, only they were stupid enough to get sucked in this time. Jesus was helpless against the power of death and now they are going to be hunted down and killed for idiotically following him. They were very literally walking through the valley of death. Just like us.

Then came the morning! Up from the grave He arose in a mighty triumph o’re His foes. And because He lives, I can face tomorrow; because He lives all fear is gone. Oh, for a thousand tongues to sing my great Redeemer’s praise!

These lines from some of our great hymns can only begin to tell the wonder of Christ’s victory over death. There are not words enough to write what Easter means for the follower of Christ. Our entire faith hinges on this one morning, this Resurrection Sunday. Victory. Over. Death. All types of death: emotional, spiritual and physical. Jesus’ sacrifice secured our ability to conquer them all.

We fear no evil for Jesus is with us. The Emmanuel (God with us) of Christmas has finished his work and become our Redeemer of Easter.

Halleluiah, Christ arose!

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