Monday, March 7, 2011

The Truth

Most of you know that before I was a pastor, I was a banker. However, you may not know that before I was a banker, I was a buyer and sales manager for a store in Greenville, SC that sold high-end furniture, home accessories, handmade rugs, and other types of floor coverings. In addition to the products, we also offered interior design services.

Because of the design service we offered, we did a large number of special orders. The delivery time on most wood furniture pieces was 4-6 weeks and 6-8 weeks on upholstered pieces. However, sometimes there was a glitch somewhere along the way, and it could take longer.

Such was the case with one client. One of the designers came into my office with an upset client. She was angry because a set of dining chairs that she had ordered were taking a very long time. It had been almost nine weeks since the chairs were ordered. The client was very upset and was blaming the designer for being slow in ordering the chairs or not placing the order at all. I assured her that I would find out where the chairs were and call her back.

The sales representative from that company was a friend, so I called him. He was astonished that we had not received the chairs and told me he would call me back with some information before the day was over. He kept his word, but I was not prepared for his answer.

He told me that the chairs were imported. They were made of mahogany and hand carved in the Philippines. He affirmed that our designer had placed the order correctly, and that the order was in their system. So, with a little indignation in my voice, I asked, “So, where are my chairs?”

He replied, “Stacy, you’re never going to believe me. The chairs are at the bottom of the Pacific Ocean somewhere between the Philippines and the U.S. The cargo ship that was carrying them sank. We placed a new order for the chairs about three weeks ago, so you should have your chairs in a week or two.”

If he had not been such a good man and a friend, I would not have believed him. Now my problem was having to tell my client, and expecting her to believe me. As it turned out, she did, and everything was fine.

Imagine what would have happened if the “sinking ship” story had not been true. What if I suspected that the company was lying to me? What if I threatened to pull all of our business with the company? Do you suppose they would continue to lie? What if I walked into the office of the company’s CEO, put a gun to his head and threatened to kill him if I didn’t get the truth? Would he continue to lie? Probably not.

Jesus told his disciples and a number of others that he was going to suffer and die, but that He would be raised on the third day. However, many of them didn’t want to accept that it could happen or didn’t believe Him. Everything happened, though, just as He said.

He was executed and buried, but then rose on the third day. After His resurrection, He spent 40 days with His friends. He touched them and ate, walked and talked with them. They knew that this was no ghost. He was alive!!

From the best evidence we have, we know that all of the twelve disciples, except for John, died violent deaths. Some were tortured, but all faced death. All they had to do was renounce their “story” about Jesus’ resurrection. They refused. Not one of them reversed their position. They were willing to die because they knew Jesus had risen, and they would not have done so if the resurrection was a made up story.

Is the resurrection true in your life or is it simply a story you like to believe? Have you faced the cross and accepted the reality that the blood shed there was for you, or have you written it off as folklore? Does the empty tomb prove victory for you or does it point to an ancient conspiracy?

The account of the death and resurrection of Jesus is very real. He is alive and by His resurrection, we have eternal life as well. Whether or not we choose to ignore or disbelieve the truth, does not affect the truth. I could have chosen to not believe that a ship sank, but it would not have changed the fact that twelve dining chairs are still at the bottom of the ocean. Accept the Truth of Jesus Christ and live a blessed life on this earth, and an eternal one in Heaven!

God has raised this Jesus to life, and we are all witnesses of it. Therefore let all Israel be assured of this: God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Messiah. (Acts 2:32 & 36 NIV. From Peter’s sermon on the day of Pentecost)

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