Barry Boulware tells a great story:
There is a town that puts on a community-wide Easter pageant each year.
Everyone participates. Some have assigned parts while others simply fill the streets to play the part of the crowd. One year the character of Jesus goes to the most unlikely person in the town. He's a huge, burly, brawler of a man, an oilfield worker with cracked hands and a rougher face. After weeks of rehearsals, the pageant arrives.
Picture the scene.
The waiting crowd sees Jesus. He comes, carrying his cross down main street.
Everyone screams, "Crucify him! Crucify him!"
One small man is especially caught up in the yelling and the heat of the moment. Jesus nears him and the little man in a frenzy breaks forward and does the unthinkable. He spits in Jesus' face.
Those nearby instantly freeze and silence seems to ripple outward through the crowd like a wave. The small man is horrified as he realizes what he's done. Everyone watches with big eyes as the huge brawler halts and slowly wipes the spit from his face.
He rises to his full height and looks in the eyes of the now shriveled man. He
says only one thing.
"I'll be back for you after the resurrection."
"After the resurrection!" It's an amazing phrase because it fits every one of us. Easter reminds us we all live after the resurrection. Jesus died on the cross to pay the price for all our wrongs. Three days later he rose from the dead. He now offers us all a new life.
We know we need it. Deep inside we know. We have all spit in the face of God, all spit in the face of our fellow brothers and sisters. Sometimes we really didn't mean to. We were just caught up in the moment. Still we know we have been mean, dismissive, disrespectful to others and to God. And Jesus' promise is that he'll be back for us after the resurrection.
But now the good news: The difference from the town's play is that despite his power and size, he's coming back in love. The story of Easter every year is the reminder of forgiveness offered and new life available. A missionary tells of a man in Africa who changed his name when he became a Christian.
Reasoning that all things were now new and different in his life, he also decided on a new name. He simply called himself "After."
Rick Cupp is minister at Kenai Fellowship. Sunday Bible classes for all ages: 10 a.m., worship: 11:15 a.m., Wednesday worship and Bible classes for all ages, 7 p.m.
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