He is Risen, Bedford Falls!

April 8, 2007

Easter is a great holiday, a wonderful mixture of the beauty of God’s creation in Springtime and the glory of the resurrection of Jesus Christ, possibly with a side of the final round of the Master’s. For me, this Easter was especially delicious because I spent it in Jerusalem–the place where it all went down 2000 years ago.

Last night, our “Life of Christ” teacher Bill Schlegel took us around the city on a hike that traced the steps of Jesus in his last night. We started on the Western Hill, probably near the location of the Last Supper and ended at a rolling stone tomb outside the city. Reviewing the story of Jesus’ last night required much walking, and we were quite tired as finally returned to our hostel shortly after midnight.

As we walked through the city and read the Gospel accounts of what happened, Jesus’ words stood out to me. He was about to leave and die; what would he say to his disciples? As you think about the words of John 13-17 in this context, the words strike you with more of their full weight and force. I was encouraged to “abide in Christ” and to make more efforts to let his word “dwell in me richly.”

This morning, we woke up before dawn and walked to the Garden Tomb for a sunrise service. Yesterday, we had sung “See What a Morning” (written by Keith Getty and Stuart Townend, check the Gettys out here) at Jerusalem Assembly–the church we attend every Shabbat. When we arrived at the Garden Tomb, we were all excited to see this song listed on our song sheets. In a city dominated by Islam, Judaism, and Catholicism, I was so refreshed to worship the Risen Lamb with so many other believers (1400 people attended.) The singing was Christ-centered and joyful; the sermon was encouraging and challenging. To top it all off, the weather was beautiful–or as the song says, “gloriously bright with the dawning of hope in Jerusalem.” This has been a special Easter for me.

Last night, Bill said something on our walk that struck me. He pointed out in the text where Jesus says it would have been better for Judas if he had not been born. He also said that because of Christ and salvation, we do not need to have that perspective. Because we know the Risen Savior, it is a good thing that we have been born.

As he was talking about this, my mind did what it normally does–found a movie quote that coincides with the present topic of conversation. I thought about “It’s a Wonderful Life” when George Bailey tells Clarence that it would have been better if he had never been born. (This, of course, occurs after he explains to Clarence that “money comes in pretty handy down here, bub.”) As the movie turns out, George realizes that he has a wonderful life, and he expresses this joy as he so memorably runs down the main street of Bedford Falls shouting “Merry Christmas” to everyone & everything he passes.

For true Christians, this kind of joy should be the permanent state of our souls. When we realize the glorious magnitude of the resurrection, our hearts should be full of “joy that is inexpressible and filled with glory.” (1 Pet. 1:8) Our sins are forgiven, death has lost its sting, the Evil One has been defeated, our eternal future is secured–it is finished, and our Savior is alive!

He is risen.

He is risen, indeed.

What do you know about that, Bert!?

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3 Responses to “He is Risen, Bedford Falls!”

  1. Thomas Flower said

    Hey Ben!
    Great Blog! Thanks for the encouragement! Its good to hear how you are doing in Israel and am excited to see you soon! Ty

  2. Bill said

    Ben,

    This post came in pretty handy down here, bub!

    That was really encouraging. Thanks for keeping it real and sharing with us your thoughts from the scene. We love ya and are looking forward to you coming back!!!

    Bill

  3. Steve said

    My mouth’s bleeding, Bert! My mouth’s bleeding! Haha!

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