April 2024 New Horizons

The Resurrection: Good News for the Undeserving

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The Resurrection: Good News for the Undeserving

The first recipients of the news of the empty tomb provide a vivid demonstration of how the Holy Spirit transforms sinners through the power of the resurrected Christ. In Mark 16:6–7, the angel announces, “He has risen; he is not here. See the place where they laid him. But go, tell his disciples and Peter that he is going before you to Galilee.” We might think this news would first be delivered to those who condemned him or the crowds that had shouted “crucify him!” Christ would have been vindicated! But this is not Christ’s concern, for he is vindicated by his Father (Eph. 1:20–21). He delivers the message first to his church, even to those who seem like unlikely prospects: Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James, and Salome (Mark 16:1). We may be surprised that all four Gospels mention Mary Magdalene as present because by all accounts she should not be here. We meet her back in Luke 8 where we learn that she had been delivered from the power of seven demons. By our accounting, she ... Read more

The Women at the Empty Tomb

The Gospels begin their accounts of the resurrection of Jesus by relating how a group of women went to his tomb and found it empty. Then they saw Jesus—the first people to do so. These women had followed Jesus on his final journey to Jerusalem. Indeed, when Jesus traveled about with his twelve disciples, women often accompanied them and “provided for them out of their means.” They included women whom Jesus had healed, such as Mary Magdalene, Joanna (the wife of King Herod’s household manager), and Susanna (Luke 8:1–3). Jesus was crucified outside Jerusalem, and his body was taken down from the cross by Joseph of Arimathea, a rich Jewish leader who secretly followed Jesus. In a nearby garden was a large tomb that Joseph had recently cut out of a rock face for his own use, and there he laid Jesus’s body. A heavy stone was rolled in front of the entrance. All this was observed by Mary Magdalene and other women (Matt. 27:61; Luke 23:55). On the next day (the Sabbath), guards were placed at the ... Read more

Priming the Pump for Prayer

J. I. Packer once wrote about the Lord’s Prayer, [It] should be put to service to direct and spur on our prayers constantly. To pray in terms of it is the sure way to keep our prayers within God’s will; to pray through it, expanding the clauses as you go along, is the sure way to prime the pump when prayer dries up and you find yourself stuck. We never get beyond this prayer; not only is it the Lord’s first lesson in praying, it is all the other lessons too. Lord, teach us to pray. ( Growing in Christ , 157–158) With help from the Heidelberg Catechism and the Shorter Catechism, here is a pump primer for Christian prayer. “Our Father in Heaven” We come to you in the name of Jesus, relying on his doing, dying, and ongoing mediation. It’s because of his saving work that you have justified us and adopted us as your beloved children, so that we may call you, “our Father.” It’s through faith in him that we have boldness and access with confidence to your throne of grace. ... Read more


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