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May 25, 2018
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In the Pulpit, 2-3-18

This article was published February 3, 2018 at 5:00 a.m.

Ancient Words: Resurrection Stories

Bible characters raised from the dead are shared today as we anticipate Easter Sunday on April 1, 2018. Easter is the annual Christian holiday that celebrates the Resurrection, the day that Jesus was raised from the dead. Many people have heard the story about how Jesus died and rose again. However, many may not know that the Bible tells about several other people who were raised from the dead. A list of them follows as contributed by Lauretta Marigny.

Widow of Zarephath’s son, (I Ki 17:17-24), was raised by Elijah. Elijah was a great prophet who actually was taken and did not die, yet reappeared with Moses and Jesus. He was sent by God to the widow of Zarephath. Elijah told the widow, who was running out of flour and oil, that God would provide for her and her son. God miraculously replenished the flour and oil in her containers so she could provide for herself, her son and Elijah. But then her son got sick and died. Elijah went up to the boy’s room in the loft. He laid himself over the boy’s body three times and then prayed that God would allow the boy’s soul to come back into him. The boy was raised from the dead.

Shunamite’s son, (II Ki 4:20-37), was raised by Elisha. Elisha, who was given a double portion of Elijah’s spirit, stayed in Shunem with a woman and her husband whenever he passed through their town. In fact, the couple built an extra room in their house for Elisha to use. Elisha wanted to give the woman something for her hospitality. He promised she would have a son in a year’s time. She did have a son, but when the son was boy he was harvesting with his father. He got a terrible headache so the dad sent him home. The mother held the boy in her arms, but he died. The woman put the boy on Elisha’s bed and went to get Elisha. When Elisha arrived he prayed, he laid himself over the boy’s body, and he paced back and forth in the house. The boy came back to life.

Man tossed into Elisha’s tomb, (II Ki 13:21), was raised by God’s Spirit. People were about to bury a man, but when they saw a band of raiders coming, they simply threw the dead man’s body into Elisha’s tomb. The Bible says when the corpse touched Elisha’s bones that he revived.

Widow of Nain’s son, (Lk 7:11-16), was raised by Jesus. Jesus stopped a funeral procession as they were carrying the casket to the cemetery. Jesus had compassion on the weeping mother. He told her to stop crying, and then he raised her son from the dead.

Synagogue ruler Jairus’ 12-year-old daughter, (Mk 5:35-43), was raised by Jesus. Jairus asked Jesus to come heal his dying daughter. By the time Jesus arrived she had already died. Jesus sent the mourners out, but took the girls’ parents and Peter, James and John into the room where the dead girl lay. He said, “Little girl, get up.” She did exactly as told!

Lazarus, (Jn 11:1-44), was raised by Jesus. Lazarus had been in the grave four days when Jesus approached his tomb. Jesus asked the people to take away the stone. Then Jesus called out, “Lazarus, come forth.” Lazarus came out, still wrapped in the strips of cloth, and had the grave cloths removed.

Tabitha also known as Dorcas, (Acts 9:36-41), was raised by Peter. Tabitha was a seamstress who did many good deeds yet became sick and died. Since Peter was in a nearby town they asked him to come. Peter had everyone leave the room where Tabitha lay. He knelt down and prayed and then he said, “Tabitha, arise.” She opened her eyes and then sat up.

Eutychus, (Acts 20:7-12), was raised by Paul. Late one night Paul was speaking to a group of believers. A young man was sitting in the window listening. He fell asleep and fell from the third story to his death. Paul ran down, laid himself over the body and then embraced him. He told everyone the boy was alive, and he was.

Men and women raised upon Jesus’ death, (Mt 27:51-53), were raised by God through the power of Jesus death and resurrection. When Jesus died there was a violent earthquake and the veil in the temple was torn from top to bottom. The Bible says tombs were opened and many bodies of saints arose from the dead. After Jesus’ resurrection they went into Jerusalem where many people witnessed their return to life.

Scott Johnson is pastor at East Faulkner Church of Christ and author of the BRG Bible. Bible questions can be sent to brgbible@gmail.com.

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Sparks from the Gospel Anvil

Isaiah 52:1

These words are an echo that were spoken from the corridors of eternity. They are a Call, a Challenge to a Calloused and Corrupted Humanity from the Captain of our Holiness. It was the Heritage of the Lord that was complaining as a result of their separation from the Lord. Israel is God’s people and He expected much for them, but regardless of everything that the Lord was doing for them they were constantly turning from Him. They left God out of their plans and we know, from reading their story, that we know what happened to them. Because of their interest in pleasure they discovered pain. Instead of having a festival, they were in a midst of a funeral. Instead of being Sanctified for the Sovereign, these people were shackled in sin. In the midst of their rejoicing, they fell in ruin. Because their ways were not the Lord’s way, God left them to themselves and they went into captivity under the Chaldeans. God reminded His people that the ear of the Lord is wide and will listen when they come unto Him. He reminded them that it was their own sin that had come between them and Him and brought them down into the mire. The statement of God is this, “If you want to come back to me take away that sin!” Take out that thing which alienates you from the Holy Father and His power. You do not need to be weak and helpless; you may wake up as a giant refreshed by sleep; you do not need to suffer defeat; you may be conquerors over every foe. You do not need to live in the lowlands of depression and failure; you may walk with Him in spiritual high places. You can spend time with the Infinite.

Awake, put on thy Strength, O Zion! I am sure, there was never a greater need for such an exhortation to the people of God than there is today! Where are God’s people today? Where is the valour, might and the strong spiritual giants in the service of the Lord Jesus Christ today? Where are the people in the Church whose words are like the streams of rivers flowing in a dry and thirsty land, whose lives are a benediction and the touch of whose hands quiver with healing love? Why is the Church so weak today? What Delilah within the Church has been allowed to shear our locks and to rob us of our strength? What is it that we have allowed to creep into our lives to sap our strength and power? What is it that makes us such conventional and ordinary Christians when God wants us to be extraordinary and unconventional and to help Him to turn the word upside down, or right side up? The trouble with most of us is that it is difficult to find out what we are, or where we are. We think we need a distinctive badge or decoration, to show men and women what part of us belong to Jesus, if any. Something is wrong. Where are the men, women, boys and girls of sterling Christian character? Where are the people of God? Where are those who know how to grip God’s altar and to bring down fire from heaven upon their daily sacrifice? There are so many that need to wake up and put on their strength- in the office where spirituality is sneered at; in the home where there is no respect for Jesus; in the classroom where the old-fashioned notions of listening to your parents are outgrown. Sanctified moral backbone is what we need. If I was an artist, I would like to paint some glorious pictures. Of Moses, leading the children of Israel out of Egypt through the Red Sea. But if I had the skill I would rather depict Moses when he left Egypt and refused to be called the son of Pharoah’s daughter, choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God, than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season. I would like to paint a picture of the Apostle Paul preaching on Mars Hill, confounding the philosophers and poets; with his statements about Jesus and Salvation. But I would rather paint a glorious picture of the Apostle Paul when he said, “The things that were gain to me I counted but loss that I might know Him and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings.”

These men of that caliber that the world needs today. It is backbone of that kind that is needed in the church today. Put on your Strength, there are some people that think it is a weak thing to be a Christian. Yet, it is the strongest thing in the world. It is when you try it you will discover that human strength alone is futile. Are you strong in the Lord and in the power of His might? Are you anchored steady, firmly fixed in the Rock of Ages? It is a robust thing to follow the Lord Jesus Christ! Not only is there the call to put on your Strength, but there is also the call to, put on your Beautiful Garments. It is a beautiful thing to be a Christian. It is not only a strong thing; a useful thing, but beautiful too. The other day I walked around the arboretum and there was the beauty of nature all around me. When God makes things, He makes them very beautiful! Very lovely! You must go to the woods, if you want to see beautiful things. Our pianos, our organs, our violins, our homes, our churches; our life begins and end from the woods; from the cradle to the coffin. And listen, “When I survey the wondrous cross on which the Prince of Glory died”. Remember if there had never been any woods there would have never been a cross. God wants your life to be as beautiful as flowers on a May morning. He wants your heart to be as full of music as the woods. My friends, how is it that we have not reached His standard for us? Why do we look shabby spiritually; when the Father’s wardrobe is full! Put On the beautiful garments! If Christ is within, He will make His presence known. Your appearance will reflect the beauty of Holiness. Go in His name to speak the word that brings pardon, peace, comfort, strength, and life to sin-sick souls.

Lt. Charles Smith is commanding officer of the Salvation Army of El Dorado.

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