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Monday, March 22, 2021

How Many Times Do I Have To Tell You?

By Joe Chesser

     “How many times do I have to tell you?!  How many times?” I guess every parent has said this at some time or another, in part because every parent had heard it from their parents.  Parents tell their children over and over to pick up their clothes or to shut the door or to put their dishes in the sink.  Yet, for some reason their words just don’t seem to make it from the kids’ ears to their brains to their heart.  As a result, their behavior isn’t changed.
     So, we shouldn’t be surprised when we read that the women and disciples, upon reaching Jesus’ tomb, were shocked to find it empty (Luke 24:1-12).  They wept and wondered at what had happened to the body of Jesus, but they didn’t remember that He had told them plainly and repeatedly that after three days He would rise again (Mark 8:31-32, 9:30-32, 10:32-34).  Perhaps Jesus felt like saying, “How many times do I have to tell you?!”  And, even after an angel told them that He had risen, they still were afraid and bewildered (Mark 16:8).
     The New Testament speaks often about the resurrection of Jesus.  But I’m afraid that no matter how many times it is plainly taught, many people will remain ignorant and confused about it.  Somehow the significance of the resurrection doesn’t get from the ears to the brain to the heart.  So, even though the story of the resurrection is told in countless homes and churches around the globe, the behavior of the hearers rarely is affected all that much.
     The resurrection of Jesus gives us hope: hope for the forgiveness of sins (1 Cor. 15:17; 1 Peter 1:3, 3:21), and hope for eternal life (1 Cor. 15:19; Romans 8:11).  But it is also intended to change our lives as we are raised from baptism to walk in newness of life  (Romans 6:4).  Because we have been raised with Christ, we are expected to live differently from the rest of the world.  Paul wrote in Colossians 3:1-4:
                “Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things
                above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God.  Set your minds on
                things above, not on earthly things.  For you died, and your life is now
                hidden with Christ in God.  When Christ, who is your life, appears, then
                you will also appear with him in glory.”
He then proceeds to be specific about the changes than need to occur in the life of those who have been “raised with Christ.”  Christians need to get rid of anger, rage, malice, slander and filthy language (Col. 3:8), and they need to add things like compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience (Col 3:12). But my point is that the resurrection should not only give us hope, it should change our lives.
     But for that to happen, at some point the words must to get past our ears to our brains to our heart.  How many times will you need to hear this for it to change your life?
- Joe Chesser preaches for the Fruitland Church of Christ, Fruitland, MO.  He may be contacted at joeandareva@yahoo.com


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