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      Nurturing people in the image of God since 1868.                                                                          POB 397/520 Dry Creek Rd./Smithville, TN

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The Best of the Story

An eight year old boy went to summer camp.  A week later his parents received a post card which in its entirety read as follows, “Dear Mom and Dad, I knew all along something awful was going to happen.  Well, last night it did.”  At the end of John 19 something awful has happened.  Jesus is dead and in the tomb.  To Jesus’ disciples things couldn’t have looked more awful.  But wait!  Gospel writers don’t end their letters telling us something awful happened at the cross.  Like Paul Harvey, they tell us the rest of the story, and in this case the rest of the story is the best of the story!  John 20 is not 10 verses old before we are racing to the tomb with Peter and John after Mary Magdalene has delivered the astounding news that Jesus’ body is no longer in the tomb!  And, as they say, “the rest is history.”  The gospel writers all tell us that Jesus came forth from the grave, triumphant over death.  Although skeptics and opponents denied it and tried to stop them, the early disciples of Jesus surged across the Roman Empire with the earth-shaking announcement, “He is risen!”  Nothing could stop them from telling this story.

It is compelling to realize that the church of Christ has celebrated the resurrection of Jesus, not just once  year, but once every week in an unbroken chain of Lord’s Days tracing all the way back to the days immediately following the Day of Pentecost in Acts 2 when the church came into being.  In the words of 1 Corinthians 11: 26, “For as often as you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death till He comes.”  Every Sunday Christians who assemble with the church participate in something profoundly important and unique - we are helping to tell the rest of the story.  As the church assembles around the Lord’s table to remember His death,  burial, and resurrection in the Lord’s Supper, she challenges a skeptical world with irrefutable evidence - the tomb where Jesus was buried is still empty!  As a sign seen outside a church building said, “Join our sit-in demonstration every Sunday!”  The church itself is a powerful proof Jesus is alive and well!

In reality, the rest of the story isn’t over yet.  First Peter 1: 8-9 challenges us with these stirring words, “Whom having not seen you love.  Though now you do not see Him, yet believing, you rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory, receiving the end of your faith; the salvation of your souls.”  God has written and told us something wonderful has happened - but he rest and the best are yet to come.  We will one day be with the Lord!  May God help His church to keep telling the rest and the best of the story.

Dan Gulley
Smithivlle church of Christ