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Can’t Cling To A Ghost

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Today’s Bible reading: 2 Samuel 18-19:10; John 20:1-31; Psalm 119:153-176; Proverbs 16:14-15

King David again shows strong military knowledge in the passages we read today. He knows how to organize his troops (2 Samuel 18:1-2). He also wants to go out to battle rather than staying behind, having learned his lesson from the last time he stayed behind (2 Samuel 11-12).

One of the more frustrating things about the Christian life is that I keep making the same mistakes over and over. I think if my life moved more slowly (its my own fault that it doesn’t) I would take the time to think things through before acting and would not repeat my bad choices.

David’s army defeats the entire army of Israel and Absalom is killed (2 Samuel 18:6-15) by Joab despite David’s commands that Absalom not be harmed. Was Joab bloodthirsty? Or was he shrewd – knowing that a live Absalom was a threat to Israel’s security in the future? Its hard to tell. I think Joab was acting on Israel’s best interests as it seems that David’s desire to keep Absalom alive was more personal than strategic.

When David receives the news of Absalom’s death he mourns, which is understandable. But he also seems to care more about Absalom, who was trying to usurp the throne, not to mention kill him, than he cares about the soldiers who risked their life for him (2 Samuel 18:33). David has clearly lost his ability to effectively lead.

Joab confronts David about this in 2 Samuel 19:5-7. David’s distress most certainly was caused by the realization that Absalom had died because of his (David’s) sins. If David had not taken all these wives and had all these children none of this would have happened. We see once again that God knows what is best for us and its best if we do what He says. His laws are not burdensome. They are for our own good.

We read about Jesus’ resurrection today in our passage in John. Both Peter and John (who is unnamed) go inside the tomb and finally realize that something happened to Jesus’ body but they didn’t know exactly what (John 20:4-9).

The orderly manner of the grave clothes clearly indicates that this was not the work of grave robbers, nor of the Romans or Jews, nor of the disciples. None of these people would have taken the time to neatly fold them. Nor would they have left them behind. Either Jesus’ body passed through the clothes (and the walls of the tomb) or He unwrapped Himself.

When Jesus rose from the dead He rose physically as we read in John 20:17 where Mary was clinging to Him. A person can’t cling to a ghost. We can only cling to someone who has a physical body.

When Jesus later appears to 10 of the disciples they might have been ready for Him to rebuke them for their behavior after He was arrested. But all is forgiven with God. The past is the past. He does not hold it against us. He knows we are frail creatures who really don’t understand what is going on. Instead Jesus demonstrates His love for them by offering them “peace” (John 20:21).

Jesus then sends the disciples into the world to continue His mission (John 20:21). From this point forward, including today, believers in Jesus are to be spreading the news about salvation through Jesus to the entire world.

Some people call Thomas “Doubting Thomas”. But really he should be called “Unbelieving Thomas” (John 20:25). He wants evidence. This is not unreasonable. Once presented with the evidence – Jesus’ resurrected body – he believes. Not only that but He calls Jesus “God”. This is not someone taking the Lord’s name in vain as some would suggest. First of all, that would not be something a good Jew would do back then (or even today). Second, Thomas said these words “to Jesus”. He did not just utter them into thin air. Thomas knew that Jesus was God.

It is fair for unbelievers to resist believing until they have evidence. But the fact is there is plenty of evidence to support Jesus existence on earth, His diety, His death, and His resurrection. There is no excuse for refusing to believe the evidence.

It is sad that salvation is so close to everyone, yet there are people who will not bother seeking (Psalm 119:155). The answers are in the Bible. Everyone has access to one, especially in the United States. There is no excuse. God makes it clear in this verse that the reason people will end up separated from God for all eternity is not because of Him. It is their refusal to seek the truth.

Comments? Questions? I’d love to hear from you. Please feel free to contact me about this post

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