Home > Devotionals > Distance • Un-distancing • 4/12/20

The day that Jesus was placed in the tomb was the darkest day in the lives of his followers. All their hopes and dreams were dead, buried with Christ. As they watched the soldiers roll the stone in front of the tomb, they felt the distance between the living and the dead. When you visit a cemetery, it’s a bleak and sad place. Stones and monuments mark the place where friends and loved ones have been buried. We feel the distance, and we solemnly realize that one day there will be a stone with our name on it. The birthdate is set, but the end date hasn’t yet been engraved. We are mortal and we will die, but what we do between birth and death will determine all of eternity. Jesus walked out of the tomb, defeated death and offers us salvation through his blood and everlasting life with him. We should spend the time between the dates growing closer to him and introducing others to him—sharing the good news of forgiveness and salvation. He is risen so that we too will rise!

Scripture
Mt 27:61; Mk 16:7; Lk 22:19-20, 54, 24:4-5; Col 2:13-14; 1 Pt 1:3


Verses
God forgave us all our trespasses, erasing the record that stood against us with its legal demand. He set this aside, nailing it to the cross. (Col 2:13-14) Let us thank the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. It was through His loving-kindness that we were born again to a new life and have a hope that never dies. This hope is ours because Jesus was raised from the dead. (1 Pe 1:3)

Thought
The story of Peter is a great example of how Christ draws us even when we distance ourselves from him. Before Jesus was arrested, he celebrated the Last Supper with the disciples and told them what was going to happen. Peter boldly declared that he would stay by Jesus’s side no matter what; but, shortly thereafter Scripture records that Jesus was arrested and Peter followed at a distance. He wanted to know what was happening but didn’t want to be identified with Jesus. He was asked three separate times if he was one of Jesus’ followers and he adamantly denied any association just as Jesus had predicted. What a sorrowful moment when Peter heard the cock crow and the realization of his denial set in. After Jesus resurrection, Peter and some other disciples were out fishing and, in the meantime, Jesus arrived on the shore watching their efforts unbeknownst to them. He built a fire and called out to the men in their boat, “Hey, did you catch anything?” They had not, so he told them to cast their nets on the other side of the boat. They caught so many fish they couldn’t pull in the nets. Peter then realized it was Jesus and jumped out of the boat and swam to meet him on the shore. Jesus offered forgiveness and Peter would not mess up the next time. Jesus is always trying to draw us close. He died to take away all of our guilt, regrets, sin and shame. Christ is waiting for us, just as he waited for Peter, to draw us close and close the distance. All we have to do is move toward him.

Questions
How many Easter Sundays have you missed being “in church”? Why do people who aren’t regular church goers attend church on Easter? How can a believer still follow Jesus at a distance? How does it affect your Christian walk if you are following closely compared to at a distance? Have you ever publicly denied Christ or not stood up for your Christian faith? Explain. Have you ever been shunned or suffered any form of persecution because of your faith in Christ? What keeps you close and prevents distance from separating you from Christ?

Response
Determine daily to stay close to God by spending time in his word and in prayer. Be ready to stand for Christ at every opportunity. Thank God for the free gift of salvation and for Jesus’ great sacrifice for you!

Prayer
Dear Heavenly Father, thank you for your grace! I cannot comprehend the pain and suffering that Jesus endured to buy my pardon and offer me a place in God’s family! Thank you for the promise of an eternal home in heaven. Today I remember and celebrate the day that Jesus defeated death, hell and the grave! Thank you, Father, that He is Risen! In Jesus Holy Name I pray, amen.