Musings of a Tomb Guard

“Wake up! We must go guard the tomb!
Saturday ruined! It seems obvious to assume.
Soldiers all gather to listen to chief priests, Pharisees.
Duty is calling but can we just get a little rest please?

Guard the tomb was our primary job,
Protection from the disciples’ mob;
Clearly a day filled with being bored,
To watch a tomb of a man adored;
Was he a prophet or crazy in the head?
Was he a blasphemer or someone just dead?

A Roman centurion watched the night before,
Surely the Son of God he would implore;
Was this gossip or was this true?
Seems as though only God knew.

Gathered at the tomb was the entire guard,
Stealing him away was going to be hard;
What’s the big deal, this man was kind?
He fed thousands and healed the blind.
But called Himself God, sounded crazy,
Named the Pharisees like no daisy;

This Saturday would not be filled with rest,
Watch all day and night for any uninvited guest;
Indeed all day nobody ever arrived,
We wonder, would this man be revived?
Will tomorrow bring what yesterday promised?
Or will Sunday just be a day the most calmest?

Now darkness is here and all is still quiet,
Everyone finds silence is their steady diet;
Hearts begin to wonder is God absent?
Or should that thought make us repent?

Just after midnight into the next day,
Still no activity even on this Sunday;
Tired and weary there’s a sudden light,
The earth quakes, we’re all in a fright;
Brilliant angel appears in pure white,
The stone rolled away in the dead of night;

We watch alive though bodies seem dead,
Did Jesus really arise just as he said?
Two women now here at the break of dawn,
The angel explains that this is no con;
Jesus had risen, they go and see,
Seeing the truth, they quickly flee;
The tomb is EMPTY, share the good news,
We, soldiers, are stunned, this is no ruse;

Word begins to spread, so we go to the city,
Share the news with elder, Pharisee committee;
They want to pay us so we would lie,
To defuse what happened before our eye;
I couldn’t take the money for that fib,
The truth didn’t need me to be that glib;

Did my eyes see a promise fulfilled?
Jesus alive after he had been killed?
Do I now believe the good news of this man?
All of this happened according to His plan.
A stunning reversal from night to day,
“I must believe” is all that I can say.
The world’s most evil wrong now turned,
To give grace to me, which is unearned;

Jesus gave His life for His sheep,
The Bread of Life we can all keep;
The River of Living Water,
All because of His slaughter;
The Lamb of God, Resurrection and Life,
Light of the world, and peace from strife;

My final conclusion is I must believe,
Then it is His rest that I can receive;
My day began in total annoyance,
Jesus came to life for my total joyance!

Written Narrative

“Wake up! We must go guard the tomb!” Why am I being awakened on my Saturday? All I want to do is rest.

“Hurry, the chief priests and Pharisees are gathering the soldiers to guard the tomb!” All I want to do is rest. But, duty calls, and I always answer that call.

All the soldiers gathered as the chief priests and Pharisees explained our responsibility. Clearly it was going to be a long day and night of being bored guarding the tomb of some religious zealot. Many of our people thought he was a prophet, many thought he was crazy, many thought he was a blasphemer, but I think he’s just dead.

There was word among our group that a Roman centurion watched him die the night before and believed he was the Son of God. Others said they had heard that the curtain in the temple was torn in two, from top to bottom. How much of this was the gossip grapevine? How much of this was true? Maybe only God knows.

It looked like every soldier in our entire army was gathered for this assignment. Why do we need so many? I had seen this man in the last couple of years. Some said he was our king. All I saw was that he cared for the poor, healed the sick, and fed thousands. But, I also heard that he said some crazy things like the Pharisees were vipers and whitewashed tombs.

So here we are, hundreds of us if not thousands of us guarding this tomb of a single dead guy. How would his disciples even steal him away? The stone in front of the tomb would take a hundred men or more to roll away. It’s going to be a boring Saturday, and I’m clearly not going to get rest.

As evening begins, we have been standing watch for over 12 hours. Nobody has even come by. Apparently this man said he would rise after three days, so we are guarding the tomb to make sure no one would fake this man’s resurrection. The same question is ringing through our hearts, “Will tomorrow bring what yesterday promised?”

Darkness has fallen all around us. There are murmurs among the soldiers that this has been the biggest waste of time. Although, maybe his disciples are waiting to get him until it is fully dark. Many soldiers have turned quiet. We wonder if God is absent in this silence.

It is just after midnight, now Sunday morning, and there has still been no activity. We are all tired, and we are all convinced that the chief priests and Pharisees were afraid for nothing. We are getting no rest.

Then all of the sudden the earth shook and a bright light-like lightning filled the sky. Before our eyes was a man or an angel dressed in pure white. It was like we could see all this happening but our bodies couldn’t move. We were dead although alive. Then we realized this magnificent being had rolled the stone away by himself!

Two women had arrived just as the light began to dawn. The angel proclaimed that Jesus had risen. The women entered the tomb and departed with great fear and joy that the tomb was EMPTY! They hurried to go share the good news.

Many of us soldiers went into the city to share with the chief priests all that had happened. They were neither surprised nor upset. Instead, the chief priests and elders gathered together and determined to pay us not to tell what happened. In fact, they wanted us to lie and say that Jesus’ disciples had taken his body.

I wasn’t going to take that money. I wasn’t going to lie. But, I also had to ask myself if this Jesus was who He said he was. Did he really rise after three days? Did I see that with my own eyes? How can I explain what happened any other way? Indeed, truly Jesus is the Son of God.

Jesus really is the Shepherd who laid down his life for His sheep. Jesus really is the Bread of Life and Fountain of Living Water. Jesus is the Lamb of God. Jesus is the Light of the World. Jesus is the Resurrection and the Life.

I believe! I can come to Jesus, and He has promised me REST!

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My Most Impactful Book

If you could pick only one book in your life that you consider to be the most impactful, what would it be? Maybe the Bible or Pilgrim’s Progress come to mind as the two most popular books of all time. Aside from these two, what is your most impactful book?

This question was recently posed to me, and it couldn’t have come at a better time. There is a book that has been the most impactful to me and is daily still impacting me.

It is not likely one you will recognize but one that I hope to expose you to in this short post today.

A Gospel Primer for Christians by Milton Vincent. Learning to See the Glories of God’s Love Purchase Here

Why is a book that is less than 100 pages so impactful?

  1. Every page is rooted in the Bible. In 75 pages there are over 290 references to scripture, and they are all provided as footnotes to read with the book.
  2. The book is broken down into four parts. Part I is 31 reasons to rehearse the gospel daily. Part II is a gospel narrative in prose form, and Part III is a gospel narrative in poetic form. Finally, Part IV is the story behind the book. All four sections are easy to read but ever so compelling to digest and contemplate.
  3. Don’t we love bite-size nuggets that we can eat but are weighty enough to fill us. This is the beauty of Part I. Each reason ranges from one paragraph to five paragraphs with the majority of them one to two paragraphs long. Short enough to not take too much time but weighty enough to last you the whole day. Oh so good!
  4. In the foreword, Mike Bullmore says it well, “I felt like I had been given a handful of precious diamonds and I could not stop looking at them.”
  5. Finally, Milton Vincent says in the Introduction, “God did not give us His gospel just so we could embrace it and be converted. Actually, He offers it to us every day as a gift that keeps on giving to us everything we need for life and godliness. The wise believer learns this truth early and becomes proficient in extracting available benefits from the gospel each day. We extract these benefits by being absorbed in the gospel, speaking it to ourselves when necessary, and by daring to reckon it true in all we do.”

To whet your appetite further, here are some quotes from the book.

From Part I

“The gospel is so foolish (according to my natural wisdom), so scandalous (according to my conscience), and so incredible (according to my timid heart), that it is a daily battle to believe the full scope of it as I should. There is simply no other way to compete with the forebodings of my conscience, the condemnings of my heart, and the lies of the world and the Devil than to overwhelm such things with daily rehearsings of the gospel.”

“As I habitually gaze upon the glory of the Lord revealed in the gospel, I can know that actual deposits of God’s very glory are attaching themselves to my person and transforming me from one level of glory to another.”

“I never have to do a moment’s labor to gain or maintain my justified status before God!”

“By preaching the gospel to myself each day, I nurture the bond that unites me with my brothers and sisters for whom Christ died, and I also keep myself well-versed in the raw materials with which I may actively love them in Christ.”

“Preaching the gospel to myself each day mounts a powerful assault against my pride and serves to establish humility in its place.”

“More than anything else I could ever do, the gospel enables me to embrace my tribulations and thereby position myself to gain full benefit from them.”

From Part II

“This wonderful God is the most supremely worthy Object of admiration, honor, and delight in all of the universe; And He has created me with the intention that I might glorify Him by finding my soul’s delight in Him and by living in joyful obedience to Him in all of my ways.”

From Part III

“And when I am sinning

God’s grace does abound,

Ensuring my justified

status is sound.

No wrath is awakened

in God at my sin,

Because Christ appeased it

(to say so again).

God’s heart pulses only

with passionate grace,

Which jealously wants me

back in His embrace.”

This is just a flavor of the drink you can enjoy over and over again. Buy the book in hard copy or e-book, and eat of it daily! Purchase Here

Union with Christ

What does Easter mean to the believer? How has the resurrection of Jesus changed those who follow Him? Why is this day so meaningful in the life of Christians?

Matt Maher helps us answer these questions in the opening verse of Christ is Risen:

Let no one caught in sin remain

Inside the lie of inward shame

We fix our eyes upon the cross

And run to Him who showed great love

Today I finished a book (Union with Christ) that I want to recommend to you. It answers the questions above and gives us so much more to chew on. Are you looking for a quick fix to your struggling life in Christ? Do you avoid discomfort or run from difficulty because Christianity should be easier? This book doesn’t promise to give you the answers to those questions that you might be looking to receive. The author (Rankin Wilbourne) instead points us to how Union with Christ is both our anchor and our engine. Kristian Stanfill in the song Jesus Paid It All captures this well:

‘Cause Jesus paid it all

All to him I owe

Sin had left a crimson stain, he washed it white as snow

Lord, now indeed I find thy power and thine alone

Can change the leper’s spots and melt the heart of stone

Because of Jesus’ finished work on the cross and the reality that He raised to life means we can be certain of our salvation (our anchor) as well as empowered to live in obedience to His joy-giving commands (our engine).

Union with Christ is packed full of truth and promises that our hearts need to hear over and over again as we remind ourselves of the absolute reality that we are eternally united to Jesus in this life and in the one to come. Click the link above to order your hard copy or kindle version to find out the way to know and enjoy God. You will not regret it. Each of us would benefit from renewing our minds of this truth found throughout scripture that we are united to Jesus Christ as those who have placed their trust and faith in Him.

The book is broken down into four sections. What is it and why do we need it? Where did it come from and where did it go? What problems does it solve? And finally, what does Union with Christ mean day by day?

As our lives encounter all sorts of challenges, we need a daily reminder that our lives are forever united to the King of kings, Lord of lords. So as we enjoy this day we celebrate our Risen Savior, let the following words from the song Hallelujah What A Savior ring true in your hearts:

Man of sorrows, what a name

For the Son of God who came

Ruined sinners to reclaim

Hallelujah! What a Savior

 

Stand unclean, no one else could

In my place condemned He stood

Now his nearness is my good

Hallelujah! What a Savior

 

Hallelujah, praise to the one

Whose blood has pardoned me

Oh what a Savior, Redeemer and King

Your love has rescued me

 

Lifted up was He to die

“It is finished!” was His cry

Now in Heaven lifted high

Hallelujah! What a Savior

 

When He comes, our Glorious King

All his ransomed home to bring

Then anew this song we’ll sing

Hallelujah! What a Savior

Hallelujah! What a Savior