Acts 10:34-43 The Voice (VOICE)
Peter: 34 It is clear to me now that God plays no favorites, 35 that God accepts every person whatever his or her culture or ethnic background, that God welcomes all who revere Him and do right. 36 You already know that God sent a message to the people of Israel; it was a message of peace, peace through Jesus the Anointed—who is King of all people. 37 You know this message spread through Judea, beginning in Galilee where John called people to be ritually cleansed through baptism.[a] 38 You know God identified Jesus as the uniquely chosen One by pouring out the Holy Spirit on Him, by empowering Him. You know Jesus went through the land doing good for all and healing all who were suffering under the oppression of the evil one, for God was with Him. 39 My friends and I stand as witnesses to all Jesus did in the region of Judea and the city of Jerusalem. The people of our capital city killed Him by hanging Him on a tree, 40 but God raised Him up on the third day and made it possible for us to see Him. 41 Not everyone was granted this privilege, only those of us whom God chose as witnesses. We actually ate and drank with Him after His resurrection. 42 He told us to spread His message to everyone and to tell them that He is the One whom God has chosen to be Judge, to make a just assessment of all people—both living and dead. 43 All the prophets tell us about Him and assert that every person who believes in Jesus receives forgiveness of sins through His name.
Psalm 118:14-24 The Voice (VOICE)
14 He is my strength, and He is the reason I sing;
15 In the tents of the righteous soldiers of God,
Early Christians found in the words of this psalm a wonderful way of describing the significance of Jesus. He was the rejected stone whom God made the cornerstone of a brand-new temple (verses 22–24).
19 Open wide to me the gates of justice
20 This is the gate of the Eternal;
21 I will praise You because You answered me when I was in trouble.
1 Corinthians 15:19-26 The Voice (VOICE)
19 If what we have hoped for in the Anointed doesn’t take us beyond this life, then we are world-class fools, deserving everyone’s pity.
20 But the Anointed One was raised from death’s slumber and is the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep in death. 21 For since death entered this world by a man, it took another man to make the resurrection of the dead our new reality. 22 Look at it this way: through Adam all of us die, but through the Anointed One all of us can live again. 23 But this is how it will happen: the Anointed’s awakening is the firstfruits. It will be followed by the resurrection of all those who belong to Him at His coming, 24 and then the end will come. After He has conquered His enemies and shut down every rule and authority vying for power, He will hand over the Kingdom to God, the Father of all that is. 25 And He must reign as King until He has put all His enemies under His feet. 26 The last hostile power to be destroyed is death itself.
John 20:1-18 The Voice (VOICE)
As the lifeless body of Jesus is laid into the virgin tomb, those who witnessed the spectacle retreat into the city that has claimed the lives of so many prophets. All are crushed that their teacher and friend has died such a horrible death. Their hopes are dashed against the rocks of Golgotha. In the first hours of grief, Jesus’ followers huddle together in secret in the city, hoping to avoid arrests and executions. They mourn. They grieve. They remember. Three days later, some venture outside the city and return to the place where He was buried. Miraculously, the stone has been rolled back, and the rock-hewn tomb is empty. Has someone taken His body? Are His enemies laying a trap for His followers? Or perhaps—could it be—that the last days have arrived?
20 Before the sun had risen on Sunday morning, Mary Magdalene made a trip to the tomb where His body was laid to rest. In the darkness, she discovered the covering had been rolled away. 2 She darted out of the garden to find Simon Peter and the dearly loved disciple to deliver this startling news.
Mary Magdalene: They have taken the body of our Lord, and we cannot find Him!
3 Together, they all departed for the tomb to see for themselves. 4 They began to run, and Peter could not keep up. The beloved disciple arrived first 5 but did not go in. There was no corpse in the tomb, only the linens and cloths He was wrapped in. 6 When Simon Peter finally arrived, he went into the tomb and observed the same: 7 the cloth that covered His face appeared to have been folded carefully and placed, not with the linen cloths, but to the side. 8 After Peter pointed this out, the other disciple (who had arrived long before Peter) also entered the tomb; and based on what he saw, faith began to well up inside him! 9 Before this moment, none of them understood the Scriptures and why He must be raised from the dead. 10 Then they all went to their homes.
11 Mary, however, stood outside the tomb sobbing, crying, and kneeling at its entrance. 12 As she cried, two heavenly messengers appeared before her sitting where Jesus’ head and feet had been laid.
Heavenly Messengers: 13 Dear woman, why are you weeping?
Mary Magdalene: They have taken away my Lord, and I cannot find Him.
14 After uttering these words, she turned around to see Jesus standing before her, but she did not recognize Him.
Jesus: 15 Dear woman, why are you sobbing? Who is it you are looking for?
She still had no idea who it was before her. Thinking He was the gardener, she muttered:
Mary Magdalene: Sir, if you are the one who carried Him away, then tell me where He is and I will retrieve Him.
Jesus: 16 Mary!
Mary Magdalene (turning to Jesus and speaking in Hebrew): Rabboni, my Teacher!
Jesus: 17 Mary, you cannot hold Me. I must rise above this world to be with My Father, who is also your Father; My God, who is also your God. Go tell this to all My brothers.
18 Mary Magdalene obeyed and went directly to His disciples.
The hope of resurrection has often been a topic on the lips of Jesus. Now it is taking shape. Confusion gives way to conviction as Jesus appears alive over the next few Sundays. One by one He convinces His followers that God has raised Him from the dead.
Mary Magdalene (announcing to the disciples): I have seen the Lord, and this is what He said to me . . .
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