Not Good Enough
Mary was standing outside the tomb crying, and as she wept, she stooped and looked in. She saw two white-robed angels, one sitting at the head and the other at the foot of the place where the body of Jesus had been lying. “Dear woman, why are you crying?” the angels asked her. “Because they have taken away my Lord,” she replied, “and I don’t know where they have put him.” “Mary!” Jesus said. She turned to him and cried out, “Rabboni!” John 20:11-13, 16 NLT
It’s easy for me to come up with all kinds of reasons why I’m not good enough. I can easily get caught up in the spiral doubts of comparison. I don’t think I’m alone in negative self-talk. We recently asked our junior high small group to list all the reasons why they feel like they are not good enough. Following, they were challenged to find scripture that would combat the lies they believe.
The resurrection of Jesus was the greatest event in human history. Jesus chose to first appear to a woman and then commissioned her to share what she had witnessed! In the day of Christ, a woman would have been considered an outcast by the religious community. Women were considered unreliable witnesses and not allowed to testify in court. All throughout the life of Jesus, he stepped over cultural boundaries. Jesus chose those that were not considered good enough, smart enough, or reliable by worldly standards. Because of the resurrection, Jesus not only broke the curse of sin but redeemed those that society labeled unworthy.
Questions to ask as you journal today:
- What ways in your life do you feel not good enough or unworthy?
- What scripture can help you combat these lies with God’s truth?
For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships,
persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong. 2 Corinthians 12:10 ESV
Paul spends a lot of time talking to the Corinthians about contentment. Contentment can be defined as being happy with what you have and not wanting what you don’t have. Paul talked about this topic so much because the Corinthians deeply struggled with this. Corinth was a growing and very affluent city much like many of the cities we live in. They were always trying and wanting to keep up with their neighbors.
This would really come to light as their following of Jesus became difficult. Many of the Corinthians would turn to false teaches of the gospel that would only teach health and wealth but not the suffering of the gospel.
In 2 Corinthians 12:10 Paul reminds the Corinthians that in our weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions and calamities God makes us strong. In our weaknesses is where Christ is made the strongest through us.
This weekend as you journal make a list of your weaknesses, your hardships, the times others have insulted you because of the gospel. Pray over this list and ask God you make you strong in your weaknesses.
When we are going through the hard times of our lives God doesn’t what us to find someone that will tell us what we want to hear. God wants to use the hard times we experience to make us stronger for him.
Be content to allow God to use your weakness to bring glory to him.
Then the other disciple, who had reached the tomb first, also went in, and he saw and believed; for as yet they did not understand the Scripture, that he must rise from the dead. John 20: 8-9 ESV
At the moment Peter and John looked in the tomb they knew something was different. Something about the way the grave clothes were still there wasn’t quite right. Why would robbers, or enemies, or even followers of Jesus remove the cloths? It didn’t make sense. All they knew was something very unusual had happened. Imagine their joy when they realized Jesus had risen from the dead!
Later they could look back and see how Jesus’ death was God’s plan all along to save His people and how God was in control the entire time. They knew they could put their own life in God’s hands and fully trust His plan.
The other night my family got into a discussion about the book of Revelation. It didn’t take long for my son to realize even though there are studies and theories on Revelation, not one of us knows exactly how the scriptures will play out. I could see the light bulb go off for my son, and maybe a little fear, when he realized just how much we believe by faith. It gave us a great opportunity to explain that even though we don’t understand right now, because the words in the Bible are proven to be true over and over again, we believe someday we will look back and see how everything fit together and happened exactly the way God explained in the scriptures.
What is easy for you to trust in God? Write it in your journal. In what area do you have a hard time trusting? Write it in your journal and ask God to help you trust through prayer and His Word.
God is much more awesome and powerful than we can wrap our minds around, and because of that, we can put our life in His hands and trust His plan. He is in control.
And let our people learn to devote themselves to good works, so as to help cases of urgent need, and not be unfruitful.
- Titus 3.14
There’s a pervasive thinking that young people today are more civically minded and socially engaged. Part of our Young Adult Ministry at ECC is built to harness this passion for justice and turn it into local engagement.
However, this week, I came across a study that refuted the belief that today’s young adults are more socially conscious and active in their communities. This was extremely good news!
What?! How could that be good news?!
The study revealed that young people today are not more civically minded than prior generations; in fact, those surveyed showed a near identical interest in volunteerism with the surveys of prior generations.
This means that being devoted to good works isn’t a young adult thing. All of us are drawn toward being helpful to those in need.
And that appears to be what Paul is reminding Titus of at the end of this letter. Part of the Spirit’s fruit in our lives is revealed in our willingness and obedience to love our neighbor as ourselves.
This is a learned skill. Paul encourages Titus to enroll people in a “School of Good Works” where each act of ridiculous love manifests the Kingdom of our Lord.
Devotion to good works is the fruit of salvation, not the means. We are saved by grace through faith alone and this is not something that we can manipulate with good deeds.
Today, it might be helpful to assess our fruitfulness. Here are three questions to contemplate as you move through your day:
- How has salvation inspired me to do good in this world?
- Where are the cases of urgent need around me?
- Have I continued to learn this skill or have I stalled in my growth?
I’m so grateful that this isn’t a young adult thing, but is instead a Church thing. Together, we really can become a Church of ridiculous love!
“Then Simon Peter, who was behind him, arrived and went into the tomb. He saw the strips of linen lying there as well as the burial cloth that had been around Jesus’ head. The cloth was folded up by itself, separate from the linen.” John 20:6-7 (NIV)
I have always wondered why the condition of the burial cloth was described in detail in this passage. It seems specific. So, digging a little, I found that some scholars say that grave robbers at that time would have been interested in the cloth rather than the body. Also, if anyone wanted to steal a body in those days, they would not have wanted to take it away without the cloth still on. Grave robberies typically left things in disorder and did not take time to neatly fold linen. All of this points to evidence that Jesus’ body was not stolen.
Even more interesting is that Jesus left his grave clothes in the grave. The bible doesn’t talk about what his new clothes looked like when he appeared to his disciples, but they were not grave clothes. These discarded grave clothes provide us a good picture of how Jesus left our sin and death in the grave – the fact that he folded them, shows the intentionality with which he left them there. He was risen to life and so are we if we believe and accept this gift. Galatians 3:27 says, “for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourself with Christ.” We are new.
So my question is, do you still live like you are wearing grave clothes? Or do you live in the new clothes of Christ? Reflect and journal about how you lived life yesterday and which clothes were reflected in that day.
“Then the other disciple, who had reached the tomb first, also went in, and he saw and believed.”
We’ve heard the phrase, “Seeing is believing.” Often it has a negative connotation; a comment of initial disbelief that needs more evidence to be proven true. Whether it’s an outrageously looking you tube video, a dramatic human feat, or a “too good to be true” story, we often need some more proof.
Case in point, despite all the signs and symptoms that indicated otherwise, until we saw the plus sign from a pregnancy test for our sixth child, we did not believe pregnancy was an option for us. Thirteen years of “unanswered” prayers had blurred our belief. We had lost some hope. Seeing that sign restored hope and helped us understand that the same God who provided our miracles through adoption was able to do the seemingly impossible.
John 20:8-9 describes a similar experience for John and Peter. The NLT language says it plainly, “for until then they still hadn’t understood the Scriptures that said Jesus must rise from the dead.” Upon seeing the empty tomb and folded linens, they believed. Suddenly Scriptures and previous conversations with Jesus came alive. Sometimes seeing is believing.
Consider the following questions as you journal:
- What do you find believable / unbelievable about the resurrection of Jesus?
- Read John 20:27-31. Some of Jesus’ disciples believed without needing to see, Thomas needed to see before believing. When it comes to believing, are you a “blind faith” kind of person or do you need some “proof” to help you?
- How does 1 Peter 1:8 encourage you?
Stages of Belief
Then the disciple who had reached the tomb first also went in, and he saw and believed- for until then they still hadn’t understood the Scriptures that said Jesus must rise from the dead. Then they went home. John 20:8-10 NLT
When I read the scriptures, I have a habit of putting myself in each story asking myself, “Who would I be in this text?” God is intentional. I believe that He gave us biblical examples of all kinds of situations, so that today we have the ability to search the scriptures and find answers and proof for our questions and doubts.
As we read this story from John 20:1-10 of Jesus rising from the dead and appearing for the first time, the witnesses had various reactions to this miracle! The resurrection of Jesus is the cornerstone of the Christian faith. No other god has risen from the dead and conquered death. Because Jesus rose from the grave, we celebrate the hope of eternal life.
Just like the witnesses in this story, you can have various reactions to the resurrection. Where do you find yourself? Does Jesus seem made up or impossible for you to believe? Are you like Peter, where you explore facts or know certain parts of Christianity but are still left confused? Do you feel that you only experience Jesus in a very personal way when He’s answering all your prayers? Do you embrace the resurrection and live your life devoted to loving and serving Christ?
Answer these questions as you journal today:
- Where do you find yourself in the resurrection story?
- Do you live your life with a heavenly perspective confident that Jesus has given you eternal life?