Hostage Victim: Ashley Smith Robinson
Known around the world as the single mother who was held hostage by Atlanta's courtroom killer, Brian Nichols. Ironically, it was Ashley's less-than-angelic past that helped to convince him to surrender to police.
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The headline stories aren't always very good. Sometimes they even get depressing, but train wrecks always draw a crowd. Are there stories of hope to find behind the scandalous headlines? Are the wrecked lives we hear about ever healed?
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Often, I think it's easy to get caught up in this holiday on a calendar, the gathering of the family for a big meal, kids running around the yard for Easter eggs, and some strange creation of an Easter bunny. We go to an Easter service, do a little work in the yard, and Monday comes from another busy work week...
If Jesus didn't defeat death and simply died, Christianity and the pursuit of our Faith would simply be a waste of time, a waste of giving money to a "feel good" organization, and we'd all be better served to move on and do something else.
After Jesus died, his disciples were holed up in a room fearful for their lives, confused about what happened to Jesus and all they had believed for the past three years, and probably felt some shame and embarrassment to even show their faces.... after all, they were "all in" and now this Savior of there's was dead. Stepping out of that room meant great ridicule for these dudes at a minimum and possibly risking their lives. But something happened, something changed.
This was the game changer: Jesus appeared to his disciples (and scores of others over a 40-day period). If there ever was an appropriate time to say "Oh my God" it was then.... OMG... Terrified followers turned into bold, Christ-following leaders of "The Jesus Way".
- Most of these early followers were executed for their continued teaching and spreading of the good news and Hope in Christ- would you do that for a dead Savior? I think not.
- They put their reputation on the line and it became their life mission to share this news with others. If Jesus had simply died, it would have been much more reasonable that they would have tip-toed their way back to their fishing boats and kept their mouths shut murmering "what were we thinking?"
- A handful went on to write the New Testament Gospels Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John- miraculously through all the persecution, the Bible exists today and we're still celebrating the resurrection of Christ today. If Jesus simply died, how would the energy sustain to keep a false belief system going past a generation? Why would people waste the time to record the miraculous life of Jesus? If lives were not continuing to be transformed over scores of generations- would we really be talking about this Jesus today? I think not.
To believe that Christ is risen has massive implications in our lives. It's probably easier for many to ignore it, pass it off as "I don't know", or to keep Easter in a safe box never to be examined.
But what if, it really did happen? What if there is a God and He actually sent his Son to this Earth?
This is what I believe, and the implications for all of us are huge. We do have a life of purpose. There is more than our measly 70-80 years on this planet. We do have a foundation of Truth to model our lives around to maximize the time we have here. And Jesus Christ was, is, and will forever be the Game Changer.