This is a true story about a local church and the annual Easter-season outreach event it had held at a local community center for many years. The congregation considered it a privilege to present the gospel in this format, and the results had been tremendous favor and fruitfulness.

One particular year, the man portraying the character of Jesus got sick before the first night of a two-night performance. The nervous stand-in reluctantly stepped forward to fulfill his role. The director was equally concerned about the outcome of the play.

During the first evening, the garden and trial scenes were perfect. Then, as the stand-in was carrying the cross through the Jerusalem streets, he fell to his knees. One of the other characters, deciding to make the scene more realistic, spit in the face of the stand-in, who was quite surprised! "Jesus" then laid down the cross—and to everyone's surprise, decked the guy who spit on him. He then picked the cross back up and moved toward Calvary. People in the audience must have wondered in which biblical translation Jesus could have been portrayed as having responded in such a way!

The community center was crowded to capacity, with standing room only for the performance on the second night. The first two scenes went off without a hitch, but as Jesus (the stand-in) knelt while carrying the cross, the same actor moved forward and spit on him, again. Those closest to the action confirmed this comment that came from the actor playing Jesus: "Charlie," he said, "I can't do anything now ... but after the resurrection ... you're mine!"

The best-laid plans can go awry. Just ask the disciples. They had a preferred future: that Jesus would establish His physical kingdom right then and there. Jesus, however, had a different future in mind.

Or consider that Mary and Martha didn't want Lazarus to die—but Jesus chose to allow him to die, then be resurrected, so that people would discover something they would not have known if He simply had healed Lazarus. They had known that He had power over sickness, but they discovered He also had power over death!

Friday's almost here—but Sunday's coming! Celebrate the resurrection!

"Death is swallowed up in victory." -1 Corinthians 15:54 (NKJV)

==
By: Glenn Burris Jr., general supervisor