A Sunday School teacher was telling her class how God created everything, including human beings. A young boy in the class seemed especially intent when they told him how Eve was created out of one of Adam's ribs. Later that week his mother noticed him lying down as though he were ill, she asked him what was wrong? He looked up at her and said, ?I have a pain in my side, I think I'm going to have a wife.? Mothers have the wonderful challenge of bringing relief to such dilemmas, of preparing lives for what is to come. G.K. Chesterton offered these words to underline the essential work of motherhood, ?Babies need not to be taught a trade, but to be introduced to a world. How can it be an important career to tell other people's children about mathematics, and a small career to tell one's own children about the universe?...A woman's role is laborious...not because it is minute, but because it is gigantic.? The task of preparation is always under estimated, nor matter the application. In fact the greater the need for preparation the easier it is to underestimate the importance of that work. Let's look at a passage of Scripture this morning that emphasizes this truth in the highest way, turn to 1 Thessalonians 5: 23-28.
Our bodies are amazing acts of creation. As I looked at some of the details of how they work, I was amazed to find just how much our body does. Did you know that in one twenty four hour period your heart beats 103,689 times; your blood travels 168,000,000 miles; you breathe 23,040 times; you inhale 438 cubic feet of air, and fortunately you exhale the same amount; you move 750 muscles; and you exercise 7,000,000 brain cells, or at least you're supposed to. All this seen and unseen work is accomplished by a body of many parts, bones and muscle and organs and tissue, all working together.
There is a passage in Ephesians where Paul describes the church as a body which Jesus Christ has fitted together and which is connected to each other by that which each part supplies. I'd like to push that metaphor just a little further today and examine what I would call the connective tissue. In our physical bodies, connective tissue refers to tissues that surround, protect, and support all of the other structure in the body. They help transport substances, protect against disease, and help repair tissue damage. The connective tissue doesn't do the work that . . .
If you've ever worked shift work in a job that goes twenty four hours a day, then you've probably worked the Third Watch. This is the third shift of the day, the four to midnight shift that wraps up all the details of the previous hours and prepares for the opening of the next day. This is a shift of afternoon heat, twilight and darkness, it ends in darkness. I'd like to suggest to you this morning that we all here are in the Third Watch of Time as we have known it. Think of it this way:
1st Watch ? from Creation to Flood (1600 years)'they looked for rest from the curse (see Genesis 5:29).
2nd Watch ? from Flood to Christ (2400 years)? they looked for rescue by the Messiah (prevalent theme of the entire Old Testament).
3rd Watch ? from Christ to Glory (2005 years?) , we look for reunion in eternity with Christ.
Do you remember that final verse we looked at this past Easter Sunday, when Mary Magdalene first saw the risen Christ and was told to stop clinging to Him. Jesus told her to go tell the disciples that ?I ascend to My Father and your Father, My God and your God.? But we know that Jesus did not mean right away, He was preparing them for what was about to occur ? Ascension Day!
We tend to miss the significance of the events that occurred after the resurrection. We tend to forget that for forty days He was present in and around Jerusalem with the disciples. In real terms for today that would mean if Jesus experienced resurrection last Sunday and He would not ascend to the Father until May 6! What happened during this time, what significance does it have for what took place next, is the Ascension referred to in prophecy and what implication is there for the church today?
It was Friday afternoon, the crowds had returned to the city leaving the three crucified bodies a deterrent to all. Joseph of Arimathea went quickly to Pilate, and though fearful of what the Roman could yet do, he asked for permission to take care of the body of Jesus. This being granted, he quickly purchased a large quantity of white linen in which to wrap the corpse of Christ. At the same moment in another part of the city, Nicodemus the Pharisee, who also loved Jesus, was purchasing a large amount of myrrh and aloes, about 70 pounds in weight, which he would use with Joseph to help bury the Messiah. They took the body down from the cross, Mary Magdalene and Mary the mother of Joses were with them. At the tomb, which Joseph had purchased for his own family but now would be forever denied to him, they entered and began the task of wrapping the seventy pounds of myrrh and aloes into the wraps of linen. Around and around the body they wrapped until all was used, and like a great cocoon, they placed the bundled body into the carved recession in the center of the floor. They picked up their cloaks from the ledges at either side, took one last look at how low in the grave He lay, this Jesus, their Lord. Death lay heavy upon them. Then the stone rolled, and with a grinding thud, the day . . .