Now It All Begins

Saturday, April 4, 2015
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Listen while you read: "Were You There"1 (Lyrics)

Matthew 27:66 – And they went and made the grave secure, and along with the guard they set a seal on the stone. (NASB)

Revelation 1:18 – I am he that liveth, and was dead; and, behold, I am alive for evermore, Amen; and have the keys of hell and of death. (KJV)

The 1977 movie, "Jesus of Nazareth" by Franco Zeffirelli, is my favourite film depicting the life, death, burial, and resurrection of Christ. Each time I see it, I am more inspired by the powerful script, music, and images portrayed on the screen. I especially enjoy the way the film interjects Old Testament prophecies to show the viewer how our Lord fulfilled those events, down to the very last detail.

One of the main antagonists in the movie is a Pharisee named Zerah. Remembering the Lord's prophecy that on the third day He would rise from the dead, Zerah and other members of the Sanhedrin went to Pilate requesting that a guard should be posted at Jesus' tomb. And as if that weren't enough, Jesus' enemies also made sure that the massive stone was sealed. Hence, they went to great lengths in order to silence Him forever. Ironically, their actions rendered a compelling case in favour of the resurrection. No amount of security could keep Christ in the tomb. Not only did He rise again, but He holds the keys of life and death itself! Still, when the guards reported the events which occurred on Easter Sunday morning, the religious leaders refused to believe. Zerah uttered the phrase, "Now it all begins." Perhaps he viewed the empty tomb as the beginning of a more powerful opposition against the established system.

For many believers, Christianity is a relationship with God based on a personal encounter with the risen Lord and on God's Word. We know that what we experience of that relationship here on earth is only the beginning; as He promised, the best is yet to come.

1 Corinthians 2:9 – But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him. (KJV)

Therefore, as we celebrate Christ's victory over death, let us also rejoice with expectation as we look to the rock of our salvation: the hope of everlasting life.

Prayer: Dear Jesus, we acknowledge that all power has been given to You in heaven and on earth. You have triumphed over Your enemies and have made known to us the path of life. You alone, O Lord, are the portion of our inheritance. We look forward to the day when we shall see Your face in righteousness, fully awakened by the brightness of Your glory. In Your holy name, we pray. Amen.

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Lori Ciccanti <>
Ocean View, Delaware, USA

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1 Comment

  • PresbyCan Feedback says:

    Another good one Lori. Happy Easter.

    Very well written and meaning full. I hope and pray that you have a blessed Easter.

    A lovely devotional Lori, and so appropriate for this season. A blessed Eastertide to you!

    Amen! The day of resurrection approaches. Praise God for the empty tomb! All glory to our risen Lord Jesus Christ! Blessings.

    He holds the keys of life and death
    God bless, keep writing and have a great Resurrection Day!

    Lori – What a triumphant thought – Jesus is the forerunner of our eternal life with Him – forever! The movie you have discussed is a very wonderful depiction of a thoughtful, loving and yet powerful God. Christ has Risen. He has risen indeed!

    Good morning, Lori, and thank you for your devotional. As always, it resonated with me; although, sadly I have never seen the movie about Christ you mentioned.
    Blessed Easter to you and Lou.

    Thank you for your devotional. A phrase you used caused me some grief. You said “For many believers, Christianity is a relationship with God based on a personal encounter with the risen Lord and on God’s Word.” Is it not EVERY believer that has a relationship with Jesus? Maybe I misunderstood what you were saying.

    Thank you for sharing your thoughts and feelings in this great devotional. As I read it the words of our late minister ring through my head, those words were “We are an Easter People”. I thank God and praise God for that and for our late minister always reminding us. Praise God.

    Lori, A very timely and compelling writing. To coincide with this, I also am enthralled with the remark from the Sanhedrin that “In a couple of weeks this will all be forgotten”!! They just didn’t get it. Your story is accurate in the fact that His death and resurrection were just the beginning. Thank God for that. God Bless.

    Lori: That was most appropriate content for this morning’s Devotional.
    I agree with you that Zerah’s reason for his ominous comment, Now it all begins, was as you say predicated upon how he had experienced this traumatic event, one which was not, in his mind, to end.
    Yet even more foreboding when we shudder at the state of human behaviour and distorted faiths and doubts followed 2,000 years thereafter. Unfortunately, it could now be interpreted as a prediction or omen of unmentionable events to come. Zerah’s remark must have impressed someone for it to be included in Scripture. I could well believe that some fellow Pharisee standing beside Zerah fearfully turning and asking, “What do you mean?” because it surely generated the beginning of doubt. Nevertheless, as you can see, Lori, it certainly has me thinking.

    Thank you Lori for your devotional today.

    Great Theology.
    Thanks Lori.

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