In 2012, Yad Vashem began releasing more than a million new testimonial pages about Jews in the Soviet Union that are expected to help researchers measure the scope of persecution and extermination of Jews in the former Soviet Union.“(1)
Right now, as I write these words, there are Christians at the Garden Tomb just outside of Jerusalem celebrating the most magnificent act of love and grace the world will ever know – it is Resurrection Morning in Jerusalem! Praise Be to God! But this Resurrection Morning, April 20, 2014 I write with a very heavy heart because you see, another type of discovery was made this time just outside of Jewish synagogues in the Crimea. According to a USA Today report, as Jewish worshippers left the synagogue they were met by people handing out flyers to each of them. They were being ordered to report to the Russian authorities and register their families, the addresses, a list of all of their property and proof of citizenship. They were warned that if they failed to do so they would have their passports and citizenship revoked and their property confiscated. The only thing missing was the time of their curfew and their being ordered to wear a ‘Jude’ star identifying them as Jewish. Where is the worldwide outcry? According to the media U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry made known his displeasure at the announcement. Heaven forbid that the U.S. Secretary of State boil over and call the anti-Semite acts the horrific crimes against humanity that they are! Whether they are carried out by Putin himself or some radicalized group of Russian citizens of Crimea acting on Putins orders, it might even warrant hearing some measured disdain from President Obama himself. The Nation of Israel did step up, as they always do, and rightfully declared the horrid nature of this crime, but the world seems to turn a deaf ear (See: Chamberlain – comma, Berlin – comma, Hitler – comma, 1938 – comma, Peace in Our Time – comma…)
I do not write this to rain on anyone’s Easter Parade. Today, in the Christian world is a time of celebration of our Savior, but it is also a day to remember that our Savior, the Son of God determined to come to earth as a Jewish carpenter. Maybe, as we celebrate here in the United States this Resurrection Morning in just a few hours, just maybe, this should be a picture in our minds..
Riggs Ministry Minute “When there is only a minute for ministry” http://www.docriggs.com
Rev. Ross L Riggs, D. Min. True North Ministries
A heavy anticipation, not the kind one gets when anxious to see a grand-baby for the very first time but an anticipation that comes from hurt, deep within the soul. They had been up throughout the night, talking, remembering, laughing and crying; all the while carefully preparing the mixtures of natural nectar, spices and aloes that would together anoint their precious Savior. Not being able to sleep nor could they fill that aching emptiness in their hearts. Perhaps they hoped seeing Him again, even though it was just his dead and badly beaten body and to tenderly sooth it with balm from Gilead.
As the sun slowly broke across the horizon, faint streaks of light began to seep into the recesses of the garden of Jesus’ tomb. The two sisters, Mary and Salome, Zebedee’s wife, held hands as they made their way with the others among the heavily scented flowers of the garden, still wet with dew. The chill in the air was enough to cause the other Mary to pull her shawl around her shoulders; even as she did a chill crept across her and she shivered almost uncontrollably, but not from the cold. Emotions boiled up with each of them. It was if their hearts were racing as they made their way through the shadowy morning stillness.
Suddenly, they were there, standing in front of the tomb where they knew Jesus had been buried. Why is the stone rolled away? Why are the guards so very still? Why is everything so incredibly silent? The birds had suddenly stopped their singing. Every early morning sound that normally fills the air was halted. It was if every living creature was standing completely still, expecting some amazing news and no one wanted to miss it. As everyone listened, a beautiful, incredible voice came from the direction of the tomb. Could it be? Was that an angel, a messenger from heaven actually here in this beautiful place sitting atop the large stone? This is too amazing, like the many miracles they had witnessed as they traveled with Jesus across the countryside. And then it was the angel’s voice the broke the stillness. The words he spoke seemed to answer every question while creating a dozen more.
“The Jesus that you seek… He is not here. HE IS RISEN!”
She thought her heart would explode within her chest! Could it be true? Could she really have heard what was the hope of every hope she carried within her? Suddenly she felt as if she had to get away, to find someone and tell them, to learn the truth, to find Christ! Mary made her way back through the dense flowers of the garden, sending splashes of cold dew across her face as she ran. She stopped. There stood a man. The gardener? “Sir, you must tell me where they have taken them!” She pleaded with him as she dropped along the path and took hold of his robe. As she stared at the cold ground beneath her where she knelt, her breathing was rapid and erratic as if mocking the jumble of feelings she had inside. Then suddenly, that voice, that soft, gentle, completely unmistakable voice… “Mary” and she knew.