Wednesday, March 28, 2018

"Paradise Found" - Doug Rehberg

This Easter Sunday our minds and hearts turn to the resurrection of Jesus Christ. As a result, we will take a one-week break from our study of the Wisdom of James to re-examine John’s account of the resurrection.

Most Easters my mind turns to two of my favorite subjects – the resurrection and golf. And this year is extra special because of the story of Victor E. Dupuis. Vic lives in the eastern part of the state, outside of Philadelphia, with his wife of 29 years, Joy, and their three children. In addition to being managing partner of his firm, Dupuis Financial Group, Vic is a member of the Kennett Square Golf and Country Club and an avid golfer.

Six years ago on a business trip Vic, normally an outgoing and positive person, was harried from battling traffic as he returned from Harrisburg. Though he had several competing commitments, he had promised to join his golfing partner in a 6-hole, alternate-shot event called “The Devils Event”. He arrived late and apologized profusely; but by the second hole he had settled down and actually made a 15-foot birdie putt on No. 2.

But on the third tee Vic started feeling badly as he sat alone in his golf cart. When his partner yelled that it was his turn to hit his shot, Vic did not respond. The reason was simple – Vic had died. He had no pulse. No breath. They picked him up and carried him away from the cart and rested him on the tee box. As one of the members of the foursome called 911, another attempted CPR to no avail. The remaining member of the group, Paul Diddner, sped back to the halfway house to get an AED and to call Dr. William Ashton who was playing Hole No. 17.

As they all converged on the third tee, Dr. Ashton, who had carried a syringe of epinephrine in his golf bag for the past ten years, administered a shot under Vic’s tongue. By this time Vic was blue and had been totally unresponsive for more than five minutes. They used the AED and after three jolts and a total of ten minutes, Vic Dupuis came back to life before the eyes of everyone who had gathered. Vic’s eyes opened and he asked, “What’s going on?” Many replied the way I would have, “It’s a miracle!”  Indeed, that was the opinion of everyone who surrounded him, including Dr. Ashton.

But what happened three months later is, in the opinion of every golfer at K.S.G.C. and beyond, a rival miracle. You see, after receiving a pacemaker and following the instructions of his doctor not to play golf for at least three months, Vic was back on the course on day 91. He started on Hole No. 3, the same hole he had died on. From his bag he pulled a brand-new 6-iron. He had just removed it from its plastic wrapping earlier that day. He teed up his ball, set his feet, drew back his club, and let the ball sail. Within seconds of the strike the ball disappeared into the cup for a hole-in-one.

Think of it. A hole-in-one on the same hole, from the same tee, on which he had died over three months earlier! You say, “That’s amazing!” Yes, it is. But not half as amazing as that first Easter. God became a man and laid down His life.  He volunteered to take the eternal hell I deserve. He volunteered to satisfy every demand a Holy God had made on me. He volunteered to die. And then, to prove it’s finished, that I’m totally accepted by God forever, He got up and walked out of the tomb.

Dying on No. 3 tee, and coming back to life, and then 3 ½ months later getting a hole-in-one on No. 3? That’s a miracle, but it doesn’t hold a candle to John’s account of the resurrection of Jesus.

We will be studying John 19:40-20:10 this Sunday. In preparation for Sunday’s message, “Paradise Found”, you may wish to consider the following:
  1. Why is John’s account of the resurrection so much fuller than the other Gospel-writers?
  2. Why does John describe Jesus’ burial spot as in a garden?
  3. What is the significance of a garden in Scripture?
  4. Why does John consider the resurrection so important?
  5. Can you be a Christian without believing in the resurrection of Jesus Christ?
  6. Why does Mary Magdalene come to the tomb at night?
  7. What is so impressive about the stone being rolled away?
  8. In verses 5-8 John uses three different words for looking. What can be deduced from this fact?
  9. What does John mean when he says, “They didn’t understand the Scriptures that he must rise from the dead?”
  10. What are the practical implications of the resurrection on you and your life?
See you on Easter!