Four Pictures of a Shepherd

1 Peter 5:2-3 “Be shepherds of God’s flock that is under your care, serving as overseers–not because you must, but because you are willing, as God wants you to be; not greedy for money, but eager to serve; not lording it over those entrusted to you, but being examples to the flock.”

There are four things to point out in Peter’s directions. First is the general picture of leadership: “Be shepherds of God’s flock.” A shepherd is a dear picture of the kind of care our Savior wants us to receive. He uses it as a picture of his own love and care for us. It involves feeding and nourishing people, defending and protecting them, seeking them when they are lost, and leading them in the right direction. Having a shepherd isn’t about having a boss and being told what to do. It is about having someone always watching out for you and being loved.

That is at least a partial reply to those who don’t have much use for churches or pastors. A woman who hadn’t attended church for many years once said to me, “I don’t have to go to church to praise the Lord.” It is true, you can do it at home. But you are only cutting yourself off from the loving care and attention God wants his people to be given. It means not hearing that you are the dear child God has always loved, and forgiven, and gave his Son to save. “Be shepherds,” Peter tells the elders. That means he wants us to be shepherded, too.

One reason people may not understand that may be a failure of many shepherds to follow the second godly direction Peter offers: “not because you must, but because you are willing.” Serving God as pastor is not a rule, an obligation, a burden he has laid on the backs of some poor unfortunate souls. It is a joyful response to his grace. It’s an opportunity to return some love to the one who loved us all the way to the cross. It is an evangelical task, not a legal one.

If a man doesn’t see it that way, he might view himself as the police sent to keep the unruly citizens in check. He might end up like Jonah who preached God’s wrath and destruction to the people of Nineveh, then was disappointed when God relented and didn’t send the destruction he threatened. We may need a little pulpit pounding from time to time. Hard hearts may call for some fire and brimstone. But the last word never belongs to God’s rules or threats. It always belongs to the grace of God that makes hearts willing.

Third, serving in the ministry is never a mere means for making a living: “not greedy for money, but eager to serve.” I appreciate the salary I receive for being a pastor. It allows me to take care of my family and offer my services to more people. But it’s not the reason I do the work. Nor should making money be the main reason for any of the jobs God calls us to do. I once asked a Bible class, “From a Christian point of view, what is the reason for having a business?” Most people answered, “To make money.” No, God created a world in which we can create businesses so that we can offer a product or service to our neighbor. A business is a way to love my neighbor. The money simply makes it possible to keep the business open so that we can offer our services full time.

The same applies to the ministry. Paul says in 1 Corinthians 9, “It is God’s will that those who preach the gospel should earn their living from the gospel.” But this is not a money-making venture. It is a service, and shepherds who take that to heart would work for free if their circumstances allowed them to do so.

Finally, Peter gives godly direction regarding methods: “not lording it over those entrusted to you but being examples to the flock.” Remember when James and John came to Jesus, and they asked him for the positions of power at his right and left hand, because they were power hungry? When the whole group became angry (not because James and John asked for these positions, but because they had the gumption to ask before the rest of them thought to do so) Jesus had to remind them all, “The rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them…Not so with you.” Jesus doesn’t call disciples, or shepherds, to create little dictatorships ruling over little kingdoms with an iron fist. That’s the pagan way of doing business.            

Peter expects the shepherd to lead by example. Shepherds need to practice what they preach. That’s what the Chief Shepherd did. Jesus says he “did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” They called him Lord and Master, but he was the one who stripped down to his underclothes and washed his disciple’s feet. For pastors today, being shepherds means that the sermon they preach with their lives Monday through Saturday is at least as important as the one preached Sunday morning. As God’s people, we are wise to pay attention to both messages.

Qualified Sources

I Peter 5:1 “To the elders among you, I appeal as a fellow elder, a witness of Christ’s suffering, and one who will share in the glory to be revealed.”

Have you ever been frustrated by someone who had a theoretical knowledge of how something was supposed to work, but had never actually gotten his hands dirty in real life? Maybe it’s the tech support person working off his script, telling you your computer couldn’t possibly be doing what it’s doing right now. Perhaps you become exasperated with the know-it-all friend who once read a book about gardening or car repair. He dishes out advice, but he has never had any dirt or grease under his fingernails.

Peter was not that person. He wasn’t an ivory tower academic. He had years of experience caring for God’s people. He was a fellow elder who had spent his time in the trenches preaching, teaching, and leading congregations.

Peter’s qualifications suggest two things about our pastors today: they speak with both an authority, and a humility. They speak with an authority because the Apostle Peter regards them as fellow elders. They are colleagues with Jesus’ apostles in the same line of work. Sometimes Christians are tempted to dismiss what their pastors says. “I don’t have to listen to you. You’re just a man, no better than me.” True, pastors and elders have no claim of moral superiority. We are all aware of horrific scandals in which some clergy have become involved. In our church, the pastor confesses his sins each Sunday right alongside the rest of the congregation. Like you, pastors sin real sins, not theoretical ones. They need a real Savior, not just a theoretical one, too.

That doesn’t change the fact that Jesus has called your pastor to speak for him, just like he did Peter. Men called into the ministry are fellow elders. They have been deputized to uncover sin and apply grace just as Peter did, just as Jesus did. If we accept Peter as a qualified source of biblical truth and godly guidance, we ought to regard our pastors and elders that way, too–so long as they stick to the standard of Scripture itself.

Speaking of Scripture, Peter has something to say about the reliability of his message. He was also “a witness of Christ’s suffering.” Like Matthew, Mark, John, and James, Peter was not reporting things he had researched or been told. In his second letter he says it again, “We did not follow cleverly invented stories when we told you about the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but we were eyewitnesses…” Jesus also promised his disciples the Holy Spirit to guide them in their preaching and writing, but Peter had heard Jesus message from Jesus’ own lips. He saw Jesus’ life with his own eyes. He was qualified to pass Jesus’ words and wisdom on to us in every way.

The man who serves as your pastor can’t claim to be an eyewitness in the same way. But he preaches the same message. It’s true that almost 2000 years have passed since Peter put this down on paper. Sometimes people have the idea that the Bible has gone through all kinds of changes because this all happened so long ago. Like the line in my favorite story, The Lord of the Rings, for them “Some things that should not have been forgotten were lost. History became legend, legend became myth.”

But what might seem legend and myth to some is still history. No book from antiquity has been as carefully copied and passed down to us as the Bible. The manuscripts of the New Testament we have in our hands were copied closer to the actual events than almost any other book in history. When your pastors preach on these pages, you are still getting the eyewitness accounts from the qualified sources who first saw and experienced Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection.

An Everlasting Love

Jeremiah 31:3 The LORD appeared to us in the past, saying: “I have loved you with an everlasting love; I have drawn you with loving-kindness.

I try to tell my wife often that I love her. But rarely do I say it in public. I can’t think of the last time that I said it when anyone else was listening. It’s not that I am embarrassed for people to know. I agree wholeheartedly with the words Luther said about his wife Katy: “When I look at all the women of the world, I find none of whom I could boast as I boast with joyful conscience of my own. This one God himself gave to me, and I know that he and all the angels are pleased when I hold fast to her in love and faithfulness.”

It’s not that I am embarrassed for others to know, nor do I have any doubts. But like other displays of affection, there is something inside of me that tells me this belongs to private moments between us, a few exceptions granted.

If your sensibilities are anything like mine, then maybe some of our Lord’s expressions of love and affection toward us are almost enough to make you blush. These words in Jeremiah sound almost like the kind of thing you might hear in a pop-song or between two infatuated teens, “I have loved you with an everlasting love.”

And God himself is not afraid to use the passion of romantic love to describe and illustrate the fervor of his love for us. We are all familiar with the many places in Scripture– Song of Songs, Isaiah 61, Hosea, many of Jesus’ parables, Ephesians 5, Revelation 19– in which he uses weddings and brides and grooms to describe his love for you and me. God’s love for us is not a dry, intellectual, or theoretical thing. It burns with an intensity that is evident in the Flood, the Exodus, the Babylonian Captivity, and ultimately, at the Cross. His holy jealousy, his unwavering devotion, and his willingness literally to die for us all tell us that he loves us dearly, and deeply.

Of course, God is not our valentine. His love for us far transcends what we think of as romantic love. Like a parable, there is a point of comparison to be gleaned from the comparison between God’s love for us and a man’s love for a woman. Then we should be careful not to take the parallels too far. It is an irony of human romantic love that it inspires the word “forever” so often, but it is the least likely kind of love to last anything approaching “forever.” People like James Dobson and Gary Chapman tell us that human infatuation lasts between 18 months and two years. After that there had better be another kind of love to keep the relationship going.  People will love their husbands or wives when they get to heaven, but we will be like the angels, and that love will not be “romance.”

Even at its best, our love for God often resembles an unsteady infatuation, and in Hosea 6 he complains, “What can I do with you, Ephraim? What can I do with you, Judah? Your love is like a morning mist, like the early dew that disappears.” (Hosea 6:4)

But, as Jeremiah reminds us, God loves us with an everlasting love. In all its facets, in all its benefits, God’s love is eternal. Not only did the Lord appear to us in the past and tell us he loved us. Our election in eternity reminds us that God’s love for us, like God himself, has no beginning. God has always loved you, not just as long as you have existed. There has never been a “when” God didn’t love you.

God’s love for us will never know an end. When he says, “I have drawn you with loving kindness,” the word used has a nuance meaning “mercy” or “faithful love,” a kind of love God must have for us since our fall into sin. Not only has this love wooed our hearts to faith, but it also assures us that God’s love will survive and overcome our lovelessness, and that he will still love us long after time itself has come to an end.

Jeremiah shared these words with people who were facing starvation, death, defeat and exile–the worst that life could do to them. May we find God’s everlasting love to be a lifeline for our own faith, no matter what life may bring.

Your Rest is Waiting

Hebrews 4:9-10 “There remains, then, a Sabbath rest for the people of God; for anyone who enters God’s rest also rests from his own work, just as God did from his.”

Anyone who enters God’s rest also rests from his own work. I have known people who try to get more out of their physical exercise by using small weights that they can strap to their wrists or ankles or carry in their hands while they walk or run. This will certainly make your body work harder, but you have to be careful. The extra weight can also cause damage to joints and lead to injuries.

I have known people who have strapped the spiritual weight of saving themselves to living their daily lives. This is not a small weight. It is huge. It presents more than a risk of spiritual injury. Carried to the end of life it is eternally fatal. Under this load there is no peace. Life is driven by a desperate pursuit of saving sinlessness. Life is haunted by an ever-growing burden of guilt to carry. God is resented and dreaded for his impossible and unending demands.

But those who enter God’s rest also rest from the work of saving themselves. Jesus has carried all our sins for us when he took them to the cross. He has not left us with so much as a little ankle weight of the work to carry ourselves. Everything has been forgiven–sins past, present, and future. Everything about God’s regard for us has been repaired and restored. He sees us only as loving and holy. We can live and rest in knowing that all of his demands have been fully met. We are spiritually safe and secure with him.

And no discussion of God’s rest would be complete without mention of his ultimate rest in heaven. Those who enter God’s rest can rest from all their scurrying around trying to build a counterfeit heaven on earth. They can rest from all the frustration of seeing the little utopias they attempted to construct destroyed by financial crisis, failing health, or shattered relationships.

In Jesus, our Lord has provided a better and perfect heaven. There we will rest from all the spiritual attacks that try to disturb and remove the peace and rest Jesus provides. There we will know the perfect rest of enjoying God and God enjoying us face to face, like the perfect rest God and man once knew on the first day after creation was done.

Many people today suffer from a chronic lack of sleep. This does more than make us tired. It affects the way we digest our food. It makes it more difficult to think and interferes with our ability to remember things. It weakens our immune system and makes us vulnerable to disease and sickness. Proper rest is an important part of maintaining our health.

The consequences of missing the spiritual rest God gives us are eternal. Trust his gospel. Live in his grace. Let him take your load, and find your rest in him.

Still Invited

Hebrews 4:3-9 “Now we who have believed enter that rest, just as God has said, ‘So I declared on oath in my anger, They shall never enter my rest.’ And yet his work has been finished since the creation of the world. For somewhere he has spoken about the seventh day in these words: ‘And on the seventh day God rested from all his work.’ And again in the passage above he says, ‘They shall never enter my rest.’ It still remains that some will enter that rest, and those who formerly had the gospel preached to them did not go in, because of their disobedience. Therefore God again set a certain day, calling it Today, when a long time later he spoke through David, as was said before: ‘Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts.’ For if Joshua had given them rest, God would not have spoken later about another day. There remains, then, a Sabbath-rest for the people of God;”

Israel didn’t miss the opportunity to enter God’s rest because it wasn’t available to them. The Lord genuinely wanted them to have it. That is why he was so angry he took this oath here. He had done so much for them, preached so much to them, yet they wouldn’t have it.

This was in spite of the fact that he had prepared his spiritual rest from the time he created the world. When God himself established a day of rest at the end of his week of creation, he was setting down a day that was more than a day free from work. It was a day for God to enjoy his creation, and for creation to enjoy its God. Though mankind fell into sin, God had established this relationship of peace and enjoyment of his presence on the seventh day. By the forgiveness of sins he continued to invite people back to him to rest in the love and friendship of God that marked the very first seventh day. Every Sabbath that followed was a special day for offering that invitation. The opportunity had been there for Israel at the time of Moses, and throughout their history. But many, if not most, let the opportunity pass and were lost.

There was another reason many in Israel failed to enter God’s rest. Some misunderstood what God’s rest was. They believed it was Joshua giving them rest from the hard life out in the wilderness when he led them into the promised land. But finding an easier life here on earth is not God’s rest. If that were so, the opportunity would have applied only to a time and circumstance long past. It would no longer apply to us today. Entering the Promised Land may have served as a picture of God’s spiritual rest, but the historical event was not the thing itself.

Is it hard to understand how many of God’s Old Testament people could misunderstand God’s promise of rest? People still try to satisfy their inner longing for peace and spiritual rest by looking in wrong places. It can’t be found in money, a lover’s arms, a favorite place to live, entertainment, a successful career, political power, or even a life of service and volunteerism.

And that’s a good thing, because if the promise is not attached to a specific time, place, or circumstance, the opportunity remains for us to enter God’s rest. Today we still hear God’s voice in the Gospel. Today he is still inviting us, still drawing us, to possess this rest for our souls, and live in it, and know its blessings.

Don’t Miss the Invitation

Hebrews 4:1-2 “Therefore, since the promise of entering his rest still stands, let us be careful that none of you be found to have fallen short of it. For we have had the gospel preached to us, just as they did; but the message they heard was of no value to them, because those who heard did not combine it with faith.”

If we want to enter the rest that God provides, the first thing we need is to hear the gospel. That gospel is an invitation describing God’s rest, just as any invitation makes some description of the event it advertises. An invitation describes the reason for the event, any cost, the time, the place, and what you can expect to enjoy at the event. So it is with the gospel. The reason for God’s rest is that the burden for our sins is too heavy for us to bear. We need relief. The cost: Jesus has paid our admission to this rest by giving his life for us and removing our sins. Time and place: God is offering us this rest from our guilt and sin right now and right here. What we enjoy: Peace with God and forgiveness of all our sins now and eternal life forever. The difference between this gospel invitation to enter God’s rest and any other is the miraculous power this invitation has to draw those who hear it to receive what is offered.

            Because our Lord so wants us to enter his rest, he has made sure that we hear this gospel invitation to enter his rest often. You should hear it every Sunday from the pulpit in your church. But there is a feature of fallen human nature that gets in the way of God’s invitation to enter his rest. When I was in high school there were railroad tracks that ran past the dormitory where I lived. The first few weeks I was often awakened by passing trains. Eventually, however, I was able to tune the repeated noise of the trains out and sleep through the night. Their great noise and clatter didn’t affect me anymore.

            Unfortunately, we become guilty of doing the same thing with God’s invitation to enter his rest. As we hear the gospel repeated, we tune it out. We let it become spiritual background noise, and we turn our attention to other things. So long as we tune the gospel out, its powerful message won’t affect us anymore.

            That is why the holy writer also warns us not to neglect this second feature of the way to enter God’s rest: Combine it with faith. “For we have also had the gospel preached to us, just as they did; but the message they heard was of no value to them, because those who heard did not combine it with faith.” Out of all the peoples of the world, God chose Israel to receive his special revelation. And yet so many of them would not believe what they heard. During their forty years in the wilderness many stopped believing that God was their loving deliverer. Some accused him of trying to ruin them instead. Instead of believing what he had to say about right and wrong, they either ignored his commandments or tried to redefine them to suit their own lusts.

Where faith in what God has to say about right and wrong falls, faith in God as Savior is right behind. God’s promise of rest from guilt and sin has little appeal or makes little sense to those who no longer believe they have any. When the gospel is not combined with faith, it has no value to those who hear it. So, much or most of Israel lost the heavenly rest that should have been theirs.

            Most of you aren’t about to believe that the God of the Bible is evil, or that he is a fake, or that he is a namby-pamby God you can safely choose to ignore. No, for us the greater danger is that we take the gospel for granted, and tune it out. Then a sense of apathy begins to settle in. We won’t forget that Jesus died for us and forgives us. But our trust in him loosens and fades. God and Jesus and faith just don’t seem to be very important anymore. Finally, faith flickers and fails, and those who once found their way into God’s rest find their way back out again.

May God spare us and keep us on the way by which we first entered his rest: Hear his gospel and believe it.

Resurrection Bodies

Luke 24:36-43 “While they were still talking about this, Jesus himself stood among them and said to them, ‘Peace be with you.’ They were startled and frightened, thinking they saw a ghost. He said to them, ‘Why are you troubled, and why do doubts rise in your minds? Look at my hands and my feet. It is I myself! Touch me and see; a ghost does not have flesh and bones, as you see I have.’ When he had said this, he showed them his hands and his feet. And while they still did not believe it because of joy and amazement, he asked them, ‘Do you have anything here to eat?’ They have him a piece of broiled fish, and he took it and ate it in their presence.”

Jesus’ disciples were startled and frightened. Certainty that Jesus had risen from the dead still had not sunk in, even though his living body was now standing in their presence.

Of course, there were reasons that Jesus’ presence did not have its immediate, intended effect. His entrance was more than unusual. We don’t hear, “All of a sudden, there was a knock at the door, and there was Jesus, waiting for someone to let him in.” Luke doesn’t write, “While they were still talking about this, Jesus came walking into the room” or “climbed in through an open window.”

No, all of a sudden, there was Jesus, standing in the middle of the group. His body simply materialized in the room, as though Scotty had just beamed him down from the Enterprise. I don’t have to tell you that’s not normal.

Add the fact that Jesus was supposed to be dead, in spite of the reports that these men had heard, and they can come up with just one conclusion: They aren’t dealing with a resurrection, but a haunting. They thought they were seeing a ghost. They were filled with fear and doubt, but I want you to know that today even their doubts contribute to our Easter certainty.

You see, these men were not gullible half-wits ready to believe any fantasy someone could dream up. They understood that dead is dead, and that any exception to that rule is a miracle of the highest order, at least this side of Judgment Day. They had seen Jesus raise three people from the dead, but after Jesus died, who was left to raise him? Certainly not one of them. Their doubts, their uncertainty, led to even greater proofs for you and me, and the Easter certainty of seeing Jesus’ living body.

The proofs Jesus offers that this was his living body are not hard to understand. “Look at my hands and feet.” See the scars from the nails of my crucifixion on my hands and my feet. Who else would fit this description today? “Touch me and see.” Your hands don’t pass through the image in front of your eyes. They meet resistance and are stopped by my real human flesh and my real human bones. This is not just smoke or vapor you are seeing. Still not convinced? Okay, “Do you have anything here to eat?” Watch it go into my mouth–munch, munch, munch, swallow. Okay, where did it go? The same place it goes when you have something to eat, Mr. I-Can’t-Believe-It’s-Actually-Him. This is my body! I am alive! Stop doubting and believe!

So Jesus’ body gives us certainty to go with our joy. Jesus lives, not just as a fond memory, nor the wispy, bodiless remains of one more of death’s sad victims. He is the living, flesh and blood conqueror of sin and death. He is the Almighty Lord whose power and love continue to save and serve and guide and guard his people today.

That certainty and joy don’t stop at his body. They apply to our bodies as well. Paul writes the Philippians, “..the Lord Jesus Christ…by the power that enables him to bring everything under his control, will transform our lowly bodies so that they will be like his glorious body.” Our bodies will live again like his, and what glorious bodies they will be! They will be real, living bodies with hearts that beat, eyes that see, finger tips that feel, ears that hear, tongues that taste, noses that smell, and all the wonderful senses we enjoy, but perfected and purified. They will be whole and healthy bodies free from pain or death, ageless and changeless. You can forget your glasses, your hair-coloring, your knee brace, your pill bottles, your diet restrictions, your hearing aids, and how to dial 911, because the resurrection will make that stuff obsolete. The new bodies Jesus will give to us contribute to our Easter joy.

Tried and True

Romans 1:1-4 “Paul, a servant of Christ Jesus, called to be an apostle and set apart for the gospel of God– the gospel he promised beforehand through his prophets in the Holy Scriptures regarding his Son, who as to his human nature was a descendant of David, and who through the Spirit of holiness was declared with power to be the Son of God by his resurrection from the dead: Jesus Christ our Lord.”

We are familiar with the many, many details of the good news about Jesus we find promised by the prophets in the Old Testament. The manner of his conception, the place of his birth, the threats to his early life, the place of his boyhood, the message of his ministry, the kinds of miracles he would perform, all the minute details of his trial, suffering and death– all of this was prophesied hundreds and even thousands of years before Jesus’ came.

Even his resurrection was promised by those prophets. Isaiah wrote, “…though the Lord makes his life a guilt offering, he will see his offspring and prolong his days, and the will of the Lord will prosper in his hand. After the suffering of his soul he will see the light of life and be satisfied.” People were looking forward to Jesus’ resurrection centuries before he lived or died.

But how do the prophets’ words contribute to making the message about Jesus “good news”? Why is this a notable feature of the gospel we hear and share? It inspires confidence in that message, doesn’t it? We live in a culture that glorifies the new and trendy as much or more than people in any other era. People are constantly running after new styles in clothing, furniture, food, or recreation. I’ll admit that I’m not sure whether the trendy clothes today are the ones that fit so tightly you can hardly breath or fit so loosely you have to hold on with both hands to keep them from falling off. But the trends constantly change, and we want to keep up.

At the same time, there are still areas in which we prefer tried and true to new and improved. If you are going to invest money for the future, there are fortunes to be made investing in some start-up technology company or cryptocurrency. There are also fortunes to be lost that way. If someone knocks on your door, are you more likely to open the door for the old friend you’ve known for years or the stranger you’ve never seen before?

Isn’t our eternal welfare and relationship with God something we want to keep in the “safe” area rather than the “trendy” one? Isn’t that one of the effects that the promises of the Old Testament prophets have upon the gospel about Jesus? The good news about Jesus had a long history behind it. Prophets had been talking about it for centuries. He’s like the old friend who shows up at the door and we already know him, so he can come in. He’s like a company with a proven track record that we can trust with our treasure. By speaking through his prophets, God has given us a gospel we can trust.

The Path of Life

Psalm 16:11 “You have made known to me the path of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand.”

The path of life isn’t some road we travel by our own power to get to heaven, as though Jesus gave us a map with all the turns we must take, but then left us to make the journey alone. The path of life is his own saving work: his death for our sins and his resurrection to promise us life. He does not merely show us the way. He tells us that he is “the way, the truth and the life.” He is a miraculous path or way that takes us up in his own arms and transports us to our heavenly destination by his own power. This is why we are certain that God will bless us there.

There, just like Jesus, we find joy in God’s presence and eternal pleasures at his right hand. Does that description sound a little vague to you and me? If the psalmist seems short on the details, at least appreciate the blessedness he does make clear. Look at the quality of those blessings:  joy and pleasures in God’s presence, direct communion with God, our immediate experience of his love. These will be an experience that at one and the same time lifts our hearts and delights our senses.

Then take note of the quantity of those blessings. Here we sometimes find life tolerable. But wouldn’t you agree with me that joy tends to be in short supply, that pleasure is a rare diversion? David promises that we will be filled with joy and pleasures in God’s presence. These blessings aren’t just an occasional experience of heavenly existence. They are features of every part of it.

Finally, don’t miss the duration of what God has prepared. He promises these pleasures are eternal. Now there is always that bittersweet end to the times that we have enjoyed. We must leave the gathering of friends, or finish the game, or put down the book, or turn off the music. There the blessings God has prepared are so enduring that they will go on and on without end.

Peanuts cartoon character Linus dragged his blanket with him wherever he went. It made him feel safe and comfortable. A blanket, a flimsy piece of cloth, may seem like a silly thing to give someone peace. Yet God once wrapped the only true and lasting source of peace in flimsy pieces of cloth and placed him in a tomb. On Easter morning those pieces of cloth scattered around an empty tomb promise us safety, blessing, and peace. They tell us Jesus is alive again, waiting at God’s right hand to give us joy and pleasure that never end.