Posted by: Pastor Terry Hagedorn | April 12, 2020

WORSHIPPING A DEAD JEW?

HE IS RISEN!Is this email not displaying correctly?
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Devotion for Resurrection week, 2020“WHY SHOULD I WORSHIP A DEAD JEW?” Mark 16:1-6 (KJV), “And when the sabbath was past, Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James, and Salome, had bought sweet spices, that they might come and anoint him.   And very early in the morning the first day of the week, they came unto the sepulchre at the rising of the sun.   And they said among themselves, Who shall roll us away the stone from the door of the sepulchre?   And when they looked, they saw that the stone was rolled away: for it was very great.   And entering into the sepulchre, they saw a young man sitting on the right side, clothed in a long white garment; and they were affrighted.  6  And he saith unto them, Be not affrighted: Ye seek Jesus of Nazareth, which was crucified: he is risen; he is not here: behold the place where they laid him.”

One of the most popular of 20th century songs, and not just for Easter, is the hymn “He Lives.” Written by Alfred Ackley in 1933, the song is also known by its first line, “I Serve a Risen Savior.”“I serve a risen Savior, He’s in the world today;
I know that He is living, whatever men may say;
I see His hand of mercy; I hear His voice of cheer,
And just the time I need Him, He’s always near.”
Ackley, born in 1887 in Pennsylvania, showed great musical potential as a child. He was tutored by his musician father and then went to New York City to study and on to the Royal Academy of Music in London. There, Ackley played the piano and cello and showed great promise as a composer.

After completing his musical training, Ackley returned to the states to attend Westminster Theological Seminary in Maryland and was ordained as a Presbyterian minister in 1914.

Ackley pastored in Wilkes-Barre and Elmhurst, Pennsylvania, before being called to a congregation in Escondido, California. For a few years he worked with evangelist Billy Sunday.

He was awarded an honorary Doctor of Sacred Music degree by John Brown University in Arkansas in appreciation for all his musical pursuits.

While in California in 1932, Ackley began witnessing a Jewish man who attended some of the evangelistic meetings. This young student kept saying, “Why should I worship a dead Jew?”

This bothered Ackley and it stayed on his mind.  After waking early to prepare his Easter Sunday message, he was amazed to hear on the radio a famous liberal preacher in New York say, “Good morning. It’s Easter!  You know, folks, it really doesn’t make any difference to me if Christ be risen or not.  As far as I am concerned,  His body could be as dust in some Palestinian tomb.  The main thing is, His truth goes marching on!”

Ackley’s anger at this was displayed as he threw the radio across the room, yelling, “It’s a lie!”

During the Easter service that morning, Ackley preached with strength and urgency about the reality of Christ’s Resurrection.

But later that night, he continued to dwell on his Jewish friend’s words and the sermon on the radio.

His wife told him it was time for him to do what he did best — write a song — and then he would feel better.

In his study, Ackley re-read the Resurrection account from Mark’s Gospel in the Bible, and soon the words began to pour from him.  A few minutes later, he put music to the words, and answered the question, “Why should I worship a dead Jew?”
“He lives, He lives, Christ Jesus lives today!
He walks with me and talks with me along life’s narrow way.
He lives, He lives, salvation to impart!
You ask me how I know He lives? He lives within my heart.”


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