TITLE: The Question
DATE: August 22, 2019
TEXT: Acts 2: 24 – ESV - God raised him up, loosing the pangs of death, because it was not possible for him to be held by it.
Is he there or is he not?
The “He” I am talking about is Depression era robber by the name of John Dillinger. John is accused of holding up 24 banks... and if you can imagine, 4 police stations. Almost as amazing, in spite of all his crimes Dillinger was never convicted of a single murder.
Being a Chicago born lad, I am well aware of how the robber met his end. Dillinger was in the company of a lady with a reputation of being overly friendly. He name was Ana Cumpanas and she had been threatened with deportation to Romania. To save herself she contacted the FBI, and for a pardon, said she was willing to betray Dillinger.
They agreed, the pardon was given and she informed the FBI that on July 22, 1934, she and the robber were going to the Biograph theater. They went and when the couple exited the theater they were met by the FBI.
Dillinger died in a hail of bullets. An autopsy was performed and Dillinger was buried. After a showman made the family an offer of $10,000 to borrow his body and put it on display, they made the grave as secure as they could. For many years John has rested in his grave covered with steel and concrete.
Or has he?
Recently a man and woman who claim they are Dillinger’s nephew and niece say they have proof he is not there. They refer to the coroner’s report which records the wrong eye color, ear shape and protrusion from the head; not-matching fingerprints, a heart-condition and a dental report which is not the same as the criminal’s.
For that reason they want to know, “Is he there or is he not?”
It is hardly the first time such a question has been asked about criminals. In our country historians and speculators have asked similar questions about Butch Cassidy, Jesse James, John Wilkes Booth and Billy the Kid.
pinions were given and debates continued. In truth, it doesn't make much difference if they are buried in the traditional spot, or somewhere else.
But that is not the case for Jesus of Nazareth. Jesus is different. He is different because while most men say they will escape from a man-made jail; Jesus alone said He would conquer death.
It was a promise He fulfilled. Three days after a Roman execution squad pronounced Him dead; three days after a Roman spear had pierced His heart; three days after He had shouldered our sins and carried them to the cross, God’s Son and the world’s only Savior emerged from His borrowed tomb in victory.
And, look as they would, Jesus’ enemies and Jesus’ friends, all had to conclude: “He no longer was there.”
THE PRAYER: Dear Lord, there are those who would dearly love to see you put back in the grave. Try as they might, they never succeed. Grant that I may rejoice in the hope and salvation Your resurrection gives. In Jesus’ Name I ask it. Amen.
The devotion for today was inspired by various recent news articles. For further reading you may wish to go to this address: https://www.newser.com/story/278597/why-john-dillinger-is-being-exhumed.htmland the article written by Neal Colgrass.
The music which introduces and concludes our devotions was written by Guy Baumann. He along with three of his brothers perform on the album: The Baumann Brothers which may be ordered here: http://thebaumannbrothers.com/index.html