Easter Greetings

Happy Easter, everyone.  He is risen.

Although nothing I say here is new, I hope it will be encouraging.

As I contemplate the meaning of Easter, I am stunned.  And puzzled.  And surprised.  My whole life, I have heard about Jesus–that He was God who died for sinful me on the Cross, that He was buried and that He rose again the third day.  I understood the reason for the Cross.  According to Romans 6:23, the consequence of and sentence for sin is death.  Jesus died in my place on the Cross so I wouldn’t have to go to hell.  I got that too.  And He rose from the dead because… Well, I knew the reasons, but didn’t realize how they affected me.  God has been working in my life so much this year.  He’s been teaching me deeper truths about the Bible and showing me how wrong I am when I keep all that truth piled up in my head like neatly folded laundry and don’t use it in my life.  The Resurrection is not something to keep stowed away like last year’s winter coat.  It’s a truth that changed the world.

The Resurrection of Jesus Christ.

On a day like none other in history, several women go to Jesus’ tomb to pay their respects and anoint His body with spices, as was tradition.  To their shock, the grave was open.  The guards placed there by jealous Jewish leaders were prostrate on the ground like dead men.  The tomb was empty.  And an angel tells them, “Fear not ye:  for I know that ye seek Jesus, which was crucified.  He is not here:  for He is risen, as He said.  Come see, the place where the Lord lay.” (Matthew 28:5-6).

And this is just the beginning.

The remaining 11 of His 12 disciples are in hiding when He appears to them.  And He doesn’t appear just once, but several times in different places and to people:  the women at the tomb, Mary Magdalene by the tomb, the disciples without Thomas and with Thomas, the two on the road to Emmaus, and the crowd on the hill in Bethany, to name a few.

His followers would later be accused of turning the world upside down (Acts 16:7).  Their lives were transformed.  How?  Jesus had risen again.  The truth of the Resurrection was not just a nice theological idea to discuss–it was a vibrant, life-changing truth about God’s power.

There is no greater demonstration of God’s power than the Resurrection.  Ephesians 1:19-20 records what Paul will be learned by the church at Ephesus, “What is the exceeding greatness of His power to us-ward who believe, according tot he work of His mighty power, which He wrought in Christ, when He raised Him from the dead and set Him at His own right hand in the heavenly places.”  We were God’s enemies of God, but God loved us, died, and rose again for us so we could die and rise again too.

“Wait a minute,” you might say, “how does that work?”

Christ’s death ransomed us.  You know what a ransom is, right?  Payment to redeem something/someone.  Just in the book of Ephesians, we (all mankind) are described as “children of wrath,” “children of disobedience,” “having no hope,” “strangers and foreigners,” and “the old man.”  We are even described as dead in sin.  I’ve talked about before on this blog–the world is not right.  We are broken.  We are sinners.  And if knowing I’m a sinner in a messed up world is where the story stopped, it would be a pathetic excuse to live.

But the story doesn’t stop there.

Christ came to ransom me.  I deserve hell.  If God granted me justice right now, I would be burning in hell in torment for the rest of eternity.  That would be just.  But God is both just and loving.  He provided a way I wouldn’t have to go to hell.  And that was Christ’s dying on the cross.

So I accepted God’s gift of escape.  Christ’s dying on the cross frees me from hell.  And the Resurrection?  It frees me from sin.  This is where the rubber meets the road–where it’s time to stop looking at the pile of clean laundry–Christ’s resurrection give me new life and that fact requires a response.  Ephesians 2:4-10 describes us as risen with Christ because of God’s love while  Colossians 3:1 says, “If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above.”  Romans 6:6 says our power of sin over us was destroyed when Christ died, “that henceforth we should not serve sin.”

Wow.  Christ’s gift–the most incredible gift of all history–pays the penalty of my sin (death) and gives me strength and power to “walk in newness of life” here.

Galatians 2:20 sums it up nicely:  “I have been crucified with Christ.  It is no longer I who live, but Christ Who lives in me.  And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, Who loved me and gave Himself for me.” (English Standard Version).

Some of you are thinking, “Boy, can this girl yak.  I don’t really get the point of all this.  And does she have to keep talking about God?”  The answer is simple.  My life is being transformed–changed–remodeled by the Almighty Savior Who lives in heaven.  I believe that the Bible is His Word and that it is true.  And if God’s Word is true, then there’s a great, loving, all-powerful, all-knowing God Who knows everything about you and loves you greatly.  This God wants you to know Him and wants to give you the greatest satisfaction and fulfillment you will ever know.  All you have to do is come in faith to Him.

And if God’s Word is true, then there’s an awful end to those who reject God.  And if I count myself your friend at all, I will warn you of it.

But this is not meant to be a scare tactic.  God hates sin.  But…”God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” (John 3:16)

It’s Easter.  Christ is risen.  “And as He stands in victory/ Sin’s curse has lost its grip on me/ For I am His and He is mine/ Bought with the precious blood of Christ.” (from In Christ Alone by Keith Getty and Stuart Townsend.)

“Now the God of peace, that brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great Shepherd of the sheep, through the blood of the everlasting covenant, make you perfect in every good work to do His will, working in you that which is wellpleasing in His sight, through Jesus Christ; to Whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.”–Hebrews 13:20-21

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