John the lovingly sensitive one of the original 12 disciples penned the following hope-filled and very inclusive words of Jesus as He spoke with a member of a very religious sect of Jesus’ day: “God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world might be saved through Him.”
With this universal thought in mind, let me say Happy Anniversary world, as today we celebrated the anniversary of the Son of God (fully man and fully God) Jesus Christ who rose from the dead! I sense that most of my brothers and sisters in Christ think that Easter may be just for those who already believe and follow Jesus, but if we use the recovery phrase of the 7 T’s (Take The Time To Think This Through), and reflect on what Jesus meant when he said what He did, then it truly is the world’s anniversary, and not just those who are ‘in Christ’. God sent His Son to save the world, and to my family in Christ, we all were in the world at one point in time until the Whisper broke through our shell…
By doing so in supernatural fashion God, defeated death and sin for those in this world who choose to ‘come to believe’ this supernatural message. Come on now, let’s party it up as we are going to heaven when we die and that takes away a pretty big chunk of tension off of the shoulders!
But in the here and now, here is the real heart pounding truth for those who believe in Jesus rising from the dead; we have gone from being spiritually dead creations of God to spiritually alive children of His. It’s back to the Adam and Eve thing with original sin – every person ever born on the planet is born spiritually dead from our earthly lineage. Dead people don’t need forgiveness they need life!
The spirit that raised Christ from the dead comes to take up residence in our lives the nano second we say, “Yes Lord I believe this message of Christ rising from the dead and ask you to please come and live inside of me and make me the person You want me to be”. With this prayer of accepting Christ we become spiritually alive for all of eternity! The unbelievable bonus of being absolutely and perfectly acceptable to our Father in heaven (because of our faith in Christ – it is a total grace thing – we have been set up)! is that we are forgiven for all past, present and future sin in our life. Can you say freedom – how about woohoo – Happy Easter! There are some folks out there who love to dance and this truth should let you boogie down without looking at your feet!
We just ate the desert first. I love eating the desert first because I can! But a great meal requires much preparation and work to put it together, and let me humbly explain the metaphor by saying that Holy Friday and Easter are God’s idea. A sacrifice and an example of unconditional love such as will never be seen again – nor thankfully never needs to be.
A common and horrific tactic by a brutal Roman government that occupied Jerusalem in the time of Christ was crucifixion. 7 inch spikes driven through the wrist bones, and through the feet of those convicted of not paying taxes or other crimes while the prisoner lay on a roughly hewn cross. The instant that the cross was stood up vertically it became impossible for the person on the cross to catch their breath as they pushed up from their nail bound feet gasping for air and pulling up on the hands fastened to the horizontal beam of wood. The cause of death was suffocation from not being able to grab a breath…
Falsely accused, misunderstood (even by those He had been with for the three years of His ministry), abandoned, beaten, betrayed, and hated, the Son of God had one thought in mind which the author of the book of Hebrews writes, “Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him, endured the cross, scorning its shame….” That unbelievable thought, was a thought of joy. That joy Jesus had was about you and I as He writhed in pain on the cross, trying to catch His breath…
One of the saddest times of reflection for me was just before His last breath. Jesus had to carry the weight of every sin that mankind ever committed, every curse was put on Him and as I understand it, His fellowship with the Father for an instant was broken as our perfect heavenly Father could not be in the presence of sin. The ultimate loneliness and abandonment was Jesus’ experience as Mark records that He cried out, “My God, my God why have you forsaken me?” and then Mark writes, “With a loud cry, Jesus breathed his last.”
Again, this kind of love of God could not fathom doing eternal life without you or I in His presence. So He made a way. This was God reaching down from heaven so we could stop the attempts of man to reach up to God. Easter is God’s idea.
Can you imagine the Lord’s triumphant breath of Easter, the gift that gives, when He suddenly appeared to the two Mary’s who were running from the empty tomb to tell the other followers? What a tremendous sigh of love and life it must have been when He said in Matthew 28: 9&10, “Greetings,” he said. They came to him clasped his feet and worshiped him. Then Jesus said to them, “Do not be afraid. Go and tell my brothers to go to Galilee; there they will see me.”
Imagine the smile on His face as he did this, the joy in his heart as he reunited with the first of HIs followers and exhaled that first breath of Easter, the gift that gives. Praise God for Easter!
PS The anniversary of Easter is every day – go and share this great love with someone today!
May God’s infinite wisdom cure us of the madness of self-confidence.