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Easter

The Tree Could Not Hold Him

Friends

Doesn't it seem that bad news is all around us?  It's always the top story on the news or the main headline in the paper.  But as followers of Jesus Christ, we know the best news we could ever hear… and we celebrate it this coming Sunday.

Millions and millions of Christians around the world celebrate Easter every year.

Easter is not about brightly colored eggs, wearing pastels, or enjoying a big meal, although it could include these.  Easter is about the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.

For some, Easter will be a great day, spent surrounded by family and friends.  But for others, it will be a sad day, because Easter is a reminder of a loved one who has died and is now desperately missed.

Easter is the day we celebrate the resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ from the grave. This is the event that conquered sin… it conquered death… and it made it possible for you and me to have a personal relationship with God!

At the heart of our faith: passion, death, resurrection, and ascension of Jesus Christ.  All of salvation history leads up to and goes forth from these saving events.  One-fourth of gospel record covers the events from Palm Sunday to Easter Sunday.  It’s as if someone hit the "Slow Down” button so we could focus on each event that took place when Jesus came to Jerusalem knowing that He was about to die on the cross.

If Easter had not happened, Christmas would have no meaning.  If the tomb is not empty, the cradle makes no difference.  If Jesus did not rise from the dead, then He really is just a misguided Jewish rabbi with delusions of grandeur.  If Easter is not true, then Christmas is only the story of an obscure baby born in an out-of-the-way village in a forgotten land 2000 years ago.  It is Easter that gives Christmas its meaning.

The Bible says in 1 Corinthians 6:14 NIV, “By his power God raised the Lord from the dead, and he will raise us also”

Christians around the world celebrate Easter, but for far too many of us the story has become boring and rote.  We have the basic facts down.  Jesus was arrested.  He was crucified.  And three days later, God raised Him from the dead.

It’s great news that Jesus rose from the dead.  But what turns that truth from black and white to living color is that one day — if you trust in Him — He will raise you from the grave, too.  That’s the promise of Easter.

Yet we miss something very important.  We miss what turns Easter from a one-dimensional holiday to a multi-dimensional, life-transforming way of life.

Death seems so cruel, so harsh, and so final.  That is what the disciples were feeling when they saw their Lord, whom they had left everything to follow, hanging on the cross.  They were devastated.  Death had crushed them.  But if they would have gone back in their memories, they would have recalled an important event and statement Jesus had made.

They would have remembered Jesus standing at the tomb of His close friend Lazarus. They would have remembered that Jesus did something completely unexpected: He wept (see John 11:35).  Jesus wept, because He knew that death was not part of God's original plan.  Humanity was not meant to grow old, to suffer with disease, or to die. But because of the sin of Adam and Eve, sin entered the human race, and death followed with it.  And death spread to all of us.  Jesus wept, because it broke His heart.

But standing there at Lazarus' tomb, Jesus also delivered these hope-filled words: "I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live" (John 11:25 NKJV).  Death is not the end. And the resurrection of Jesus Christ proves it.

If you have put your faith in Christ, then Easter means that you will live forever in the presence of God. Easter brings hope to the person who has been devastated by death.

We miss that the story of the Resurrection is not just Jesus’ story — it’s our story as well.  You see, you are a part of the Resurrection.  Jesus’ death and Resurrection did not just prove there was life after death.  The Resurrection proves you can have life after death, that there’s life beyond your grave.  Jesus says, if you trust in him, death becomes a transition, not an ending point.

Bottom line: One day your heart will stop. That will be the end of your body. But it will not be the end of you. God made you to last forever. That’s why you often have a feeling there’s more to life than this. Jesus made this amazing promise in John 11: 25-26 NIV:“I am the resurrection and the life.  The one who believes in me will live, even though they die; and whoever lives by believing in me will never die”

 

That’s quite a promise!  Jesus proved He could do it by resurrecting Himself.  Otherwise, we would have no reason to believe it.  If Jesus had not died on the cross and been resurrected more than 2,000 years ago, you would have zero chance of getting to Heaven — no hope of the afterlife and no eternal life.

The events at Easter are the only source of hope in this world.  Jesus Christ shed blood on the cross, His payment for your sin and for mine, and His resurrection from the dead gives you and me new life.  Eternal life forever, if only you believe (John 3:16: John 6:47; Ephesians 2:8-9).

Because of Easter, you and I don't have to be chained with the shackles of sin.  We are free to live the life God intended.  And one day we will live forever in a place called Heaven, created just for our pleasure.

Because of Easter, we can walk with the God of the Universe as if He is our friend.  So, this Easter, don't let it be all about the bunny.  Stop, worship the One who gave you life.  Jesus Christ.

Make Every Day Count

Barry

Come Sunday and experience the Risen Savoir, Jesus!