Today is a day to celebrate! “It’s true! The Lord has risen! Simon saw him!” (Luke 24:34). That’s right. I say, “He is risen!” And you respond, “He is risen indeed!“
Oh man, that is more than an empty tradition. Those words “He is risen!” reminds us of the joyous news that Jesus’ death was not in vain, and that He has the power to overcome death. Saying “He is risen!” give each of us the opportunity to share this incredible truth. The resurrection of Christ is what gives us hope for salvation and for our own resurrection and eternal life!
Yeah, you lift me when I’m sinking
Like the swell of mighty oceans
The power of redemption
Yeah, it gives me wings to soar
You know, it is so easy to love Christmas. Singing those carols, sending beautiful cards to our friends and family; hearing the story of our Lord’s birth and how those wise kings had traveled miles and miles as they searched for the newborn King. The streets are decorated with the elegant colored lights and tinsel. The cheer is spread in our own homes with parties and sweets. Wow!. That whole story is so amazing! Along with Elvis, we sing, “If Every Day Could Be Like Christmas.”
I hear the bells
Saying Christmas is near
They ring out to tell the world
That this is the season of cheerI hear a choir
Singing sweetly somewhere
And a glow fills my heart
I’m at peace with the world
As the sound of their singing fills the air
Oh why can’t every day be like Christmas
Why can’t that feeling go on endlessly
For if everyday could be just like Christmas
What a wonderful world this would be
But then . . . well, we come to the realization that this newborn King had only one purpose for his birth, only one: to die!
Jesus paid it all,
All to Him I owe;
Sin had left a crimson stain,
He washed it white as snow
If He did not die, each one of us would still be living in our sins! Our whole world would be in chaos. But you know, it is so easy for us to deal with this if we keep it in the “third person.” We say, “Jesus came to cleanse us of our sins;” “Jesus’ death set everyone free of sin.” We point our fingers at those ruthless Romans and self-righteous Hebrew priests.
But I tell you what, you need to make this very real for yourself:
“Jesus died for my sins . . .”
Yeah, yeah. You have heard that for years . . . I want you to confess what really happened:
“It was my sins that killed Jesus.”
Oh dear God, that is hard to say, isn’t it? “It was my sins. I killed Jesus.” That is more to the truth than saying, “Jesus died for all of our sins.” Yeah well, there is a big difference between “all” and “my.”
I hear the Savior say,
Thy strength indeed is small;
Child of weakness, watch and pray,
Find in Me thine all in all
This past week I filled your heads with a lot of facts and history. I gave you a new understanding of the events, the timeline of Jesus’ fateful week. But I wasn’t trying to fill your heads with a bunch of facts and provide you with a new understanding. No, I wanted you to see the wonder and magnificence of our God! How each event occurred in precise order and followed a specific plan the Creator established from the very beginning.
I want you to understand the story of the greatest miracle of all, the resurrection of Jesus! It came after the sorrow and despair we witnessed at the Lord’s crucifixion. His death became complete joy and love as the resurrected Master defeated death, and is alive today! The events of the real story of Easter teach us about the atonement and resurrection, providing hope to anyone who believes.
As Peter wrote, “Praise the God and Father of our Lord Christ! God has given us a new birth because of his great mercy. We have been born into a new life that has a confidence which is alive because Christ has come back to life. We have been born into a new life which has an inheritance that can never be destroyed or corrupted and can never fade away. . .
“Although you have never seen Christ, you love him. You don’t see him now, but you believe in him. You are extremely happy with joy and praise that can hardly be expressed in words as you obtain the salvation that is the goal of your faith!”
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I do thank you for your gifts. It is your faithful and continued support that makes these messages possible.