Easter Sunday grows more precious to me with each passing year. Why
would an event that happened over two thousand years ago matter today?
My life is different from those who lived then and far removed from that of contemporary Middle Easterners from the war torn regions I hear about often in the news.
Services will soon be held all over the world, remembering the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus. In the weeks leading up to Easter, pastors will encourage their members to
follow His example of love and sacrifice. Some
will emphasize His godly life
when He walked this earth, while others will dwell on the trauma of the horrific hours that led to His death by crucifixion. Churches may favor a
meditative approach to this season with fasting and prayer, abstaining
from favorite foods and pleasurable activity, thereby sensitizing their spirits to hear the voice of their Maker. The Jewish celebration of Passover, which also falls around this time of year, is inextricably linked with Easter Sunday. This is after all a Jewish Messiah we
celebrate! Read more about the miracle of the cross here.
But what does it matter if a good man (even if he was the Son of God) came to earth and took on the sins of the world, died and conquered death as the Bible states? Even if you could bring yourself to believe that this was true – surely it is an isolated event in time, distant and shrouded in history. So what?
What appears to be dry words on a page will come alive when you do something with it, as I did. The ancient story of what happened on Easter Sunday is meaningless unless it is acted upon. Like notes that remain as calligraphic markings on sheet music until the musician plays them, the words betray nothing of their beauty or power, until something is done with them - something that requires a simple act of faith.
Believe in your heart that the words below are true and declare them with your mouth. That's it!
"But what does it say? “The word is near you; it is in your mouth and in your heart,”fn that is, the message concerning faith that we proclaim:
If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.
For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved.
As Scripture says, “Anyone who believes in him will never be put to shame.”Rom 10:8-10 KJV
But "saved" from what, you might ask. I too balked at the very idea of needing to be "saved". It seemed rather fanatical to me, like something you'd expect screamed at you from a wild-eyed street preacher. True, it is being saved from sin and recognizing His sacrifice for your sin, but it is so much more than that.
The saving that the Bible talks about is so vast in scope and enormous in power that our lifetime is not sufficient to comprehend all of its privileges and benefits!
Could an act of trusting in a statement as uncomplicated as what the Bible states above transform your life? It did mine.
Intellectuals and experts of all faiths and sciences can discourse at length about these claims. I leave all theorizing and debating to them because they operate in the domain of probability. No aspect of this marvelous life can be glimpsed through those portals. In the arena of words, I lose more arguments than win, fought as they are in the fog of stubborn wills, gripping fiercely held ideas and opinions.
Arguments aside, no one can challenge my personal experience, or that of thousands of others, who in the years since that first Easter Sunday have also been changed. I was saved, as they were, from the inescapable vise of sin and a twisted way of viewing the world; saved from the futility of an empty life into a growing, vibrant, living hope that defies definition. It has changed me in ways I could never have dreamed possible.
This "being saved" is a process that has only become more precious with each passing year. All that reeks of death in my life is gradually being flooded with His light. It did not happen in an instant, but was a process that began the instant I chose to trust in what the Bible and history records happened on Easter Sunday. His light shines in a greater measure in my life, reveals more and invites me to change, as I understand more. Light dispels darkness. The process will continue, either until I leave this earthly life in death and step into eternity, or He returns, whichever comes first.
Easter Sunday is a day I celebrate with gratitude the step of faith that I took. I found His mercy to be sufficient as I plunged into a life I could not have imagined. That mercy is perfect, colorful, surprising and difficult to explain to one who has not yet chosen to trust in it. I can only tell of my experience and hope that some part of it will be intriguing or curious enough to urge another to take that step as well.
When you watch someone dive into a cool pool on a steamy summer day, do you not feel the urge to jump in as well? Mercy, the polymer clay relief sculpture above was created to celebrate my plunge.
Some of you will read this and agree with what I have attempted to describe. You are enjoying and sharing your unique experiences of His working in your life. With the millions of voices of the past, you too can declare on Easter Sunday with jubilant delight, " He is risen, He is risen indeed!!".
story does not end with Easter Sunday, but continues on to the marvelous
finale when He returns. That may seem ridiculous to some, but He who
precisely set in place historical events that led up to His
resurrection, also promised specific events that will usher His return. Some of those events are now today's news!
Considering God's masterful timeliness, detailed hundreds of years before their coming to pass, I am certain that the rest of 'His' story will unfold precisely as foretold.
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