What an Easter Sunday! Even though it was celebrated unusually in the midst of social distancing, I hope it was still a beautiful day to celebrate Jesus’ resurrection — a fundamental, guiding premise of our belief and the greatest act of love ever committed.
“After the Sabbath, at dawn on the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went to look at the tomb.
There was a violent earthquake, for an angel of the Lord came down from heaven and, going to the tomb, rolled back the stone and sat on it. His appearance was like lightning, and his clothes were white as snow. The guards were so afraid of him that they shook and became like dead men.
The angel said to the women, ‘Do not be afraid, for I know that you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified. He is not here; he has risen, just as he said. Come and see the place where he lay. Then go quickly and tell his disciples: ‘He has risen from the dead and is going ahead of you into Galilee. There you will see him.’ Now I have told you.’
So the women hurried away from the tomb, afraid yet filled with joy, and ran to tell his disciples. Suddenly Jesus met them. ‘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.’” (Matthew 28:1-10 NIV)
Trying to correctly relay the immense weight of Jesus’ death and resurrection is difficult. I’ve written and re-written. I’ve Googled, Instagrammed and YouTubed wisdom to help me portray precisely why Jesus had to die and be raised. But, there really is only one answer. On that Friday when Jesus hung on the cross after He endured excruciating, unimaginable pain — mentally and physically — He was thinking of you, He was thinking of me.
“But he was pierced for our transgressions,
he was crushed for our iniquities;
the punishment that brought us peace was on him,
and by his wounds we are healed.” (Isaiah 53:5 NIV)
“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because they have not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son.” (John 3:16-18 NIV)
Jesus died on the cross as the ultimate, perfect sacrifice for us. He paid the full price for our sins. And on that Sunday, He was raised from the dead with complete and absolute victory. As believers of this marvelous feat, we are also victorious. Fear of death, fear of separation from God, fear of eternal punishment, no longer has a hold on us.
Because God raised Jesus, we don’t base our salvation on someone who is dead. Instead, our salvation is based on Jesus being alive now and forever. Jesus is lord. Jesus is the savior. Jesus is always with us. Our eternity is secure. And that is the Gospel that everyone who chooses to believe gets to enjoy.
“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.’ For there is no difference between Jew and Gentile—the same Lord is Lord of all and richly blesses all who call on him, for, ‘Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.'” (Romans 10:9-13 NIV)
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