Jesus Is Risen

It is medically impossible to bring someone back to new life after death, but that is what happened with Jesus!  He Is Risen!  Nothing is impossible with God!  This has special significance this year.  We live in a time of great fear.  But we also see signs of great hope.  Much, simply seems impossible, but nothing is impossible with God!

We live in a time where there is so much bad news.  It’s great to hear the good news of the gospel in Jesus Christ!  So many of us need encouragement to face the many setbacks that could easily become opportunities for discouragement and even despair.  This Easter we remember that the Lord is risen!  All things are possible with God!  Good news always overcomes bad news in the end when viewed with the eyes of faith, hope, and love in Christ.

Paul said: ”I want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection and the fellowship of sharing in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, and so somehow, to attain to the resurrection from the dead” (Philippians 3:10-11).

Peter also writes: “Dear friends, do not be surprised at the painful trial you are suffering, as though something strange were happening to you.  But rejoice that you participate in the sufferings of Christ, so you may be overjoyed when his glory is revealed.  If you are insulted because of the name of Christ, you are blessed, for the Spirit of glory and of God rests on you.” (1 Peter 4:12-14).

The link between suffering and glory in these passages which is the same message that Jesus shared with the disciples on the road to Emmaus after his resurrection when he said: “Did not the Messiah have to suffer these things (death on the cross) and then enter his glory?.” (Luke 24:26).

Our entire nation needs revival in Christ!  All things are possible with God, so this dream is not unfounded.  Faith is the “substance” (Greek: hypostisis), or “personification” of things hoped for, things not yet seen.  Faith brings into the now the things that we only hope for in the future.  We walk by faith in these things, and not merely by the sight of current coronavirus pandemic.

Many people at this time look forward to something special this Easter.  OK, we will still have chocolate bunnies, coloured eggs, fun activities with the children indoor, and more.  What’s not to love?  But Easter is much more than a Sunday even if we have to stay indoor!  Its significance extends to more than just one Sunday.  To fully appreciate the resurrection of Jesus, it is helpful to understand and appreciate what took place beforehand.

Typically starting with Palm Sunday, Holy Week is a time for reflection and study – a time to look into the events leading to the death and resurrection of Jesus.  In Scripture, you may find descriptions of these events in the Gospels of Mark, Matthew, Luke, and John, as well as references from other New Testament passages.  Three of the most important things to reflect on during this time is the foot-washing and Lord’s Supper on Thursday, the crucifixion of Jesus on Friday, and the observance of Sabbath on Saturday.

Maundy Thursday, or Holy Thursday, is a time to commemorate when Jesus washed the feet of his disciples, and the Last Supper.  The word “maundy” comes from the Latin word that means “commandment.”  This is referring to John 13:34 where Jesus says, “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another.”

In the time of Jesus, the washing of feet was a responsibility only for a servant, so it was shocking to the disciples when Jesus began to wash their feet.  This demonstration of His great love and servant leadership is the example of how we should treat one another; “If I then, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet.”

In addition to the foot-washing and “new commandment,” Maundy Thursday recognizes the Last Supper.  Jesus blessed the bread and wine as a symbol of his body and blood, which He would sacrifice the very next day.  After this blessing, Jesus tells his disciples to “do this in remembrance” of him.  That is the reason Christians today still observe the Lord’s Supper.

Even though the death of Jesus was a horrific and sorrowful event, the Friday before Easter is appropriately called “Good” Friday because it is only through his sacrifice that we are given life – eternal life.  Romans 4:25 tells us that Jesus “was delivered up for our sins and raised for our justification.”  So, while it is tragic that God’s only begotten Son was crucified that day, Good Friday deserves its name because we are now people capable of being saved with “the right to become children of God.” (John 1:12).

Good Friday is the perfect time to thank God for the sacrifice of Jesus.  He gave his only Son so that we might live!  Could there be any greater gift?  Take time to reflect on what sins you have contributed to the pain Jesus endured, and ask God for forgiveness.  This might be painful, but the good news is that as soon as you ask for forgiveness, it is given to you! (1 John 1:9).

Recognizing the days leading up to Easter prepares your heart and mind to fully appreciate the most important aspect of the Resurrection.  For in the Resurrection of Jesus we find our hope of eternal life (1 Thessalonians 4:13-18).  This event in the life of the early disciples changed everything.  Before the Resurrection, they were cowering behind closed doors – hiding out in fear—but after the Resurrection, their faith was renewed and strengthened.  The Resurrection of Jesus was given to us as proof for the Gospel (Good News) (Acts 17:31b).  Build your faith in the Resurrection of Jesus Christ just as the early church did.  That was of course the message that we are to tell the world proclaim the Word of God to all people of the world.  Love starts here! 

“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.” John 3:16