Like every Good Friday, there comes an Easter Sunday!
At the National Pastors and Leaders conference in March I was inspired by the stories from around the country of lives that were touch by the words of Christ and the actions of his people. Sometimes we are looking at the crowds with the desire for a revival and end up missing the opportunities that are on our doorstep. I think of Jesus surrounded by people, enclosed by the crowd, to the point that a man of short statue named Zacchaeus who could not see Him had to run ahead and climb a tree. Jesus who saw more than just a crowd, he saw this individual, and called out to him to come down. As a result Zacchaeus became a believer who was transformed. * (Luke 19:1-10 NIV)
Maybe some of you are like me you are tied up in the big picture to the point that you miss the small pictures where God is working in the little aspects of your life. We miss seeing the person that is next to us, or as Jesus said our neighbour. We don’t need to ask him who our neighbour is, do we? I have some neighbours that I am working with that don’t live near me, but they are the neighbour that Jesus is calling me to help and in His time to share the message of Jesus. But the truth is in a small way, in helping them I am already sharing Jesus.
From this perspective it is my prayer that the message of Easter would not just impact our churches but also impact our communities. But how can that happen unless we live the message, unless the message of the love of God is bursting forth from every crevice of our being touching those who God has brought across our path.
There is so much about Easter that I love; it is our most important season, it is the message of the Gospel, it is the voice of God saying I love you. It is about redemption, restoration and transformation, it is new life and as Jesus says, “I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.” * (John 10:10b NIV)
The resurrection is about life in it fullness, however we need to come by way of the cross. For the cross is a place of forgiveness, but it is so much more that just forgiveness.
It is where Jesus died for us and also died with us. Let me explain what I mean. Don’t get me wrong I am not saying that Jesus died over and over again, but I am saying that in his death we have some one that understands our pain. “He was despised and rejected by mankind, a man of suffering, and familiar with pain.” * (Isa 53:3a NIV)
Most of us if not all of us have experienced the pain and the heartache of life. For some the pain has been to the point of nearly breaking us and out of our frailty we are calling out a prayer, “Lord help.” It may have been a prayer from the edge of despair. It may have been a prayer like that of the disciple waking Jesus up in the boat with the words “Lord don’t you care that we are drowning.” * (Mark 4:35-41 NIV) Yes Jesus did calm the storm, and yes he will calm the storms in our lives but right now we need to be reminded that Jesus understands suffering, he understands pain, he understands death. And when He calls us to take up our cross and follow Him, it does involve facing the deep struggles that are a part of life. We can find comfort in the truth that Jesus is with us in that Journey. For He has walked this road already and he is walking this road with us.
However, like every Good Friday there comes an Easter Sunday. Out of the ashes of our lives comes life, eternal life, a quality of life, a life with the power of the resurrection to live as Jesus has called us to live. A life that is touching lives around them. We are praying for the crowds however God is calling us to look around to the ones that he is bringing across our path to live out and to share with them the Easter message.
I continue to thank God for you, have a Blessed and life changing Easter. I leave you with the words from Paul, “I want to know Christ—yes, to know the power of his resurrection and participation in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death.” * (Phil 3:10 NIV)
Rev Rex Rigby