“He is not here, but is risen” (Luke 24:6).
As we prepare to celebrate Easter this April 17th, let’s ask God to stir our hearts and focus on the true meaning of this day. May we not be distracted by the furry bunny, egg hunting, Easter baskets, food, and celebrations, but rather set our hearts on the true reason… the sacrificial gift that has brought all who believe in salvation, redemption, and eternal life. Let us be intentional and reflect upon this day and what was done on our behalf. Let our hearts rejoice because He is Risen!
Jesus Paid It All.
As the old, timeless hymn beautifully conveys:
“Jesus paid it all,
All to Him I owe;
Sin had left a crimson stain,
He washed it white as snow.”
Jesus became the sacrifice, dying in our place, taking upon himself the sins of the whole world. He was the only one, sinless, blameless and perfect, who could bridge the gap between God and mankind. His deep love for His creation knew no bounds. He gave the ultimate sacrifice… His very life so all could live.
John 3:16 says, “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”
Scripture says Jesus knew what He was about to endure before going to the cross.
Mark 14:32-36 states: “And they came to a place which was named Gethsemane: and he saith to his disciples, Sit ye here, while I shall pray. And he taketh with him Peter and James and John, and began to be sore amazed, and to be very heavy; And saith unto them, My soul is exceeding sorrowful unto death: tarry ye here, and watch. And he went forward a little, and fell on the ground, and prayed that, if it were possible, the hour might pass from him. And he said, Abba, Father, all things are possible unto thee; take away this cup from me: nevertheless not what I will, but what thou wilt.”
Luke 22:44 “And being in an agony he prayed more earnestly: and his sweat was as it were great drops of blood falling down to the ground.”
Even though Jesus knew he would suffer an agonizing, horrifically brutal and painful death, He did it to save us. He was obedient to the Father and laid down His life. He came for everyone. He came for YOU.
He came to earth because of His deep love for His creation. He sacrificed Himself because of His deep, unconditional love for each of us. His shed blood cleanses all sin – past, present, future. His death and resurrection gave us a bridge back to God, a connection that no longer had to be broken… all because of JESUS.
His ultimate act of love and endless mercy led Him to pay a debt He did not owe so we could be cleaned, saved, redeemed, delivered, rescued. He died in our place. We could not save ourselves, so He came to save us.
1 Peter 2:24 states: “Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness: by whose stripes ye were healed.”
Philippians 2:6-8: “Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.”
Isaiah 53:4 says, “Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted.”
And, after enduring the painful death on the cross, Jesus was buried. His family and friends wept as his body was taken from the cross and put into the tomb.
Their tears would soon turn to joy just three days later as they would learn that he arose, just as He said. The stone was rolled away, and the tomb lay empty!
Just think how wonderful it must have been when those close to Jesus realized He had risen from the dead… conquering death. Seeing Jesus must have been overwhelming. The sight of Him must have filled hearts with unspeakable joy.
Matthew 28:1-10 states: “In the end of the sabbath, as it began to dawn toward the first day of the week, came Mary Magdalene and the other Mary to see the sepulchre. And, behold, there was a great earthquake: for the angel of the Lord descended from heaven, and came and rolled back the stone from the door, and sat upon it. His countenance was like lightning, and his raiment white as snow: And for fear of him the keepers did shake, and became as dead men.
“And the angel answered and said unto the women, Fear not ye: for I know that ye seek Jesus, which was crucified. He is not here: for he is risen, as he said. Come, see the place where the Lord lay. And go quickly, and tell his disciples that he is risen from the dead; and, behold, he goeth before you into Galilee; there shall ye see him: lo, I have told you. And they departed quickly from the sepulchre with fear and great joy; and did run to bring his disciples word. And as they went to tell his disciples, behold, Jesus met them, saying, All hail. And they came and held him by the feet, and worshipped him. Then said Jesus unto them, Be not afraid: go tell my brethren that they go into Galilee, and there shall they see me.”
Just as they celebrated, we celebrate today.
Let our hearts fill with joy this Easter (and every day) as we celebrate all Christ has done for us through his death, burial, and resurrection!
Romans 6:23: “For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.”
Galatians 2:20: “I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.”
Romans 10:13: “For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.”
John 14:1-6 “Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me. In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also. And whither I go ye know, and the way ye know. Thomas saith unto him, Lord, we know not whither thou goest; and how can we know the way? Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.”
He Is Risen… He Is Risen Indeed!