When Easter is for you, too

This week.

I can’t help but be overcome by what it means. It is a day so immensely special, there are no words which could truly describe the impact of such an event that was catastrophic to all that is broken and fallen; an event that brought about the perfection of freedom. It is where the ashes of our messy lives could hope to find beauty and where all that was lost could now be reclaimed. We are on the cusp of a day where we will sacredly observe an act of obedience that was carried out, so perfect and true; an act which resulted in our penalty being taken on fully and in every aspect – pain, death, and separation. His blood for mine. This week…well, it a celebration of justification.

The other thing? Well, as if all the above was not enough…we also get to celebrate one more thing: Resurrection.

This day we celebrate what death could not hold; we celebrate an empty grave. The humble Christ Jesus, rising victorious as King over all and with the chains of death, broken, in His grasp. A day that holds the promise for newness and holds the promise of freedom.

This day means:

  • Every wayward son and daughter, now has a new hope. Their pasts and their hearts now have a place to shed their brokenness and their rebellion. Because of the cross and because of a risen Lord, they now can stand faultless…they are redeemed, they are new.
  • The hurt and ache of a broken marriage that is held firmly in sin’s grip of death, no longer needs to despair and mourn. The fallenness that wants to destroy and steal away what does not belong to it, has no bearing when given to the One who prevails over the fallen world. In and through Jesus, there is now hope and a future for any and all marriages. Ashes redeemed.
  • The tragedy that struck without permission…stealing and snuffing out all happiness…can be given to the One who can heal hearts and redeem sorrow for true and lasting joy.
  • The heart that is held captive by the yearning to please constantly, there is freedom in Christ. The selfish and vain nature which is found at the root of this bondage, can be given a security and wholeness through the One who is perfection.
  • The heart and body who experienced betrayal and shame from another person, maybe someone who had something stolen they could never get back, no longer has to bear all the pain and “dirtiness” they carry deep in their hearts anymore. Jesus took the full weight of that on the cross and His resurrection destroyed its hold. He can wash and make new. Freedom from another’s sin imposed on you.
  • Hearts that mourn and are broken…there is healing.
  • Frustration and anger, there is a calm reprieve. A place to cast off those feelings which control so uncontrollably. The one who controls the raging waves of the sea, has the power to control and calm the rage inside of you.
  • The one whose body craves the thing that it most wants to be rid of…there is hope. Jesus is stronger than any addiction. When eyes want to bleed over images, when throats want to be quenched by fire, when bodies shake for that next fix, when minds want to wander to those places where no one returns from unscathed…There is freedom found in a Redeemer who has conquered the slave-master of your heart. The death and resurrection of Christ Jesus, is your freedom-song.
  • Pride, jealousy, greed…all chains fall at the feet of Jesus.
  • The one who struggles with self-worth, Jesus pours His love into you. You are worthy and loved by the King and He has the power to wash away unworthiness from your heart and mind.

For the Son of Man has come to seek and to save the lost.

Luke 19:10

You are the lost. I am the lost. We are the lost. All was and became lost in that garden long ago. But, what was lost in the garden…was redeemed on the cross and restored because of an empty grave. What was unraveled, is knit together. What was stolen, is redeemed. What was broken and ruined, is restored.

All that He accomplished through death and resurrection is ours…free. GRACE.

For you are saved by grace through faith, and this is not from yourselves; it is God’s gift – not from works, so that no one can boast.

Ephesians 2:8-9

A gift. A gift of rescue, free, through our faith that He can and will save us. His gift, to be free from works…for any other way would lead to further bondage and sins of the heart – so that no one can boast. It is through Christ alone.

I hope that this Easter season, this Holy week, will resonate strongly in your heart. I pray that the impact of what occurred, will flood you. I want you to be overwhelmed by the event that changed the course of this world forever.

“Our savior displayed on a criminal’s cross
Darkness rejoiced as though heaven had lost
But then Jesus arose with our freedom in hand
That’s when death was arrested and my life began”

“Death was Arrested” – North Point InsideOut
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The Easter Season: The Broken Jar

We have come to the final week of our reading plan. We have entered the week that brings us to the foot of the cross; we have arrived at the week that brings us to an empty grave and a risen Lord. This is the week where emotions are felt deep. This is the week where hearts beat in tune with the drums of redemption’s song.

The words of the night when Jesus was anointed really causes the blood to course quickly through my veins, because I see glimpses of my life in this story, so clearly and vividly.

I cringe as I read the words that denote those who were looking down on the broken woman who dared to come before this man called Jesus. It is hard to read, because for so many years of my life…that was me. I was the one who thought myself better, who thought myself immune to the disease of sin, I was the one who grappled with the idea that the heinousness of the torture and the death by cross was a reflection of my own iniquitous state of being. I thought myself as not needing that extreme of sacrificial rescue; I thought of Jesus Christ’s death as just a means into heaven.

That time of my life was heavy, it was weighty and it proved to be empty. Through many told and untold moments of another time in my life, my “goodness” was nowhere near to save me. Where my sin was once hid and kept in private, I came to a place where that was no longer the case. My brokenness was now visible and plain. I see myself in the woman bearing all the shame she is and what little beauty she has to offer at the feet of Jesus.

I read the words about this woman. She was a broken mess, one whose brokenness was visible. She intrigues me as I read through this passage. She came before Jesus, not asking for a ticket into heaven…but asking for rescue, for redemption. She knew, with every fiber of her being, that she would never be good enough. She knew goodness would never save her. I continue on and read about her action. She took what was most precious to her, the alabaster jar, and broke it for Him. She poured out all that was beautiful, the only thing of beauty in which she possessed and poured it over the feet of the man she knew who would be her treasure. I am captivated by her. Though she was nothing, she gave Him everything. Tears brim as I think about what she received in return — the beauty and forever love of a Savior.

This is what I want us to dwell on this week. Let us be those who know how deep and dark our sin run. Let us be fully aware of the futileness of our good works. Let us be those who come before the feet of our Lord, Jesus Christ, and break open our jars. Let us give Him everything we treasure, so He can fill us with all that He is and be our treasure. I want us to to drink deeply in the knowledge of Perfection being beaten, bruised and nailed to a cross so as to redeem the broken, the hopeless, the weary, and the lost. I want us to indulge in the glory of a risen Rescuer who defeated the grave, so our graves can be defeated too. I want us to let the wonder of all this fill us up and overflow into the lives of those around us. This news, His news, is too good and too wondrous to keep to ourselves. It is meant to be spread. It is meant to be told.

Let us be those who come before the feet of our Lord, Jesus Christ and break open our jars. Let us give Him everything we treasure, so He can fill us with His love and grace and be our treasure. (1)

This Easter, rest in the knowledge that all He desires…is you. He knows and sees our hearts, nothing is hidden – yet, He loves us anyway. Let us be like the woman who was broken and rejected, the one who believed and gave all that she was to the One, Jesus Christ, who then gave her all that He is. May we all be in wonder of the cross and may we rejoice of the empty grave. It is a long-awaited promise fulfilled.

 

The Easter Season: The Hope That Is Rising

My last Easter post, was a hard one. It was hard to write about and it was hard to read. How does one seek to understand all that has been tainted, perverted and destroyed by sin without feeling the heaviness of the discouragement and desperation of sin. It makes it even worse to know that, with all we could possibly uncover about the effects of sin, we can never truly know the depths of brokenness to which it reaches.

However, the hope that is ours to cling to is, that where we were once held captive by sin, God provided rescue.

This last week, our Easter readings led us into a place of hope. We read through Old Testament passages that continually whispered out, “Its not over yet”. We read through stories of Abraham and Isaac, David and Goliath, and we read about the promise of a Rescuer that was told through the book of Isaiah.

Each passage of scripture we read was a revealing of the Hope that was to come. This Easter season, reading through these passages brings forth a renewal of the Hope that is, the very same Hope that is sitting at the right hand of God. Carrying the despair of sin is no longer our fate. Hope is rising within us this Easter season as we approach the celebration of He who came to die a blameless death…all to find a glorious victory over it.

When he sees all that is accomplished by his anguish, he will be satisfied. And because of his experience, my righteous servant will make it possible for many to be counted righteous, for he will bear all their sins

This last week, it was full of hope. It builds up the anticipation for what is to come in the next couple of weeks. It builds up the moment for us as we inwardly wave our palm branches in hope, shouting “Hosanna, Hosanna”. This week, we will read about the birth of a King, we will read about His goodness while here on earth and we will be joining with the crowds as we welcome the arrival of our Hope. His arrival, it is the long anticipated promise and it is Him fulfilling a rescue plan that has been known since before the beginning of time. This week, will set in motion the love. We will get a taste of a holy love – one that is pure, true, humble and righteous; We will see what it looked like as it walked on this earth.