Our world has changed dramatically over the ages, but one thing remains the same: after every sunset comes a glorious new sunrise. After a period of darkness, light shines anew. This is a constant truth both in the physical world and the spiritual one. Out of the stillness of that first Easter morning came the cry of victory as the ground shook and the stone was moved to reveal an empty tomb.
Since COVID-19 has disrupted our normal schedule and routine, my family and I have been joining the online gatherings of two different churches. One of them is Southeast Christian with Pastor Kyle Idleman. His name might sound familiar to you because he wrote the bestseller, Not A Fan. Now he’s the senior pastor of one of the largest churches in America.
Kyle Idleman has been preaching a series called “Reverse the Curse,” which delves into what happened during Adam and Eve’s sin in Genesis 3, the subsequent fall out and consequences that we’re still dealing with today, and the glorious revelation that Jesus is the great curse reverser. Jesus reverses the curse of sin and gives us new life in Him. He takes what was broken and makes it whole. He brings beauty from ashes and breathes new life to what was once dead.
Happy Resurrection Sunday! Christ is risen! He’s risen indeed!
As we celebrate this blessed day, let’s pause and take a moment to cast our minds back to that glorious morning over two thousand years ago. Picture the scene. All was dark, but then the sun began to peak over the horizon and to cast a golden glow upon a Judean hillside which held a tomb. A tomb with a stone that was rolled away. A tomb that once held the crucified Christ. A tomb that was now empty.
Today is Palm Sunday, the Sunday before Easter. It marks the beginning of Passion Week and all that is remembered and celebrated. However, let’s go back in time to the first Palm Sunday and remember what actually happened on that memorable day in Jerusalem.
“Now when they drew near to Jerusalem and came to Bethphage, to the Mount of Olives, then Jesus sent two disciples, saying to them, ‘Go into the village in front of you, and immediately you will find a donkey tied, and a colt with her. Untie them and bring them to me. If anyone says anything to you, you shall say, ‘The Lord needs them,’ and he will send them at once.’ This took place to fulfill what was spoken by the prophet, saying, ‘Say to the daughter of Zion, “Behold, your king is coming to you, humble, and mounted on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a beast of burden.”’ The disciples went and did as Jesus had directed them. They brought the donkey and the colt and put on them their cloaks, and he sat on them. Most of the crowd spread their cloaks on the road, and others cut branches from the trees and spread them on the road. And the crowds that went before him and that followed him were shouting, ‘Hosanna to the Son of David! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord! Hosanna in the highest!’”
~Matthew 21: 1a, 6-9
He is risen! He is risen indeed!
Today is a day of celebration, praise, and worship of our Savior and King who conquered death and defeated Satan on that glorious Sunday two thousand years ago. What a reason to celebrate and rejoice! Because of Him we have eternal hope!
A stone rolled away…an empty tomb...abandoned burial rags…a missing body…
These timeless reminders of Resurrection Sunday and the events that took place often lose their luster and become ordinary, expected, and predictable, especially if you’re like me and grew up in a Christian home. We become so familiar with these icons of Christianity that they lose their wonder, awe, and splendor in our eyes. But this should not be! We should never grow weary and calloused to the glory, awe, and miracle of the empty tomb, but must remind ourselves of what really took place and become re-amazed by the wonder of it all.
Two pieces of wood, one planted vertically and the other attached horizontally two-thirds up the first. Once a symbol of Roman cruelty and torture, now an emblem of divine love, the simple image of the cross holds much meaning and significance. Especially today, as we remember and hold sacred the sacrifice of Jesus’ blood poured out for us.
On this blessed day, let’s put ourselves in Mary Magdalene’s shoes as she came upon the empty grave that spring morning so many years ago. Can you imagine her surprise when she rounded the last corner and saw the stone already rolled away?! Or how do you think Peter was feeling when he ran into the tomb and found the linen cloths empty?! And can you picture Mary’s joy and amazement when she discovered that the man talking with her in the garden was the risen Christ?!
The twenty-seventh of this month, this coming Sunday, marks this year’s remembrance of the greatest day in the history of mankind—the resurrection of Jesus Christ. And as Christians, we give Resurrection Sunday its due celebration and recognition. However, do we truly consider and grasp the enormity of what Christ did for us, and do we fully recognize the anguish He suffered to bring about our salvation? Are we guilty of diminishing, through lack of acknowledgement and appreciation, the extreme sacrifice our Savior made to reconcile us with God? I believe we are.
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