March 31, 2021
Happy Easter, and thank you for praying each Wednesday for our prodigals and for revival. Easter is a special occasion that brings the truth of “newness” to a whole different level because Easter is the resurrection story - a story that brings new life, new joy, new purpose, new power, and new hope!
The announcement was first made by a young man sitting in the tomb to three sad women who were there to anoint the body of Jesus. “And he said to them, “Do not be alarmed. You seek Jesus of Nazareth, who was crucified. He has risen; he is not here. See the place where they laid him” (Mk. 16:6). This angelic messenger gave to these women the greatest news this world has ever heard!
A new life! John said, “Whoever has the Son has life” (1 Jn. 5:12). This is the life of the risen Savior, the very life of God Himself. Every believer has it. Jesus died to provide it. And He lives for us to enjoy it. He said, “I came that they may have life and have it abundantly” (Jn. 10:10).
A new joy! It was David who said, “Weeping may tarry for the night, but joy comes with the morning” (Ps. 30:5). There are many sad days on the journey of life. In this world filled with sin and heartbreak, we have endured much sorrow, but the morning of resurrection has dawned in our hearts. Despite the tears, we have His joy! Even in His darkest hour, Jesus had this joy. The Hebrew writer explains, “For the joy that was set before him [Jesus] endured the cross” (Heb. 12:2).
A new purpose! In his book, Surprised by Hope: Rethinking Heaven, the Resurrection, and the Mission of the Church, N.T. Wright says, “Jesus's resurrection is the beginning of God's new project not to snatch people away from earth to heaven but to colonize earth with the life of heaven.” We will eventually get to heaven, but presently He is populating the earth with those who love Jesus. This was the essence of the Lord’s prayer, “Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name. Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven” (Matt. 6:9-10). This, too, is the desire of our hearts.
A new power! Paul continually reminded the believers he wrote to that we do not live our lives in our own strength. The new life within us enables us to live by the power of the resurrected Christ. “That I may know him and the power of his resurrection, and may share his sufferings, becoming like him in his death” (Phil. 3:10). To know His power is to experience it personally, to draw from divine resources because of our link with Christ.
A new hope! As Paul defends the truth of the resurrection of Christ, he says, “If in Christ we have hope in this life only, we are of all people most to be pitied. But in fact Christ has been raised from the dead” (1 Cor. 15:19-20). Our hope is not limited to enjoying Christ in this life, but it points our hearts toward the future. We have a future worth living for! We will forever be with the One who will reign through the ages of the ages. How glorious is that?!
As we pray, as we sorrow, as we endure, and as we go through the Easter season, may our hearts and minds be filled with joy as we focus on our risen Lord!
Love in Christ,
Bryan and Rachel