It has been a fantastic Easter weekend with over 5,000 people through CLA for Good Friday, Easter Blast and now Easter Sunday!
On the Christian calendar, many services and remembrances began on Thursday (Maundy Thursday) as followers of Jesus recall the last supper, his foot washing of the disciples and the evening in the Garden of Gethsemane. The Scriptures recall the Garden’s most powerful moment when Jesus utters the famous prayer “Father, if You are willing, take this cup from Me; yet not My will, but Yours be done.” (Luke 22:41–42). Christ’s closest disciples; Peter, James and John were with him. For Jesus, the anguish in that experience is something worth pondering this weekend. After his arrest in the Garden, he is led to trial on Good Friday. The crucifixion was a barbaric Roman method of capital punishment. The cross becomes a powerful symbol for Christians. It was a place of horror, shame and pain. Christ understood that he was dying for you and me. He believed that through it he would secure our rescue from sin in a way that no other pathway could secure. Literally, Jesus took our place. Romans 6:23 states that “the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life through our Lord Jesus Christ”. On Good Friday we remembered that Jesus Christ, who was sinless and had no need to die, died our death, the death our sins demanded. This substitution becomes even more powerful when we consider it in light of Easter morning.
Easter is about victory and hope! He is risen! Divine love triumphs over divine wrath. Because Jesus humbled himself and became obedient to death on the cross and because death had no rights to him (his sinlessness) he triumphs over death! The grave could not hold him! He rose on resurrection Sunday and Christians have been meeting together to celebrate on the first day of the week ever since.
John Stott writes that we belong to God three times over “by creation, by redemption and by indwelling”. God created us. Through Jesus Christ He redeems us from sin. Then because those born again by Christ receive His Spirt, he is within us. This indwelling is important because it is our guarantee to our own resurrection. “Christ really has been raised from the dead. He is the first of all those who will rise from the dead. Death came because of what a man did (Adam). Rising from the dead also comes because of what a man did (Jesus Christ)” (I Corinthians 15:20). This eternal life and victory over death is part of our Easter celebration. Last week I said we worship Jesus because He is worthy. This week our joy is renewed, and our praise is sincere. We rejoice at what God has done through Christ. We celebrate that He continues to change lives and anticipate His glory.