I have always loved Easter.
However, this year, the holiday was infused with special meaning for me. I spent all of last week with Jesus, as I immersed myself in the details of His last week on earth before He went to the cross. I felt like an eyewitness, experiencing the highs and lows with my Savior..and often being moved to tears by His beautiful spirit, breathtaking love, immense strength, and tender heart.
I saw and felt Him everywhere and His peace covered me like a blanket. Fear melted in light of the glory of the magnificent Cross. There truly is nothing to be afraid of. On that Cross, Jesus took care of my most pressing need…forgiveness of my sin. There is NOTHING He cannot handle.
As Romans 8:32 states, “He who did not spare His own Son, but gave Him up for us all—how will He not also, along with Him, graciously give us all things?”
Last Thursday night, we attended the communion service at church.
Our pastor reminded us that the Last Supper was a time of intimacy between Jesus and His disciples. This, too, was a time of intimacy…when Jesus called us to draw near and go deeper, to meditate on all that He had done for us…to celebrate that because of the Cross, we have instant and miraculous access into His very heart, both now and for all eternity.
I saw Him in so many faces that night:
*a breast cancer survivor who boldly shared that she would choose to go through that journey again because it brought her to Jesus…and His love is better than life itself (Psalm 63:3)
*our pastor, whose beloved wife has long battled illness, admitted that it’s been a long time since he has felt like singing. Yet, sing he did, clear and strong…because Jesus always gives us a new song (Psalm 40:3)
*a friend who is waiting for the results of a biopsy, yet is filled with peace…because Jesus IS Peace. (Ephesians 2:14).
*a dad who is grieving the loss of a son much too soon…but who rests in the fact that God is a good God and chooses to trust what he cannot understand. (Psalm 34:8 )
That is the power of Jesus on display. Not only does He save us…but He continually gives us the power to live victoriously and joyfully in the midst of a fallen world.
Watching Jesus put a broken life back together and love someone to wholeness is a beautiful wonder.
He has done it for me and I will be forever grateful.
On Saturday, our family watched “The Passion of the Christ.” There is one particular scene in that movie that always brings me to tears because it is so deeply moving. As Jesus is carrying His cross, He drops to His knees to fully embrace it. One of the criminals who will be crucified with Jesus rages at him: “Why do you embrace your cross, you fool?”
To the world, this looks like utter foolishness, perhaps the actions of a madman. Yet the world does not have eyes to see the beauty of redemption, particularly one that by necessity was so bloody and gruesome.
Jesus fully embraced His cross…so that He could joyfully embrace all who would come to Him.
He knew that His redeemed bride was on the other side of that Cross.
Likewise, when we choose to embrace the personal crosses we carry, we will find that we are actually embracing Jesus Himself…which results in a time of unparalleled intimacy and transformation. That is when we discover that He truly is all that we need.
On Easter morning, I awoke at 4:30 to get ready for the sunrise service. I could see the clouds moving across the moon and the fog was thick. It has snowed the day before and the ground was still covered. It definitely looked more like a winter scene than Easter morning.
However, the sun did rise over the mountains as we all gathered at the church property to sing and celebrate our risen Savior. The skies cleared, revealing a brilliant blue. Even the snow reminded me that my sins, once scarlet, have now been washed white as snow by the precious blood of Jesus.
Easter truly is the most joyous of days because…”we are the celebrants out dancing in a wild rain of grace.”–Ann Voskamp.
Dance…and celebrate for the rest of your days…because HE IS RISEN!!!