I’m so in awe of our God. The power of the gospel- the story of Christ’s death and resurrection never fails to give me chills. In spite of his sovereignty, God clothed himself in the limitations of human flesh, and suffered excruciating pain and humiliation at the hands of the very ones he formed. And at the end of it all he said, ‘Father forgive them, for they know not what they do’ [Luke 23:24]. What kind of love is that? I mean, Christ was the living God in human flesh. He could have stopped his torture in an instant! He could have wiped out every single person on the planet with one word if he wanted to. He could have chosen not to take that pain. But our God is love. He had to fulfil scripture, he endured it all with us in mind- that we may be able to run freely to the Father, commune with him, be in relationship with Him. We celebrate the resurrection of Christ because he came out victorious! He defeated death and the price for our sinful flesh was paid.
Jesus’ resurrection sparked off a worldwide movement that is relentless, growing, passionate, forging ahead into eternity. His resurrection sparked off the church. If Christ didn’t rise from the dead, what were the disciples spreading? What were they so passionate about? So much so that they were willing to die, just so they could let others know about this Jesus, about this freedom? That there is no longer any condemnation if people just accept God’s son! Peter said in 1 Peter 2:13 & 16, ‘but rejoice, inasmuch as you partake in the sufferings of Christ, so that you may be overjoyed when his glory is revealed [..] if you suffer as a Christian, do not be ashamed, but praise God that you bear that name’. The early Christians were willing to suffer horrible things out of love and devotion to Jesus and for the sake of the gospel.
I want to see what they saw. Imagine what it must have been like to spend every moment of Christ’s 3 years of ministry with him. They watched him heal the sick, calm storms, cast out demons, raise people from the dead. They saw the love he had, the authority he spoke with, his peace, his wisdom, his humility, his power, it was inhuman! They saw it. They were with him. They knew no other presence was like his. And then they watched him die the worst kind of death. I can’t imagine their sorrow. I cant imagine how they felt watching him bleed to death on the cross, nails in his wrists, thorns on his head, ripped flesh from beatings, hanging at a 45 degree angle, taking each painful breath for 9 hours, being taunted and spat on and mocked. I can’t imagine the anguish Jesus himself went through. My heart aches. As they saw him taken down and put in the tomb, what hope could they have had left in them? I would have been so bitter and angry. My friend, my mentor, who showed nothing but love to each person he came in contact with, perfect in every way, slaughtered like an animal. Yet, after three days of mourning, the place where he was buried was empty. And there he stood, before them in all his glory like nothing happened! At the resurrection, everything changed.
Reflecting on the death of Jesus, the reason he died, his resurrection, and the passion of the early church, I think.. are we too comfortable? Are we stepping out enough for the mission? Are we taking up our cross as Christ did for us? Are we testifying? Peter makes it clear that if we suffer as Christians, we should praise God that we even bear that name. I don’t know about anyone else, but I want to be in the very thick of what God is still doing in people’s lives through Jesus. I want to make his name even more famous than it is, and if I suffer for that, it’s a privilege to partake in his suffering. Being a Christian isn’t simply a title- our redemption comes with a purpose. Before Christ was taken up into heaven he said, ‘go and make disciples of all nations’ [Matthew 28:16-20]. We’ve been called to love, to impact the world’s culture, to step outside of ourselves in humility for others, to build his kingdom, spread the gospel… and there is still so much to be done. In verse 20 Jesus said, ‘and surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age’. And truly, he is. We believers all walk with him, we all know he’s with us, we’ve experienced how he transforms us, cares for us, we all feel his spirit behind both Christmas and Easter. Even more so, when we step out for his kingdom. Throughout history, no one’s referred to him as the late Jesus. Why? Because he’s the living God.
‘We’re going public with this, as public as a city on a hill’- Matthew 5:14-16
Happy Easter! Share your thoughts on twitter with the hashtag #goingpublic / #resurrectionsunday or tweet @worldlightmvmt
Love and light,