This weekend is what many Christians consider the holiest time of the year. We remember and celebrate the event on which our faith rests, the death and resurrection of Jesus. Our world today gives us plenty of reasons to feel anxious and afraid instead of celebrate. But perhaps the best evidence of the resurrection life of Jesus working in us is that we can celebrate Easter even in a time of turmoil.
We call this week Holy Week. Tomorrow we call Good Friday. For those closest to Jesus who lived through those world-changing days it seemed anything but holy or good. We know what came next–Easter. But can you imagine how dark things seemed to Peter, John, or Mary Magdalene?
And remember that the surrounding culture was full of turmoil then too. When Jesus came, lived, died, and lived again, Israel was occupied by cruel Romans. The Jewish nation was deeply divided into various factions and within a few decades would cease to exist. Disease, violence, and sexual perversity were the norm in society at large. Divisions along ethnic, social, political, and economic lines were deep.
It was right into the middle of such a messed-up world that Jesus brought His resurrection life. And for the early followers of Jesus, none of that messed-up world could stop the flow of His resurrection life in and through them.
What might that mean for us who find ourselves living in the middle of a mess? Your anxiety, fear, and stress is not the whole story. How might we find a way to rightly celebrate Easter in a time of turmoil?
From the Inside Out
The early Christians did not see themselves as trying to enforce change to the structures of society. Jesus Himself said, “My kingdom is not of this world” (John 18:36). The primary outcome of following Jesus was becoming a different kind of person on the inside. Christians did not change membership from one social club to another; they were different. A new kind of human. That change in their very DNA transformed how they lived 24/7/365.
And out of that radical change in their very nature the social structures around them could not help but be changed over time. In the equivalent of moving against abortion, early Christians rescued abandoned infants and raised them as their own. Hospitals grew out of the work of Christians who cared for the sick. The abolition of slavery was a Christian endeavor.
Working for social justice is not wrong. There is much unfinished business in dealing with the destruction evil has brought through both individuals and institutions, and Christians do well to care about and be involved in changing society for the better. But we must keep the main thing the main thing; dealing with people’s hearts and minds.
So this Easter, is your heart and mind experiencing ongoing transformation through the resurrection life of Jesus? Is Christianity more than a social club for you? Are you being changed to the point that people and things around you can’t help but be impacted?
This is Not As Good As It Gets
““Hope” is the thing with feathers That perches in the soul And sings the tune without the words And never stops – at all.” (Emily Dickinson)
“For we are saved by hope” (Romans 8:24, KJV).
You can make it through almost anything if you know that something better is coming. Our world is a mess. Human trafficking, child abuse, domestic violence, racism, war, and countless other ills are enough to make one lose hope. And then there are your personal unhealed traumas, deep disappointments, and impossible circumstances.
But we know the end of the story!
Perhaps the most profound meaning of Easter is that God will make everything right in the end. That does not mean we cannot experience the resurrection life of Jesus here and now. We can! We work and grow and minister to others and experience great healing and transformation. But if this is as good as it gets, we’re toast.
Jesus had to keep His eyes on His end in order to make it through the shame of the cross (Hebrews 12:2). And you and I will have to keep our eyes on our end, our guaranteed eternity, in order to make it too.
So this Easter, what are you hoping for? Where does your hope rest? What do you need God to make right in the end for you? Are you confident in that hope?
This weekend I encourage you to do these three things:
- Celebrate what God HAS done in you. You wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for Jesus. Rejoice in every bit of the goodness of God you have experienced.
- Invite Jesus to minister His resurrection life in you now. There is more God wants to do in, for, and through you. Invite Jesus right into the middle of wherever there is mess in your life, and give Him permission to do His work.
- Remember Your Future. The resurrection of Jesus guarantees that the rest of what God has promised will come to pass. Jesus will return to finish setting up His kingdom, where there will be no more tears or pain (Revelation 21:4).
May you celebrate Jesus’ resurrection with joy, peace, and hope this Easter!
Your Turn: What does Easter mean to you? Where do you need more of the resurrection life of Jesus to minister to you right now? Leave a comment below.
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- You can celebrate Easter even in a time of turmoil. You can celebrate what Jesus HAS done in you, invite His resurrection life into your mess, and remember your future when everything WILL be made right. Tweet that.
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