Over 2,000 years ago, Jesus was tortured and killed by the very people he came to save. Three days later, he conquered death and promised eternal life to those who believe. One moment, Jesus’ followers were full of grief. The next, they were full of joy. For Christians living today, sometimes we have to separate the sadness of the Cross and the joy of the Resurrection in order to fully appreciate the glory of both. The same sin we carry in our hearts today crucified God 2,000 years ago. At the same time, the all-powerful, all-knowing God we worship offers us the gift of being with him forever, and all we have to do is say yes.
Perhaps the most gripping aspect of Christ’s suffering is his call for us to do the same: “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me” (Matthew 16:24). After remembering the Cross, the suffering Jesus put himself through for us, and his words to his disciples, our lives can suddenly feel grossly inadequate. This season offers a reminder that Jesus died so that we could live free from the punishment of sin. How are we using that freedom? Are we inviting others into that freedom, even though at times it may mean facing rejection, or even emotional or physical pain?
For Christians, Jesus is the way, the truth, and the life (John 14:6). We live in constant awareness of his sacrifice. The message of Easter is not a once-a-year lesson. It’s a transformational truth that shapes our daily lives. Easter is a powerful celebration of God’s love (John 3:16). Just as every Sabbath refreshes our souls, so every Easter reminds us of the weight of the Cross and God’s power of death.
The Resurrection is the most powerful testimony of God’s love, and the most important concept we can embrace. But it’s also one of the hardest for non-Christians to grasp. Jesus’ resurrection brings up questions: Why did Jesus have to die? Why was that the only way? What did I have to do with it? If he came back to life, where is he now?
For those who haven’t come to grips with the gravity of the Cross and the gift of Jesus’ resurrection, Sundays look different, and so does Easter. The Easter season offers Christians a unique opportunity to invite others into Jesus’ love. Even among nonbelievers, it’s a time to be with family and friends.
More than likely, you fall into one of those categories for some non-Christians you know. So be with them. The God who created you loved you so much that he offered his own life in exchange for yours. He died for everyone. He is the savior of the world (1 John 2:2, 1 John 4:14, John 4:42, John 1:29). So as you remember the Cross and celebrate the Resurrection, don’t keep it to yourself. Praise him, for he is risen. He is risen indeed.
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