Running To God

Three days ago, Jesus suffered and died on the cross.

He said, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.”

God forgives us before we repent. Jesus on the cross prays forgiveness on those who nailed him to the cross. Who put him there? We did you and me.

He cried out, “My God, my God. Why, why have you forsaken me!”

This word from the cross is the opening of Psalm 22, so hidden in the despair of Christ is also the hope and promise that—The poor will eat and be satisfied; those who seek the Lord will praise him! They will proclaim his righteousness, declaring to a people yet unborn: He has done it!

He said, “I thirst.”

From turning water into wine and stilling the storm, water plays a key role in the ministry of Christ. On the cross, Jesus felt the thirst we have for water, love, justice, companionship, and healing.

He said, “It is finished.”

On the cross, Jesus did what we could not do and freed us from the enormous curse of sin. The sacrifice of Christ is once for all. We are made right by faith through grace alone and it’s not of our doing so no one may boast. Jesus did it for all and all means all.

He committed his spirit into His Fathers hands. He was laid in the tomb.

Jesus lived by doing the will of his Father and now he dies in the same way.

However, that was not the end, only the beginning. We suffered through Holy Saturday thinking it was over, over. That hate, despair, and darkness had defeated love, hope, and light. Everything we put hope in was gone. The dream and hope that God could love us beyond everything we know and the world tells that is for and with us is over. It’s all a sham. Jesus, it turns out is a hoax.

Jesus was died and buried.

We wake to startling breaking news.

The startling breaking Good News is this: The Tomb is EMPTY!!

Yes, EMPTY!!

Yes, thank You God!

In John’s account of this great morning, Mary goes to the tomb to prepare the body of Jesus for burial upon finding that the tomb is empty runs to the apostles and tells them. On hearing this, Peter runs to the tomb only to find the wrappings that once covered the body of Jesus. Jesus was no longer there, no longer dead. This is critical to understand not in some intellectual or propositional way, but truly know and trust that Jesus has risen.

Peter is not sure what to make of it. Soon, he will know and his life will never be the same again.

I feel a lot like Peter some of the time. I am not sure what to make of Jesus, of God but I run to God. I run and what I find amazes me. In Christ and in Christ alone I find my identity as one loved by God. I am determined to run the race marked out for me fixing my eyes on Jesus. On this day, we throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles; on this day, we celebrate and praise the new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade. (Heb. 12:1-2, 1 Peter 1:3-4)

 As Christians, our primary claim and proclamation is Jesus is Lord and our mantra, “He is not here: for he is risen.” Jesus who suffered hell on a cross, buried, lay dead for three days and rose again is Lord and Savior of all. He calls to all, “Come, come to all who are weary and find rest. I am the bread of life. I am the living water. Drink and eat of me and you will never thirst or hunger again.” Jesus doesn’t set up some complicated system of things you must do or say in order to receive what He offers. No! He says come and see. He offers freely love and grace; He offers freely Eternal Life to the full. He secured it on the cross and He gives it out wastefully to any and who will trust in him.

 A poll asks why Jesus is important to you. The three options: I can be forgiven, I can feel peace, and I can overcome death. My first impulse is to choose the first option. It’s wrong. Yes, wrong. It’s not that I can be, or I can, but I am.  I am already forgiven, at peace. Jesus overcame death so that you and I live to the full free from worry and fear. We are promised Eternal Life in Christ and that doesn’t begin after our physical death, but begins here and now stretching into eternity for the glory of God. There is nothing we can add to God’s free, radical, and awesome gift of unconditional and limitless love and grace offered freely through and in Jesus’ saving death on the cross.

 The greatest news that has ever flashed from heaven to earth is that Christ the Lord is risen. The angel at the tomb delivered the most important message ever to fall on the ears of mankind: “He is not here: for he is risen.” The power of those words changed the course of history, brought hope to a hopeless world, brought grace to a graceless world and gave believers a purpose and a power that they had never known before. Once we know and trust that Christ is risen, we are never the same again.

Jesus lives and calls us to be His hands and feet in a broken and perishing world. Everything we know and cherish rests on the utter, subversive, revolutionary, and awesome truth that Jesus lives! Our entire civilization—universities, hospitals, democracy began on the first Easter. Our world would be transformed if more and more would shape our lives from Jesus lives, loves, and saves. Our world will increasingly smell like Jesus. I would much rather stay drunk on God’s love and grace, but I cannot, we cannot do this anymore. We need to get busy being the hands and feet of Christ, not for anything we could ever add to Jesus’ gospel, but all for the glory of God.

Coming face to face with Christ forces us to choose. Will we accept Christ into our hearts and lives or will we shrug our shoulders and go on alone. I have made the decision. Jesus is my all; I consider everything a loss compared to the exceeding awesomeness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, my Savior for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them rubbish, that I may gain Christ and Christ alone. (Philippians 3:8) I am shaping my life by that statement I just made, I am not completely there yet, but I am closer now more than ever.

You have the same decision to make.

Will you accept Jesus as your Lord and Savior? Well, Will you?

Know that even if you are still going through your own Good Friday or if you are languishing in a personal Holy Saturday that He has risen! Nothing will ever be the same again! Jesus died the death of a criminal so that you and I may have Eternal Life to the full. Jesus rose again so that we may know that we have the hope that joy, light, and love will shape our life now and forever!

I hope you have a happy Easter that God blesses you in knowing more and more what it means to say Jesus lives!

Resurrection has come this day! May all experience, embrace, and share the love and grace of God found in Jesus alone!

Grace and Peace to all!

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