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Jesus Has Risen! Now What?

Jesus Has Risen! Now What?

We Have the Biggest. Reason. Ever. to Stop Worrying

Do you ever lay awake at night, worrying about your job? Your bills? Your relationships? Your kids? Your health? Your past? Your future?

At the end of this worldly existence – whenever that hour comes – we can’t take any of it with us: not our possessions, our house, car, furniture, wardrobe; not our family, our pets, our loved ones. Not even the ever-present mantle of our earthly bodies will tag along into eternity. And the sum measure of all that time spent worrying over the temporary will fall away in an instant.

What, then, should we do with our limited time here on earth? For starters, we should stop worrying; instead, we must pray without ceasing and trust without fear that He is in control. To worry (and to do what usually follows, which is to try to “fix” those worrisome situations in accordance with our own will and plan) is akin to attempting to remove those things from God’s hands; it’s like pretending we know better, acting as though we can figure it out better, or that we can fix it better than our Lord can. We can’t! As believers, we know this and we have confessed this already – and we should not even try. And so, usually, worrying = trying to be in charge.

When you feel your worries pressing in; when you begin to feel fear or doubt that God is truly in control and working His perfect plan, consider the story of Easter. Consider, again and again as needed, His perfect timing. What would have seemed like three days too late to us – and what surely seemed to Jesus’ family and disciples as three days too late for God to “show up” and help His only son – was actually part of our Lord’s grand plan for our salvation. The people who were present the day of Jesus’ death could never have anticipated that plan; nor can we possibly predict what amazing works God has in store in each of His children’s lives.

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Happy Easter: He is Risen!

He isn't here! He is risen from the dead, just as he said would happen. Come, see where his body was lying.

– Matthew 28:6

But God raised Him from the dead, releasing Him from the agony of death, because it was impossible for Him to be held in its clutches.

– Acts 2:24

Easter represents the fulfillment of the work of the cross: Jesus was crucified, rose, and ascended into Heaven. A story so miraculous, so glorious, so filled with loving sacrifice, that we still talk about it 2,000 years later. Jesus Christ, the son of God, gave His life in payment for our sins.

How do we repay that kind of grace? How do we thank our heavenly Father for loving us enough to send His only son Jesus to be born among men, to be tortured and killed so that we might have eternal life?  

Because of the cross, we have a future and a hope. But the work of the cross didn’t end when Jesus ascended into Heaven; for us, that is when our call to take up the mantle of Christ begins:

He has made it clear to you, mortal man, what is good and what the LORD is requiring from you — to act with justice, to treasure the LORD's gracious love, and to walk humbly in the company of your God.

– Micah 6:8

Easter Sunday marks the culmination of Jesus’ journey to the cross and his victory over death. For believers, Easter provides an opportunity to renew our commitment to follow Him, to fulfill the requirements He has laid before us:

  1. To act with justice.
  2. To treasure the Lord’s gracious love. (some translations read: “To love mercy.”)
  3. To walk humbly with God.

In light of Jesus’ death on the cross, all our petty worries — even our bigger troubles — fade away. Eternal perspective is a gift: how refreshing to set the nagging issues of our worldly lives aside and to simplify our to-do list. Act with justice, treasure His love, and walk humbly with God.

May God bless you and keep you on Easter and throughout the year. If we can pray for you, in petition or in grateful celebration of God’s blessings, please let us know.

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Jesus saves! Do you want to know more about accepting Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior? Learn more here.

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Read the full account of the death and resurrection of Jesus in the following Gospel passages:

Mark 15:21-41; 16:1-20
Matthew 27:32-56; 28:1-20
Luke 23:26-43; 24:1-53
John 19:1-42; 20:1-31

A Very Horrific but Very ‘Good’ Day

A Very Horrific but Very ‘Good’ Day

The Day of Jesus’ Death Marks the Beginning
of a New Life for Believers

The Friday before Easter has been recognized as holy since as far back as AD 230; about that time, a Christian document known as the Didascalia Apostolorum described activities to be undertaken during Holy Week, including a fast on Friday. A bit of detective work turns up various references from early Greek, German, and Danish texts that may shed further light on the history of the name Good Friday.

This kind of minutiae is the stuff the dreams of history buffs are made of – but for the rest of us, poring over dusty manuscripts doesn’t replace the simple act of opening our Bibles to the greatest story ever told: the birth, life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ.

Good Friday is the day we recognize that every blessing – including salvation and the eternity we will spend beyond this earthly existence – was purchased by the blood of Jesus of Nazareth, the son of God. There is no gift so rare, so sacrificial in nature, so abiding and filled with love, as the gift of God’s own son in payment for our sins.

Jesus was born of man, lived a sinless life and was crucified on a cross so we might have everlasting life. There is no word sufficient to the task of naming this kind of love, or a sacrifice of this magnitude. And so, being human, we call the day we recognize Jesus’ sacrificial act of love ... good. (To be fair, the first modern thesaurus wasn’t released to the public until April 1852.)

This Easter season, take the time to read the story of Jesus’ crucifixion and death on the cross. Talk to the children in your life about the meaning of Easter, and what it means to be redeemed by God through the blood of Jesus. Pray, thanking God for the gift of his son Jesus and for the grace and hope we receive through His redeeming love.

Details of the death and resurrection of Jesus are described in the following Gospel passages:

Matthew 27:32-56; 28:1-20

Mark 15:21-41; 16:1-20

Luke 23:26-43; 24:1-53

John 19:1-42; 20:1-31

Matthew 27:32-56 (NIV)

The Crucifixion of Jesus

32-37: As they were going out, they met a man from Cyrene, named Simon, and they forced him to carry the cross. They came to a place called Golgotha (which means “the place of the skull”). There they offered Jesus wine to drink, mixed with gall; but after tasting it, he refused to drink it. When they had crucified him, they divided up his clothes by casting lots. And sitting down, they kept watch over him there. Above his head, they placed the written charge against him: this is Jesus, the king of the Jews.

38-44: Two rebels were crucified with him, one on his right and one on his left. Those who passed by hurled insults at him, shaking their heads and saying, “You who are going to destroy the temple and build it in three days, save yourself! Come down from the cross, if you are the Son of God!” In the same way, the chief priests, the teachers of the law and the elders mocked him. “He saved others,” they said, “but he can’t save himself! He’s the king of Israel! Let him come down now from the cross, and we will believe in him. He trusts in God. Let God rescue him now if He wants him, for he said, ‘I am the Son of God.’” In the same way, the rebels who were crucified with him also heaped insults on him.

The Death of Jesus

45-56: From noon until three in the afternoon, darkness came over all the land. About three in the afternoon, Jesus cried out in a loud voice, “Eli, Eli, lema sabachthani?” (which means “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”).

When some of those standing there heard this, they said, “He’s calling Elijah.” Immediately one of them ran and got a sponge. He filled it with wine vinegar, put it on a staff, and offered it to Jesus to drink. The rest said, “Now leave him alone. Let’s see if Elijah comes to save him.”

And when Jesus had cried out again in a loud voice, he gave up his spirit. At that moment the curtain of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom. The earth shook, the rocks split and the tombs broke open. The bodies of many holy people who had died were raised to life. They came out of the tombs after Jesus’ resurrection and went into the holy city and appeared to many people.

When the centurion and those with him who were guarding Jesus saw the earthquake and all that had happened, they were terrified, and exclaimed, “Surely he was the Son of God!” Many women were there, watching from a distance. They had followed Jesus from Galilee to care for his needs. Among them were Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James and Joseph, and the mother of Zebedee’s sons.  

Thankfully, this story doesn’t end here. On Easter Sunday, we’ll continue by sharing the great news of Jesus’ resurrection! Won’t you join us, and share this with your friends in case they have never heard the whole story?

Until then, if we may pray with you about anything, please let us know here.