Friday, April 22, 2011

Missing It?

When I was in graduate school, I had started reading my bible in a desperate attempt to find peace.  I wasn't right with the Lord at that point, but I knew I needed something in my life.  I grew up in church and knew about Jesus and knew about Easter and what it meant.  I just didn't quite grasp all Easter meant.  So, it was a little strange that I did this, but I called my best friend at 11:00 pm on the Thursday before Easter.  I was prompted to call and ask her if she knew why we celebrated Easter. 

She was in Law School at that time, about 21 years old.  She did not know why we celebrated Easter.  Wow, 21 years old and no one had ever shared the story of Jesus' love with her.  I shared with her the best I could at that time, as I was pretty much lost myself.  To my knowledge, she still does not know the Lord.  I pray for her to come to know Him. 

Why do we celebrate Easter?  Hmmm.... I wonder how many people could really answer that question without saying something about eggs and bunnies.  Hey, I'm all for fun and I shared with you the other day about the bunny cake....but we are missing it if that is all it is about for us.  Bunnies and eggs, seriously?  They do represent the new life Jesus gave us at the cross, but they are not what Easter is all about.  Walk around any store and you quickly realize that Jesus, the reason we celebrate Easter, is no where to be found.  There are rows and rows of baskets, bunnies, eggs, and candy.   Where is Jesus? They have no idea what they are missing.  They are missing Jesus!

Thankfully, Jesus is not really missing. 

 Surely He had borne our griefs and carried our sorrows; 
Yet we esteemed Him stricken, smitten by God and afflicted. 
But He was wounded for our transgressions, 
He was bruised for our iniquities; 
The chastisement for our peace was upon Him, 
And by His stripes we are healed.
Isaiah 53:4-5

Powerful verses.

He bore our griefs, our pains......What is it that is hurting you today?  What brings you unbearable pain? Is it an emotional wound, or a physical one. Give it to Him.

He was wounded for our transgressions and bruised for our iniquities.....What sin has you in bondage and chains?  Is it a current sin or a past sin that holds you down in shame? Ask for forgiveness, receive His forgiveness, and release it to Him.  It was nailed to the cross with Him.

The chastisement for our peace was upon Him.....Are you constantly worrying about something or someone?  Are you fearful about anything?  Does your mind keep you in turmoil and torment with anxious thoughts?  He died so we could have peace.

By His stripes we are healed.....What is it you need healing for today?  God healed me completely from a severe emotional wound.  He healed my heart in a way that only the blood of Jesus could heal.  He was beaten severely to the point to death, he endured unimaginable pain so we could be healed.  Do you have a physical wound?  He wants to heal you.  His stripes were not in vain.

The blood of Jesus covers it all.  It covers all our sin, all our pain, all our fears, and all our wounds.  Give them all to Him. 

Jesus is not missing.....He is very much alive.  When Mary Magdalene went to the tomb where Jesus was laid on Easter morning, He was not there.  She also thought He was missing.  An angel said to her:

"Do not be afraid, for I know that you seek Jesus who was crucified. 
He is not here; for He is risen!"  Matt 28:5-6

Good Friday would not be called "Good" Friday if He had not risen.  We can call it "Good" because of what happened on Sunday.  Three days later He rose and is alive.  He carried our sin, our shame, our guilt, our pains on the cross.  The reason we celebrate Easter is because of the price He paid for us and that He conquered sin and death and rose again so we can live.  We cannot take Jesus out of Easter.  Without Him, it is nothing.  Is there someone you know who doesn't know Him, and perhaps doesn't know why we celebrate Easter?  I encourage you to pray for that person and invite them to church this Sunday.  Hopefully, they too will come to know the reason we celebrate, and will come to know the love of Jesus.  They really don't know what they are missing!  We have much to celebrate!!!

Dear Lord, we thank you for what you endured for us.  Thank you for loving us so much that you would suffer and die for us so we could have eternal life.  Thank you for the price you paid to buy us back.  We cannot imagine the pain you suffered for us.  Thank you that because of the blood you shed for us, our sins our washed away and we are made white as snow.  Thank you for loving us so much.  We love you.  

(He whispers back..."I love you too.")

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