On this beautiful Resurrection Sunday weekend, let’s remember the truth. Breathe in the HUGE AND UNIVERSALLY powerful (yet so personal) effects of the birth, life, death, resurrection, and ascension of Jesus.
God’s unlimited power brings about eternal and monumental events while His boundless love brings all of who He is and what He does down to the most personal – intimate accessibility through a relationship with Jesus.
During the Christmas season, I will often find myself pondering the manger. That Jesus came to earth and became human. Set aside His deity to be one of us – as a BABY! Vulnerable – in need of all the care and attention every other baby in the history of time has required. Not like the fictional comic book character, Superman, who was twirling grand pianos with one hand as a toddler. Jesus came as a human being. Like you. Like me.
He also came at a time in history when things were terribly inconvenient. Transportation was limited to walking, riding animals, or riding in something pulled by animals. There was no air conditioning, no real bathrooms, and so few of the things that we (I) think are necessary to daily life. Communication was limited to the people present or sending a message by someone who could personally deliver it. He was sent as a baby to a family that wasn’t empowered or influential in a time when His people were oppressed by a cruel regime. I think about these things (as trivial as some of them may seem) and marvel at the manger’s place in God’s plan.
I could stay there and never get over the wonder of that. But that’s just part of His love story for us. We’ve wrapped it up with ribbons and bows without always connecting the dots.
As I ponder the events of Holy Week, I can be angry at how fickle humans are (us included). One day dancing and celebrating Jesus, humble and impressed – caught up in the collective adoration. How many Sundays are we moved by the collective adoration of worship only to be disappointed, doubting, and even rejecting Him on some level within days? We’re not so different.
I’m even frustrated sometimes that God didn’t come up with a way that wouldn’t include the cross and all the hideous details surrounding the crucifixion. I love Jesus, and I am wrecked by this sacrifice. During Holy Week I am keenly aware of how easily in the normal course of the year I can take His love for granted.
The cross is so overwhelming that it’s hard to see beyond it. But there is SO MUCH beyond it. Jesus told us so clearly when He said, “It is FINISHED!” But that didn’t mean He was done. Everything that needed to be accomplished on the cross is finished. Done. He took our sin, our sickness, our separation from God and died for us. Died as us. Forgiven. Healed. Separated no more. Only through Him.
But wait! There’s more!
Although Jesus said “It is finished”, He continued to do what the finished work of the cross set in place. He vividly displayed His victory over death, hell, and the grave. To ignite in them hope. Not wispy, wishy, hope-y feelings, but real hope – firm expectation. His being alive solidified what He taught them before the cross and made it possible to live out redemption.
At the close of His time with them, He told them He was going to leave them. The Ascension. He promised that it was a good thing – the best thing! How could Jesus leaving be better?
Don’t go, Jesus!
But He did – and it was and is better. We have the Holy Spirit living in us and through us. As a Comforter, Guide, the constant living presence of God in us. The same power that raised Christ from the dead is actually living in us! A non-stop, God-with-us, God-in-us life.
It is because He ascended and is seated on His throne at the right hand of the Father, and He says that we are seated right there with Him, empowered by all that was accomplished that first Holy Week that we are celebrating.
Hope – the confident expectation of God’s best and the manifestation of His love and goodness in us, through us, and for us – is indeed ALIVE. The work of the cross is FINISHED. The tomb is empty, and the throne is fully and powerfully occupied. We are seated there with Him. And for every moment and every step we take, the same power that raised Him from the dead LIVES in us. It doesn’t and cannot get better than that!
Debby Berry is on a mission to be an encourager, walk in the grace she has received, and impart that same grace to everyone she encounters.