EASTER WON­DERS

Activated - - NEWS - By Peter Am­s­ter­dam, adapted

At this time of year, we cel­e­brate the very heart of our Chris­tian faith—the res­ur­rec­tion of Je­sus. It is the cen­tral theme of the gospel, the key com­po­nent which proves the va­lid­ity of ev­ery­thing Je­sus taught. The res­ur­rec­tion tells us that Je­sus is the Son of God; that as be­liev­ers we have sal­va­tion and for­give­ness, we are God’s chil­dren, and we’ll be with Him for eternity in heaven.

The apos­tle Paul said that if Je­sus hadn’t risen from the dead, then the mes­sage of Chris­tian­ity would be with­out foun­da­tion, and the faith of those who be­lieve would be worth­less.

1 But as the an­gel told the women who came to Je­sus’ tomb, He has risen from the dead, just as He said He would. This fact val­i­dates our be­lief sys­tem and our faith. Je­sus is alive! He lives! And be­cause He does, so do we.

A sense of re­newed awe and won­der

Je­sus rose from the grave, con­quer­ing death, and in do­ing so, freed us from be­ing bound only to this life. Though we presently live in a bro­ken world, we have the prom­ise of a per­fect world to come. While we ex­pe­ri­ence heart­break and dis­ap­point­ment to­day, our tears and fears will be for­ever wiped away in our life af­ter this one. While we some­times

2 strug­gle with con­fu­sion, sad­ness, fear, and un­cer­tainty, when we join Him and are in His pres­ence in heaven, we will ex­pe­ri­ence joy un­speak­able.

This is pos­si­ble be­cause God, who so deeply loves us and wants us to be in re­la­tion­ship with Him, made a plan by which we could be­come His chil­dren. This plan re­quired God en­ter­ing this world through a mirac­u­lous birth, and af­ter liv­ing among us, giv­ing His life for us on the cross—and then ris­ing from the dead. Through the com­ple­tion of His plan, we can en­ter into the re­la­tion­ship with Him that we were cre­ated for—both now and for­ever.

It is awe­some that God has made it pos­si­ble for us to have His pres­ence in our lives now and to dwell in His pres­ence eter­nally. The ap­pro­pri­ate re­sponse on our part is one of eter­nal grat­i­tude, praise, wor­ship, and ado­ra­tion, for we have been given the great­est gift pos­si­ble.

In­creased faith for life

If we think about, med­i­tate on, and ap­pre­ci­ate what Je­sus’

res­ur­rec­tion meant, what it achieved, and how it has changed our lives for­ever, we can gain in­creased faith for ev­ery area of our lives. Je­sus not only rose from the dead, but He’s in the busi­ness of help­ing us rise above the dead ends, dead­wood, and dead­weights in our lives.

Some­times we re­sign our­selves to sit­u­a­tions and cir­cum­stances be­cause we feel there’s no hope for change, that things are what they are and that we sim­ply have to en­dure them. How­ever, God is in the busi­ness of chang­ing things, of breath­ing new life into hearts, re­la­tion­ships, or sit­u­a­tions that seem or may be “dead.” Per­haps you’re in a sit­u­a­tion that seems out of your con­trol or as if all hope is gone, but no sit­u­a­tion is be­yond Je­sus’ con­trol; His power is un­lim­ited. When Je­sus was on earth, He reg­u­larly did the im­pos­si­ble. He mul­ti­plied the loaves and fishes, walked on wa­ter, healed the par­a­lyzed, and gave sight to the blind. Dead peo­ple were even raised to life.

Re­newed com­mit­ment to spread the Good News

Je­sus com­ing to earth, dy­ing on the cross for us, and His sub­se­quent res­ur­rec­tion for­ever changed the course of his­tory. Th­ese ac­tions al­lowed each of us the op­por­tu­nity to ac­cept Je­sus and be­come part of God’s fam­ily.

When Je­sus told His dis­ci­ples to “preach the good news to ev­ery­one in the world,” He showed that He

3 wants each man, woman, and child to have the op­por­tu­nity to be­come a part of His fam­ily, to be saved from their sins, and to ex­pe­ri­ence His for­give­ness and rec­on­cil­i­a­tion. Each per­son who has al­ready re­ceived His mar­velous gift, who knows what it is to live within God’s fam­ily, to be for­given for our sins, to have God’s Spirit within us, will nat­u­rally want to share this with oth­ers.

We who be­lieve in the res­ur­rec­tion, have been saved be­cause of the res­ur­rec­tion, and will ex­pe­ri­ence res­ur­rec­tion, should re­mind our­selves as we cel­e­brate the res­ur­rec­tion of God the Son that we are pro­claimers of the risen Christ to those who have not yet heard that “God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that who­ever be­lieves in him should not per­ish but have eter­nal life.”

4

A mar­velous and mighty para­dox has thus oc­curred, for the death which they thought to in­flict on Him as dis­honor and dis­grace has be­come the glo­ri­ous mon­u­ment to death’s de­feat.

—Athana­sius of Alexan­dria (296–373)

Peter Am­s­ter­dam and his wife, Maria Fon­taine, are di­rec­tors of the Fam­ily In­ter­na­tional, a Chris­tian com­mu­nity of faith.

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