Sweet friend! I wish we could grab a cup of coffee and visit about Easter! How did you celebrate? What did you wear? What was your favorite thing? What songs did you sing at church? All of these questions are fun to discuss! I love traditions and family and friends! One of my favorite things about yesterday was watching my grown kids hide Easter eggs for the little kids!
As you know, Easter is so much more than traditions, food, and clothes. Easter is all about Jesus! Last week on the True Vine Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter accounts, I shared meaningful snapshots from Easter. Much like looking through old pictures to remember, celebrate, and learn from the past, we took our time journeying towards the cross. As you get back to your normal rhythms of life, be sure and take the message of Easter with you! Jesus is alive and that changes everything! Let's look back and remember so we can move forward with love, hope, and faith! All of these snapshots and several more are discussed on this weeks Truth on the Go Podcast!
Snapshot of Easter #1: Jesus entered Jerusalem riding on a donkey. The people gathered to welcome Him. The mouths that shouted ”Hosanna” soon shouted ”crucify.” This reminds us about our fickle nature. One day we are full of faith and the next day we are struggling to believe. May our eyes be on Jesus today and every day. May we follow on the good days and the hard days. My prayer as we enter Easter week, ”I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief.” (Mark 9:24)
Snapshot of Easter #2: It was just before Passover and Jesus was eating with His disciples. Jesus knew the time had come for Him to leave this world. The moments leading up to the cross were powerful in every way. Every word had meaning and every action carried eternal significance. It was in this moment that Jesus took off His outer clothing, wrapped a towel around His waist, and washed the feet of His disciples. What can we learn from this? A life of deep love for the Father compels us to love and serve others. That is exactly what Jesus did for us on the cross.
Snapshot of Easter #3: Jesus was in the garden of Gethsemane. I have read the account in Mark 14 more times than I can remember. The prayer grips my heart every single time. Jesus, fully God and fully man, pouring out His heart to the Father. Jesus was asking for the cup of God's wrath to be satisfied in any way other than the cross. Let this prayer sink into your soul. Like you and me, Jesus was wanting His circumstances to change. He poured out His heart to our Abba Father with trust, belief, love, and surrender. What can we learn from this snapshot? We can take our burdens to the Lord and honestly lay them before the Sovereignty and goodness of God. We can trust God to work in ways that always plot our redemption. When our circumstances don't change, we can know a greater glory is on the way. Jesus knew everything, but we do not. Jesus went to the cross and His death, burial, and resurrection provided our eternal home. Hang on to this truth: a temporary ”no” can lead to an eternal ”yes.” Jesus shows us how to deal with overwhelmingly hard times. In the midst of hard times, we can say with confidence, ”Yet, not what I will, but what you will be done.” God is love and we can always trust Him.
Snapshot of Easter #4: There are moments in the crucifixion story that take my breath away. The intensity of the trial is one of them. I can't imagine what it was like for the disciples to watch it unfold. My heart beats a little faster when I think about the chaotic scene. I wonder if the other prisoners knew what was going on? I wonder if they knew an innocent man was about to be sentenced to death on a cross? It was customary to release one prisoner at the time of the festival. Pilate presented two choices: a man named Barabbas and Jesus. You know who the crowd decided to release. What we don't know is if Barabbas ever realized that he was the first person who (temporarily) benefited from the substitutionary death of Jesus. Every step towards the cross paints a picture of God's bigger story. We are sinful and guilty. God is perfect and holy. We can't save ourselves. God, through Jesus, stepped in and saved us. I have no idea the rest of Barabbas’ story. Thankfully, because of the cross, we can know our stories. ”For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because they have not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son.” John 3:16-18
Snapshot of Easter #5: The heart of a mom and the love of a Son. There are no words! Every detail of the cross teaches the truth the angel Gabriel proclaimed to Mary when she was called to give birth to the King. ”Nothing is impossible with God.” Heaven is the ultimate fulfillment of that proclamation. The journey was hard in every way. There are no words to describe the anguish the women experienced on that day or the love Jesus expressed as He tended to temporary and eternal needs. Today I am singing, ”Oh the wonderful Cross, oh the wonderful Cross. Bids me come and die and find that I may truly live.
Snapshot of Easter #6: Jesus gave His life on the cross. God proved His love through the cross. My life was forever changed by the cross. Good Friday was hard in every way. Death. Sin. Defeat. Betrayal. Lies. Compromise. Today, let’s ask God to help us understand the cost of sin. Sin is serious, but Praise God, sin is never greater than our God and His redeeming love. The cross. We should spend all of our days proclaiming the power of it, the love in it, and the promise through it.
Snapshot of Easter #7: Scripture tells us Joseph was a prominent Jewish leader who secretly followed Jesus. With the help of Nicodemus, Joseph prepared the body of Jesus for burial and placed it in the tomb. All was quiet except for the hearts of Jesus’ followers. Fear, guilt, regret, confusion, anger... I am sure the list of feelings was long. Joseph and his story remind us that as long as we have breath we have the chance to follow Jesus and do the right thing. Joseph had been afraid and hidden his devotion. To him, asking for the body might have seemed like “too little too late.” But, Sunday was coming! Today my heart is encouraged by Joseph and his “last minute” attempt to care for the Lord. Two thousand years later, we know there was nothing last minute about it. God was working and He was using Joseph to prepare the way. May we be bold in our faith, but when we are not, may we remember that God is bigger than our fears and mistakes. We can stand strong because Sunday is coming!
Snapshot of Easter #8: The reality of Mary Magdalene’s life seemed beyond hope. She was possessed by seven demons. All of that changed the moment she had an encounter with Jesus. I wonder what it was like when the demons left her body? Finally able to breathe, Mary gave her life to supporting and following Jesus. She never left His side. You see, when you are delivered from much, you are able to love with abandon. Full of grief, Mary went to the tomb. She couldn't find the body of her Savior. She turned to the gardener for help. Mary didn't know Who she was talking to until Jesus called her name. Grief turned to joy. Despair turned to hope. Darkness turned to light. The same thing happens for you and me the moment Jesus calls our name. We can respond by placing our faith in His death, burial, and resurrection from the grave. We will finally be able to breathe! We will be delivered from much in order to love with abandon. That, my friend, is why Jesus came. He is alive! Run to Him today