Sunday, April 20, 2014

A short message for Easter

I wasn't planning on posting a message today, but this has been on my mind.

Jesus' disciples are very interesting to me for a few reasons. First, they were Jesus' closest companions. Second, they were around Him all the time, so you would think they knew more about His teachings than anyone. Finally, scripture tells us they still messed up all the time. They were very human, just like you or me. They made mistakes, got scared, and felt hopeless even after everything He had already told them.

On the day we call Good Friday, the day was anything but good for the disciples. Their entire world was shattered. From their point of view--on that day--their lives were completely in shambles. Their teacher, leader, and mentor died. The King had passed, and yes, he would rise on Sunday, but that event had not happened yet. For the disciples, the authorities were coming after them, people despised them, and the one person they needed the most was not with them. For those days between Jesus' passing and resurrection, the disciples were just a bunch of scared, hopeless, and completely defeated individuals. They were trapped in the most desperate situation imaginable, with no foreseeable way out.

Then, their Lord rose again. Life was beautiful and hopeful once again. They would go out and preach the gospel to the world. Their lives, arguably, had more meaning than they could have ever believed was possible in their previous lives. This is why we celebrate Easter. Death, sin, and the devil himself have been defeated. Our lives are made new, glorious, and complete through Jesus Christ. This is also the reason the day of our Lord and Savior's death is called Good.

Now to the message: Jesus has risen, yet I think a lot of us forget that He is risen. Many of us--myself included--get so caught up in our own junk, we live our lives more like the disciples did during those dark days when their Savior was sitting in a grave. We live in fear, despair, and hopelessness, unable to see any foreseeable way out of our dire situations. Our minds go to a dark place for so long that we forget everything else. Everything we have learned, everything we have been told, everything we know to be the truth is forgotten. In those moments, hope is not gone, but hope is so far off of our radar that we can't see it an inch in front of our faces.

Darkness is no more. Fear is no more. Death and sin have been defeated. My prayer is that we all find our way out of the darkness and set our sights on the hope set before us. We know Jesus is risen. The disciples had to wait. We know Jesus saves, so there is always reason to have hope. In our weakness, He makes us strong. Do not lose sight of the things that are truly important in life. There will always be struggles, but you can overcome.

Believe me, I know. I spent a giant chunk of my life living in darkness, hating the world, and hating my life. Today, I am in a completely different place. Life is amazing; I believe all of our lives are. I pray you never get so lost in hopelessness that you don't get a chance to see the miracles just ahead. I pray you know your life has been made new. Today is another opportunity to start fresh. Above all, I pray you have complete peace, love, and joy in your life from this day forward. Be blessed, my friends, now and always, in Jesus' name I pray. Amen.

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