Tag Archives: Grace

What is Easter?


Easter weekend is more than just remembering something that happened in the past. It has to do with your own life, death, and redemption. It has to do with who you are, what you feel inside, how you know things aren’t right in yourself, or in the world — but it is a celebration of He who defeated death for us, and in His life lie all the answers to every eternal question, longing, and yearning we feel – we, who are still marred by sin. We, who know the answers and solutions to life can’t come from within us. We’ve tried that before and it always fails. We are excited to look outside ourselves for real satisfaction, joy, and meaning. In His resurrection we get to celebrate in the glory of another – in His glory which he has given to us!

If you are a Christian, don’t let Easter or Christmas be like every other holiday we have – bunnies and Santas are nice but these times of year celebrate the real, personal, eternal truths of who Jesus is, what He’s done, and what it all actually means. These are the most important, impactful things out there that we, our kids, and our world need. If you’re not into holidays period, that is fine. And really every Sunday should be Easter Sunday for us. But as Moses mentioned when instructing the Israelites about the Passover memorial day, “When your children say to you, ‘What do you mean by this service?’ You shall say…”, I think we ought to be prepared for questions from kids about our holidays. You know, kids – the ones that ask a million questions?

Christmas is alright, but I absolutely love Easter. To me, it represents hope. It’s a remembrance of that day when the Son of Man, Jesus of Nazareth, defeated death because he just did not deserve it. He had lived in the world we all know and dread where you get what you pay for, where you are held to a standard of 100% perfection. It’s the world where God requires you to be perfect, where Jesus says to be perfect, and if you are not – you die. Jesus lived in this same world but he didn’t do a thing wrong. Every thing he did was righteous. By his life, he broke through Adam’s curse, and death just could not hold him down. He didn’t need to trust in a bloody lamb which would represent the future perfect sacrifice for God’s people – he was the very thing those lambs, Passover meals, prophets, priests, and kings all represented – Himself! His active obedience proved himself righteous before God’s law, which no man had ever done, before or since.

The Easter weekend is also a remembrance of the Son of God who bridged the gap between God and man. God’s only son, sent by God the Father to die in order to reconcile us to the Father. God the Son who took the form of a man knowing he was coming here to suffer and die, all to restore our relationship with the Father. It reminds me of the Greeks and their stories of gods coming down to earth and interacting with humanity. Only, this actually happened.

On that glorious Sunday, heaven and earth collided, and the spiritual met the physical. I say that because, even though physical death is something we see that is rooted in the Fall and our sin problem, it is such a common spiritual reality that we see it as normal when someone dies. It is so common that people get lulled into thinking that physical life and death is all there is. However, when Jesus physically rose from the dead, it was so abnormal that it really proved to people the spiritual realities of what was going on. Maybe he really was blameless? Maybe he really was God? We all feel broken, and we all die, so maybe he who defeated death wasn’t broken and messed up like us? Maybe what he said was true? Maybe there is a kingdom of God?

His resurrection also proved God’s love for us physically. It (He) was something you could touch, and see with your eyes. Even people who wrote Jesus and his followers off as nuts, or as believers in fairy tales couldn’t deny the physical man standing before them. All God’s promises and assurances in the Old Testament were validated physically – in front of real people’s eyes. All those years of hoping and praying, signs and shadows (with many seeing it as hocus pocus, pie in the sky wishful thinking); now it was here, and you couldn’t deny it.

“A man who was dead is now alive, his followers are healing people, and we’re beginning to see how the ancient Scriptures point to Him as the Messiah!” That is how I imagine those early Christians reacting.

Just as people today remember where they were when they heard Elvis was dead, JFK was dead, saw the man on the moon, or saw the events of 9/11, those people near Jerusalem who saw Jesus after he had died forever marked their lives by it, as did their kids and grandkids. Even those who didn’t believe all the meaning behind it still acknowledged what had happened. It was such a big deal that the whole world still marks time by His life today, 2,000 years later.

And it was such a big deal, that Christians still look to Jesus’ death and resurrection to make us right before God. To give us peace with Him. To quench that burning desire in our souls for things to just be right. Jesus’ work is the very grace we need, since our own works just don’t do the job. God knows that – that’s why he gave us His Son! It really is an amazing thing.

“For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.”

“Death is swallowed up in victory. O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting?” (It ain’t there!!!)

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Just When You Think That All Is Lost – poem


Just when you think that all is lost,
God’s grace prevails again.
He intervenes despite the cost,
All for your soul to win.
For you for whom He gave His Son
To suffer in your place.
For you with whom He fought and won
To lift your lowly face.
And now He shows you everything
You thought you may have missed.
Good things prevail despite the pain,
The pain is but a mist.
The pain we feel was met before,
It is no new found thing.
This pain our silent Savior bore
That we may shout and sing.
That we, the ones who caused it all,
The ones who are to blame!
That we, the wretched of the fall
Would know no sin or shame!
What kind of God would do all this?
What kind of God is He?
Why leave a place of perfect bliss
To die upon a tree?
He is a God who cares for us,
Who left his throne above.
He is a God of selflessness,
He is a God of love!

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Psalm 60 – For Vain Is The Salvation of Man

Psalm 60: 6-12

God has spoken in his holiness:

“With exultation I will divide up Shechem and portion out the Vale of Succoth.Gilead is mine; Manasseh is mine; Ephraim is my helmet; Judah is my scepter.Moab is my washbasin; upon Edom I cast my shoe; over Philistia I shout in triumph.”

Who will bring me to the fortified city?
Who will lead me to Edom?
Have you not rejected us, O God?
You do not go forth, O God, with our armies.
Oh, grant us help against the foe,
for vain is the salvation of man!
With God we shall do valiantly;
it is he who will tread down our foes.

It’s interesting that David could write this 3,000 years ago and that it meant a very real thing to him then, while it also speaks about Christ and the reality we find ourselves in today. David was saying that he needed God to work, because their armies could not do it. He was saying “If we try to save ourselves, it won’t work. We can’t save ourselves, but God, you can!” God had promised the land, and victory, but David was not seeing it. What David did was appeal to God’s promises, and then came away confident in what God would do.

I think it’s neat, also, that we can see something else going on here – something about spiritual salvation which was fulfilled in Jesus Christ.  And so in this way, he was writing about Christ.  Jesus said “For the gate is wide and the way is easy that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many.”  I think the wide gate and easy way was the “salvation of man” mentioned by David in Psalm 60. David knew that the salvation of man did not work – it is only vanity, and leads to destruction. That is why he called out for God to work. He knew that his army’s best efforts would not win anything unless God was the one who did it.

Jesus continues, “For the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few.”  This makes you wonder what that gate is, and what that way is. And we know Jesus also said “I AM the gate” and “I AM the way.” Jesus made a clear distinction between the way of the world – the broad, easy way that many will use and find destruction in, and the way of God – that narrow way which leads to life, which is Jesus himself.  In effect He’s saying that the “salvation of man” is vain. It is the wide gate. The easy way. But He is the salvation of God.

Fast forward 2000 years. I think it’s pretty easy to see, today, the truth of what David wrote. “Vain is the salvation of man.” What is the salvation of man in 2013 America? What do we think brings life? What is our way of salvation?  What is the wide gate?  What do we hope in apart from God?  Self, success, pleasure, power, money, sex and fame.  And when people get all this and think it will fulfill them, make them happy, and give them peace – does it?  No.  They are still empty inside after all that stuff passes right through the God shaped hole in their heart.  That hole so large only God can fill it.

Even Christians, to whom the salvation of God has been revealed, we still struggle with rejecting the salvation of man. It’s in front of our faces all the time, and the sin inside us still is drawn to it at times. When we sin we stop trusting God and take a grasp at the salvation of man, thinking it will satisfy.  We get tired of not being able to walk by sight and grasp at things we can see, but every time we do, they don’t fulfill.  We must come again to the place of faith in God and realize His way is the way of life.  We must remember what God has promised, and place our confidence in Him.  And what is that, if not an act of God’s grace itself?  For we know we could never have that faith if left to ourselves.  Left up to us, not only would we not have had faith in the first place, but at our first abandon into sin, we would never return. But He always brings us back. He always goes out to find his lost sheep, and we know his voice. He loves us beyond what we can understand.

So we, like David, know that God must save or no saving will happen.  We know that the way of the world is not the true Way.  We know it ends in destruction.  We know, but we often forget!  We know, but need help to remember. For we know we can’t do it ourselves, for “vain is the salvation of man.”

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