Sunday, April 24, 2011

Week #16 Romans 4:25 "He is Risen"

"Jesus Christ was delivered over to death for our sins and was raised to life for our justification."

Today is Easter Sunday, and I have heard the same quote from Christian author and humorist Barbara Johnson twice, once from the pulpit, and once on Facebook. She describes our Christian faith saying, "We are an Easter people living in a Good Friday world."

Wow. Powerful words, that.

The thought hit me like a ton of bricks. Yes, we are an Easter people. But why don't I realize this but once a year? Why do I need to see Easter lilies, Cadbury eggs and sing "Christ the LORD is Risen Today" in order to celebrate and proclaim that my LORD is risen?

Is He not risen everyday of my life? Do I not have eternal life because He has conquered death and, therefore, allowed me to share in this eternal life with Him?

Romans 4:25 tells us that Jesus died for our sins, and rose again to life for our justification. This is true. Jesus did die a horrific death on the cross because of my sins. And when He died, we believers died with Him. We died to the world and its philosophies. We died to ourselves and our own foolish ways.

But, three days later, He rose from the dead! He did this not because of my sins, or my foolishness. He rose by the power of God. It was that same power that turned those early disciples from fearful men hiding in the Upper Room into God's fearless witnesses.

It is God's power that can take a self-centered wimp like me and make me rise again into a modern woman who proclaims and celebrates His salvation, love and power while living in a violent, hopeless and godless world.

First, let me say that I am in no way minimizing the power or cost of the cross. Jesus' death is why we are able to live. We can never thank Him enough for what He did on the cross.

But, what if, instead of only concentrating on Christ's death, we celebrate His resurrection every day? What if, in addition to the crucifix, the most recognizable symbol of Christianity became an empty tomb?

The Apostle Paul in Romans 4 got it right. Our life of faith is about both the death AND the resurrection of Jesus. We weep over His death, because we weep over our sin and what it cost our LORD. But we celebrate His resurrection. It is what gives us life and gives us cause to rejoice.

I wish every Sunday was Easter. I love proclaiming His resurrection to others. I love telling the world that I don't serve a dead master. I serve a Living God. A God that has risen.

But, if I am an Easter person, I don't need the calendar to tell me when to proclaim He is risen. I can do it every day. After all, every day of my life, He is risen.

He is risen indeed!

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