Easter is a wonderful celebration of life, victory and genuine love!! And it seems to me that there is often a little bit of a “let down” after Easter. – kind of like, “Whew! Jesus rose from the dead, glad that He conquered death, let’s move on.” This year, however, is a little different for me.
I’m reminded what Jesus told His disciples in John 16:7 that it was to their advantage for Jesus to go away so that the Helper could come & give us HELP. When Jesus was raised from the dead, He breathed on His followers in John 20:22 and said, “Receive the Holy Spirit!”
So here’s the overwhelmingly GREAT NEWS about Jesus raising from the dead – not only did Jesus conquer death but we now have the great Helper with us in our daily living! Let’s never minimize the importance of the Helper being with us!!
“Eat My flesh and drink My blood.” As we come into the Easter season (a little early for my Orthodox friends), we are often reminded of these words of Jesus at the Last Supper.
This statement about eating Jesus’ flesh and drinking His blood has raised many questions over the centuries:
Was Jesus anti-vegan or opposed to a vegetarian lifestyle?
Was this Jesus’ way of promoting a gluten-free lifestyle, emphasizing the consumption of meat & blood?
Was Jesus advocating a type of divine cannibalism?
As you read these questions & probably think of a few more, please don’t think that I’ve suddenly lost the plot & become obsessed with some new type of eating lifestyle. My goal with this post is to raise your awareness that we are coming into Holy Week, when we celebrate Jesus’ death & resurrection, around Jesus’ central words at the Last Supper, with His closest followers.
From my point of veiw, Jesus’ words about eating His flesh & drinking His blood show us in a really powerful way that Jesus love for us runs so deep that He invites us to not only revel in His strength & resurrection, but also to fellowship with Him in His suffering, pain & death – Phil 3:10. Let’s fully enjoy all of Who Jesus is during this Easter season!
These were my famous last words right before halftime during the recent Super Bowl. I’m a Denver Broncos fan and we were thoroughly and repeatedly thrashed during this game. Six days later, I’m still looking for some kind of silver lining from this game, but I’ve yet to find any redeeming value, other than being humbled (possibly humiliated depending on your point of view).
I’ve also been reading about Jesus’ arrest, scourging, crucifixion and death over the last few days. Maybe His disciples said the same thing, “it can’t get any worse”, when Jesus was betrayed by Judas in Gethsemane. Perhaps they thought the worst was over when Jesus was brought before Pilate. And when Jesus died on the cross, maybe they gave up all hope and felt entirely abandoned, betrayed, demoralized and forsaken. If you’re in a very bleak situation, remember that Jesus defied all natural convetions and rose from the dead. With God, nothing is impossible, including the Broncos ,)
As a quick reminder, Jesus told a parable once about a fig tree that hadn’t produced fruit for 2 years. The owner of the orchard wanted to chop down the tree but the gardener asked the owner to give him 1 more year to do some intense work to get this tree to be fruitful. Part of the gardeners plan was to throw lots of fertilizer (also known as crap) around the roots of the tree.
In my mind, none of like fertilizer or crap. It’s smelly, gross, repulsive & thoroughly distasteful. Nevertheless, what is most repulsive to us can have the highest powerful of redemption in the right hands. In God’s hand, fertilizer is the stuff of resurrection. So perhaps there is such a thing as holy crap ,)
Easter is a GREAT day & I love it for lots of reasons:
it reminds me that Spring is imminent
it always makes me appreciate what it means to have a fresh beginning
it’s a day that infuses HOPE into any dark spots in my life
it reminds me that literally NOTHING is impossible
it is the ULTIMATE victory – rolling into one giant success March Madness, World Cup Soccer, the Superbowl, World Cup Rugby, the World Series and even more, making me aware that my team wins for time unstoppable
it is a tangible expression of the power of genuine love
personal resurrection – no situation in my life is exempt from the resurrection power of God
These are a few reasons why I love Easter! In what ways is Easter meaningful to you???
I had an interesting experience in a conversation with a friend a few days ago as we were talking about various challenges in our lives. In the discussion, I opened up and shared some frustrations & struggles that have been on my heart, which may seem fairly harmless. After the conversation as I was walking to my car, I felt a bit of a gentle scolding in my heart from God. Some of His loving rebuke challenged me that sometimes I can be whiney: complaining about what isn’t going well, “venting” with my frustrations, etc. Even worse, I can get into a pity party & swallow the lie that I’m a loser. I think we can all fall into this trap from time to time.
I’m extremely confident that God was confronting & challenging me to change in His loving rebuke because the next morning, my Bible reading time just happened to be in Josh 1, where God commands Joshua 3 times to be strong & courageous. Furthermore, I also read Ps 103:1-5 where David beautifully magnifies the work of God in our individual lives.
So here are my take-aways (and perhaps they will encourage you as well):
just because the evil one serves me a plate of discouragement doesn’t mean that I automatically pick up a fork & start ingesting his poisonous delicacies masquerading as a chummy conversation;
be strong & courageous: may my ears & eyes be sensitive to hear & see God moving in my life (vertical focus) more than how I feel or what I see & hear on the horizontal plane;
Be strong & courageous is a command from God & it obliterates my self-pity dribble
Perhaps on this Resurrection Weekend it would be constructive to celebrate the death of the “loser lie”. Indeed, when they crucified Jesus, many thought He was one of the world’s biggest losers, but He came back & annhilated the “loser lie.” So my friend, let me invite you to join me in receiving His lluminating imperative to be strong & courageous to evaporate any discouragement, deceptions & lies in our lives 🙂