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What Easter Means for the Christian

Friday, April 3, 2015 @ 11:09 AM
What Easter Means for the Christian Ed Vitagliano AFA Executive Vice-President MORE

“And He who sits on the throne said, ‘Behold, I am making all things new.’ And He said, ‘Write, for these words are faithful and true.’” (Revelation 21:5, NASB) 

God through Jesus Christ is making all things new. This is a present tense process. It is not simply a reference to a future moment, but today, right now, people are being changed and created anew (2 Corinthians 5:17). 

For Christians, the celebration of Easter every year reminds us of the power of the cross and the resurrection to make things new. Condemnation yields forgiveness. Failure yields acceptance. Despair yields hope. Death yields life. 

The birth of Christ and His ministry, death, and resurrection opened a mighty gate for mankind and lowered a ladder to the earth, so that the magnificent grace and power and mercy of God would pour forth from heaven! 

So why do Christians rejoice at Easter? What does Easter mean for the Christian? 

If you were the very first sinners and were driven out of the garden of God, that garden will one day be restored because of the cross and the resurrection. It will exist safely within the walls of a strong and mighty city, white and glorious, within which is “a river of the water of life, clear as crystal,” and “on either side of the river [is] the tree of life” (Revelation 22:1-2). 

If you work for the Lord only one hour, you receive the same reward of eternal life as those who labor all day, because the reward is not granted based on the length of your service but on the grace and mercy of the One who pays the wages (Matthew 20:1-16). 

If you are a thief who hangs dying on a cross and has only mere hours of agonized existence remaining, you can look the Son of God in the eyes and say, “Jesus, remember me when you come in Your kingdom.” And He will say, “[T]oday you shall be with Me in Paradise” (Luke 23:42, 43). 

That’s what Easter means for the Christian. 

If you long ago left the Father and threw away your life in dissipation and wantonness, wasting both years and inheritance, the cross and resurrection mean you can return in your sorrow and grief and be met by a Father filled with joy. He will bring out the best robe and clothe you with it, and put a ring on your finger and sandals on your sore and tired feet. He will kill the fatted calf and throw a feast in your honor, because His child is safe and sound … “was dead and has come to life again; he was lost and has been found.” And in response the angels who are in the presence of God will rejoice! (Luke 15:10, 22-32) 

Perhaps you are a man born blind, or a woman with a fever that will not break, or a leper cast out from society, or a child who is deaf and dumb, or a man paralyzed his entire life, or a woman with an issue of blood that will not stop and all the skills of physicians cannot cure you. Then the cross and the resurrection mean that you can call out to Him, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!” (Mark 10:47) And He will. 

That’s what Easter means for the Christian. 

If you are held captive by dark and wicked demonic powers or if you are a man possessed by demons that cause you to cut yourself with rocks and flee sane and ordered human society, then the cross and resurrection mean you can come and bow before the Great King who breaks every chain and whose sword cuts through bars of iron and throws prison doors into a heap. You can plead for freedom, and He will grant it to you. 

Perhaps you are one of God’s children and you are a usurper who deceives his own father and steals his brother’s birthright, or a man of unlimited strength who nevertheless allows his pride to lead him to be captured by his enemies, or a king who was given victory after victory and still coveted his neighbor’s wife and committed adultery and then had the woman’s husband murdered to cover up his crime. Then the cross and the resurrection mean you can be forgiven and restored to proper standing, your garments once again made white and clean. 

Or if you are a persecutor of God’s people who has held the cloaks for those who have murdered the righteous, or if you are a fornicator or idolater or adulterer or homosexual or a thief or a reviler or a swindler, then the cross and the resurrection mean you can lay down your weapons and cease being an enemy of God. He will forgive you and cleanse you and adopt you, and you will become His child and live forever in safety with Him. 

If you are afraid of dying, or if you mourn because you are weak and fall over and over, or if you are in chains and feel as if you sit in bondage in a foreign land far away from the rejoicing of the people of God, then there is hope for you because of the cross and the resurrection. 

That’s what Easter means for the Christian. 

If you are a sinner, you are forgiven for the sake of Christ. If you are poor, you are given a kingdom full of riches for the sake of Christ. If you are despairing, you are given hope for the sake of Christ. If you are lonely, you are given the friendship of God Himself for the sake of Christ. If you are afraid and doubting, only believe and trust in Christ, and the Good and Great Shepherd will guard your soul and lead you home. 

For all who labored under the curse upon this world, laboring “in toil … all the days of your life. Both thorns and thistles” being all that your efforts seemed to produce, “by the sweat of your face” earning what little bread you could (Genesis 3:17, 18, 19), then the cross and resurrection are good news for you if you know Christ. Because one day “there will no longer be any curse” (Revelation 22:3). 

And we who have “washed [our] robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb” will be “before the throne of God” and will serve Him there, “and He who sits on the throne will spread His tabernacle over [us]. [We] will hunger no longer, nor thirst anymore; nor will the sun beat down on [us], nor any heat; for the Lamb in the center of the throne will be [our] shepherd, and will guide [us] to springs of the water of life; and God will wipe every tear from [our] eyes” (Revelation 7:14-17). 

That is what Easter means for the Christian. 

*The above text was adapted from a sermon. Some of the Scripture passages in this blog are modified from the way they originally appear in the New American Standard Bible in an effort to apply personal impact.

 

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