I wanted to give some thoughts on Easter as I am impressed by the work of God on the cross. The cross, a powerful symbol of Easter, pops into our minds when we think of Jesus and Christianity and along with the resurrection plays a central role in the Easter holiday.
I want to keep the cross in the front of our mind as we think of Easter, in this post. Let’s look at it like a four-way intersection. I am struck by two things that intersect at the cross. First, God’s grace meets our sin on the cross. God reaches down from heaven and grabs the breadth of mankind willing to accept this gift. As the two collided on the cross, God’s grace and mercy won the victory of the day and eternity. I would encourage you to read I Cor. 15 which gives a powerful rendition of the message of Christ resurrected, defeating the final foe, death. Without the resurrection, death (a result of sin) would have won the day. We would be left with a powerful historical figure who changed the way we think about convictions. Someone who is willing to die for what they believe has the intestinal fortitude and character that I would like to emulate, but Paul says a faith in that is futile and useless. If Jesus didn’t rise from the dead,
Not only did the resurrection bring victory over death and sin, but gives each of us who respond to God’s grace an opportunity for new life. Each receives a victory in their own life. A life turned around as we will see below in the story of a man turned around by the good news that Paul proclaims in this powerful chapter. We each get to experience the resurrection. We are immortal beings, and now our eternity can be with Jesus. Amazing just amazing when I think about that.
As I think of this change, I am reminded of a story that I used this afternoon during the 7-year anniversary of the Burmese church that meets Our Home Chapel’s building here in Bangkok. Adoniram Judson, the first missionary to Burma, spent years in the country, translating the Bible into Burmese, spending years in prison under extreme duress, and reaching many with the good news of Jesus. After many years in the center of the country, he traveled south into the jungles and found the Karen people. The first person that responded to the message of Jesus was a slave, a hardened murder with a worse reputation. The victory of the resurrection became evident in his life as he completely transformed. He turned totally around and became a witness to Jesus himself. Eventually, he became the first missionary from the Karen people planting many churches among other peoples. For more about Judson, visit this site.
After all this talk about resurrection, Paul concludes with a reminder and a phrase he uses many times in the New Testament. I love how he wraps up everything about resurrection and victory in chapter15: 58.
Therefore, my dear brothers, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain.
Stand firm, for our work is not in vain. Jesus stretched his arms out on the cross giving us a visual representation of his wide and expansive love. We can see yet another intersection here. The vertical relationship we have with God and the horizontal expansion of God’s kingdom as we proclaim the good news of this day. Let’s not be content that Christ won a victory for us, but take it to as many as we can.