I thought I knew what God was going to teach me this Easter. But as I should know by now, God always has a plan that reaches far beyond my own. God’s Word never ceases to prove itself alive to me, speaking into the heart of my secrets and dreams.
The same message has been kindling a flame in the depth of my soul. It has been speaking the same Word through crisp, Holy pages. I heard its Truth through guitar strings, on stage, behind the pulpit, through pink headphones, through blooming flowers and the return of spring. Christ is alive.
Of course. Shouldn’t I know this? I know God. I know the Bible. I have always known church. I have spent hours and hours gazing at the cross in the front left corner of church, of home. But have I been missing the impact that cross has outside of those four walls? Have I lost sight of the very sacrifice, the death, the love, the grace that it serves to remind me of?
When His body bled on the tree, my shame hung on His shoulders. Yet I still hide, burying the fear of what they will think. As His blood dripped onto Calvary, my striving, my plans, my broken pride bled with Him. Yet I still make my own ways, relying on my own false goodness. As He exhaled life’s last air with excruciating pain, my worries and pain were expelled by His dying breath. Yet I still cripple myself with the unknowns of my future. He took on my grief with the thorns in His crown. Yet, I still struggle to grasp joy. And when He died, when his soul left this mortal Earth, He took my sins with Him. My sins were conquered when He conquered death itself. Yet I still run towards the brokenness instead of clinging to His resurrection power.
If I truly believe He is alive, then why do I stumble into the sins He took to the grave? If I believe He is light, why do I feel the very darkness He extinguished? If He has made me alive, why am I living chained by death?
Church, He is alive. And by His grace and mercy, WE are alive.
I imagine Lazarus waking from the grave, having fully experienced his mortality. Perhaps He understood life more fully than we can imagine because He had been dead. Can you imagine being revived from the grave? I like to picture Lazarus coming out of His tomb, running and laughing, praising Jesus. He must have been completely overwhelmed with joy and gratitude to simply have air in his lungs and gaze upon the sun. (John 11: 1-44)
Just like Lazarus, we were dead in our sins. Jesus shares the same heartbreak when he looks at our lifeless sin. As those two powerful words depict God’s compassion on His people, His heart for our humanness that He knows so well: “Jesus wept” (John 11:35). But the same God that raised Lazarus from death, the same Christ that walked out of His own tomb, has resurrected us. (Ephesians 2:1-5)
We are a resurrected people. What if we lived each day in that joy?
I am learning what it means to be alive. What it means to not just breath, not just sing, not just dance, but to live each moment fully alive in Christ.
This weekend as we celebrate Easter, let us experience the fullness of what it means to be alive in Him. As we reflect on the cross, we will remember that when He died, our sinful bodies, our impermanence, did too. When his lifeless body awoke to another breath, we were reborn in His grace, we were made fully alive forever. May our celebration this Easter be a joy we experience all year long. May we be a people who live in resurrection power.