Sunday, April 4, 2010

Events of Holy Week Part 8--Resurrection Sunday

What can you say about Easter Sunday that hasn't already been is quite simply the event that has changed history...His event has had a greater impact upon this planet than the is the entire, sole foundation of the Christian faith...remove it, take it away, and the entire Christian World-view falls to the ground.

I can never quite "get" people who say, "Well, even if it's not true, living a Christian life is the best life one can live while on earth." Paul says, "That's crazy!"...well, he didn't REALLY say it like that...but he did say that if Christ be not raised than we,we Christians, we believers, we Christ-followers, of ALL people on the planet, are MOST to be PITIED!

Paul was an absolute realist about the resurrection...if it happened, then Jesus was who He said He was...God in the Flesh...the Messiah, the ONLY Savior of the World and the King of Kings and Lord of Lords and the One worthy of our whole, even more, the One who Commands that we love Him with all our heart, soul, mind and strength and live our lives for His glory and His honor alone! BUT...if the resurrection didn't occur, Jesus was a fraud and his disciples, worse.

But in fact, Christ HAS been raised from the dead. People have tried to disprove it for 2000 years.

Just a few thoughts here: why would a small group of people who were part of the most religious people on the planet (Jews), suddenly change their day of worship from Saturday to Sunday? These were a people that took God's Law as unchanging...yet all over the world Christian Churches (Christianity began among the Jews, remember) meet on Sunday...the only explanation...Jesus was raised on the First Day of the Week.

Secondly, we know that ALL the disciples met a martyr's death (well, except for John...he was boiled in oil and then exiled on the island of Patmos). Do you honestly think that these man (and many others, would die for something they KNEW to be a lie? There have been many attempts at foisting a lie upon others, and it always unravels (think of Watergate...there was every reason in the world for those involved to maintain the lie to protect themselves, the President, the nation and to stay out of jail...yet eventually they cracked and the lie was exposed and the truth came out!).

There is nothing like it in all of and women dying for something they knew to be a lie? The early church was persecuted and people were paraded to violent deaths proclaiming that Jesus, in fact, was raised from the dead.

Then there is the fact that no one ever produced the Body of Jesus. That's all that had to be done...just produce the Body...and to think the disciples stole it? The cowardly bunch? And again, if they did, they all died for a lie? It takes more "blind faith" to NOT believe the resurrection occurred!

There are so many reasons to believe that Easter is based on's no myth. It happened in time and space. There are scores of books that spend more time than I have...if you REALLY have questions...check them out.

The Resurrection of Christ from the dead is one of the most historically defensible events ever...but it's not just that is historically and truly true that is important...its what it means for us.

The resurrection of Christ from the dead means that God has accepted the finished work of Christ as being completely sufficient to remove the stain and guilt of our sin. It means that those who hope in Christ are adopted and sons and daughters of God, being given the same exact standing and status before the Holy God of the universe that Jesus Himself's what the Bible means when it says we are justified by grace through faith in the promises of God in the Gospel...justified...God treats us, declares us to be a justified people..."just-as-if-I'd" never sinned and "just-as-if-I'd" done everything He ever commanded with absolute perfection...the resurrection says that God accepts Christ's work as absolutely sufficient.

U2's song, Window in the Skies, is all about how God cut a hole, a window, in the skies, that His love might fall upon the planet through Christ...and that humanity might see into heaven...and eventually live there. The words of the song talk all about the resurrection of Christ and our response to it. Bono's response to such love and grace is to "rhapsodize," to sing. What is YOUR response?

Many of the words are so critical to Easter I have to include them as well as a video...

Bono begins by singing, “The shackles are undone, the bullet’s quit the gun.” He is singing of the amazing truth that through grace the shackles of slavery to sin and death have been undone. So have the shackles of self-condemnation and self-absorption!

"The bullet's quit the gun." The punishment at the Hand of a Just Judge has been taken away by a Substitute…thus, the bullets are taken away…for those in Christ, wrath is shooting blanks! We are led away from the firing squad to live throughout all eternity in complete safety and security before God!

Then, “the heat that’s in the sun (hear “Son”) will keep us when there’s none…when the coldness of the world and the freeze of a broken planet come upon us, there’s the Son filled with the warmth of His love!

“The Rule has been disproved.” The rule of law that says unless you are perfect, you will die, both physically and spiritually has been disproved...disarmed. The rule of law is more like the rule of karma—you get what you deserve. Grace disproves the rule of The Law which condemns us to judgment. Grace in Christ grants us what we don’t deserve...favor where we deserve rejection.

“The Stone, it has been moved.” On the first Easter, the Stone was rolled away, revealing that the Crucified Lord had been raised from the dead! So, as a result of the hope of the resurrection…

“The grave is now a groove.” The grave, for the believer, is simply a seemless groove into a God-filled eternity…no more crying, no more pain, no more sorrow, now more sin. Death has been defeated! No more need to fear death.

“All debts are removed.” The debt we owe an infinitely holy and just God because of our failure has been paid in full by the One who came to live the life we couldn’t live and die the death we couldn’t die…

“Oh can’t you see what LOVE has done?...Love left a window in the skies.” There is NOW a way we can look into the heavens and SEE our Creator! We can look in upon God and He looks down upon us in Christ with favor, delight and care!

"I've got no shame," Bono sings out, because the finished work of Christ on the cross has removed shame for the believer.

Bono has been struck by a Love that undoes shackles and overcomes "karma" through grace. Bono sings confidently of the Love that left an undeniable witness...a "stone" that has been removed, leaving nothing but an Empty Grave. Bono sings joyfully of the Love that removes all debts, brings hate to its knees and enables him to "rhapsodize," the entire reason Bono gives for his singing is as a response of love to the Love that made a Window in the Skies...oh, and one more thing...notice how many times Bono raises his hands in praise...might be a good thing for us to do today as well...

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