“I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die; and whoever lives by believing in me will never die. Do you believe this?”
For many in the Church, this a solemn week—a Holy Week—as we mark the days leading up to the history-altering sacrifice Jesus made for humanity on the cross.
We are also joyously preparing to celebrate the newness of life that Christ’s resurrection provided when He rose from the grave three days later!
“He has risen, just as He said.”
What a wonderful way to celebrate the first days of spring!
This past Sunday was not only Palm Sunday, but also the Spring Equinox here in the Northern Hemisphere. The change of season is official.
What once was dead is now coming life.
And that same power is at work in you.
The resurrection life that makes all things new is alive in every believer as a result of the cross…when God “took our sin-dead lives and made us alive in Christ” (Ephesians 2:1 MSG).
This is what compelled Paul to say, “It is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me” (Galatians 2:20 NLT).
At this time of year we are reminded about our true identity in Christ.
It is a time to reconnect with God’s original intent for our lives and recall who He has created us to become—a people set apart and set free from the slavery of sin and the bondage of death.
Passover, what we will celebrate this week as Good Friday, is a time to remember that it is only because of the blood of the Lamb—the shedding of Christ’s blood on the cross—that we are cleansed from all unrighteousness.
Feast days and celebrations have always been significant in the life of God’s people.
On the original Passover, God told the children of Israel still living in Egypt to smear the blood of a sacrificial lamb across the doorposts of their homes and said, “When I see the blood, I will pass over you” (Exodus 12:13 NLT).
So every Passover, the same Passover Christ celebrated with His disciples before going to the cross, we remember that it is the blood of the Lamb that brings life, peace, and hope.
Peter said having “been cleansed by the blood of Jesus Christ. May God give you more and more grace and peace” (1 Peter 1:2 NLT)—and then added: “For you know that it was not with perishable things such as silver or gold that you were redeemed from the empty way of life handed down to . . . but with the precious blood of Christ, a lamb without blemish or defect” (1 Peter 1:18-19 NIV).
Only the blood of Jesus has the power to cleanse and restore peace to your soul.
Each time we partake of the Lord’s Supper “in remembrance of Him,” we are reminded that this resurrection power works in us.
Paul wrote about the newness of life that this meant to each person willing to smear Christ’s blood across the doorposts of their heart:
“Now we look inside, and what we see is that anyone united with the Messiah gets a fresh start, is created new. The old life is gone; a new life burgeons! Look at it! . . . God put the world square with himself through the Messiah, giving the world a fresh start” (2 Corinthians 5:17 MSG).
Simply put: “This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun!” (NLT).
Now that’s something to celebrate!
You are a new person in Christ with massively unlimited potential as you grow in the knowledge of Him.
This is why “feast days” and celebrations have always been significant in the life of God’s people; times of remembrance help us to grow in the knowledge Him.
In ancient Israel, at the end and beginning of any important season, the people were commanded to stop and celebrate—or rather commemorate and give glory to the One who brings the blessing and “makes all things new”—year after year, season after season.
Periodically we must stop to remember in Whose image we are created.
God understood the necessity for His people to establish regular intervals to stop and reconnect—to recall their true identity in relation to their Heavenly Father and the Creator of all things good and perfect.
This Easter Season, remember to pause for a moment; stop to give thanks and glorify all that God has done! Stir up your soul to bless the Lord and to “forget not all His benefits” (Psalm 103:2).
Be reminded of whom God created you to be—in Whose image you have been recreated and all that could mean to a hurting world if you truly embraced it.
Imagine what God’s nature working through you could do to heal a world made corrupt by evil desires.
This is what the Passover celebration is all about.
It is a time of remembering and reconnecting with your authentic, divine self—your resurrected, redeemed, recreated self.
Peter summed it up this way: “He has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature” (2 Peter 1:3-4 NIV).
As a new creation in Christ, you have been endowed with the same potential—no, even greater potential—to change the world as Jesus did when He walked the earth two thousand and sixteen years ago.
“I tell you the truth, anyone who believes in me will do the same works I have done, and even greater works, because I am going to be with the Father.”
John 14:12 NLT
Think of what Mother Theresa, William & Catherine Booth, John Wesley, Charles Finney, Oral Roberts, and Billy Graham did to change the world they lived in!
And what about Martin Luther King Jr., Mahatma Gandhi, Nelson Mandela, and Golda Meir—the list goes on and on of people—people who were but one singular person moved by something greater than themselves to bring transformation and healing to bear on the world around them.
Imagine what you could do in the knowledge of God!
Press into the potential inherent in the life of your own soul—for out of it flow the springs of life. (See Proverbs 4:23.)
Study the life of David.
David pressed into the Spirit of God and then embraced it and made it his own. He had a “heart after God” and a soul that made “its boast in the Lord” (Psalm 34:2)—David knew full well that the Lord “redeems the soul of His servants” (Psalm 34:22)—he understood and esteemed the value of his own soul and when all else around him seemed to be falling apart, he was able to say “all is well with my soul.”
David never hesitated to cry out to God, “My soul longs for your salvation; I hope in your word” (Psalm 119:81 ESV), or to continuously pray, “Invigorate my soul so I can praise you well, use your decrees to put iron in my soul” (Psalm 119:169 MSG).
Don’t neglect the life of your soul!
This week, as we acknowledge the life and death and resurrection of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ—and just as Jesus told His disciples toward the end of His earthly ministry—I encourage you to take full possession of your souls (see Luke 21:19)…
…for you are only at the beginning of walking in the newness of life God has prepared for you!
“Just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glorious power of the Father, now we also may live new lives—now that we’re no longer shackled to that domineering mate of sin . . . we’re free to live a new life in the freedom of God!”
Romans 6:4 NLT; 7:6 MSG