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  • Writer's picturePastor Gary Lewis

- The Message You Need Most...

The Message You Need the Most: “He Has Risen”

By Rev. Gary Lewis

I was listening to a Christian musician describe his song as a “message.” It occurred to me that one of the reasons I listen to music is because each song contains within it a message. It’s not all about the vocals, the instrumentation – although I really like hearing the bass and the drums – it is about the MESSAGE it sends into my heart.

As we approach Easter Sunday on April 9, I am reminded again of the power of the message. What kind of message are we sending when we confess our faith in Jesus Christ? I had this idea about worship on Easter. I wanted to call every person in attendance to come forward to answer these questions in front of the congregation.

Do you believe the words of the Gospel that Jesus was crucified, died, buried and rose from the dead?

If so, do you believe that this has any bearing on your life? Or the life of your family? Or on the life of your community?

For example, the story is told of a man who sat looking dejected on a bench in a public park on a picture-perfect spring day. A friend comes alongside him and says, “Why are you looking this way? What are you thinking about?” The man replied, “My future!”

“Well,” said the friend, “why are you so sad?” “My past!” replied the man.

The message of Easter is for every one of us who have ever felt like that man in the park. The message of Easter is for everyone who has ever looked back on the past and realized we have made some mistakes.

· Easter is for the person who says to himself, “I haven’t amounted to anything.”

· Easter is for the family that has never found each other.

· Easter is for everyone whose life got off to a bad start or got sidetracked into one problem after another.

The message of Easter is “Christ has risen, rise up with him!”

Most of you reading this column would answer the first question “Yes.” As to the second question, some of you might say “No.” This is the defining question: Do you believe that Christ’s resurrection has any bearing on your life?

You see, many people believe that Jesus was the Son of God and did indeed rise from the dead. What happens, though, is we believe in Jesus so much we deny him. We admit that Christ was resurrected – after all he was chosen by God as a special person from the time of his birth. Yet, we focus on the fact that we are different from him. After all, Jesus was pure, and we are not!

Thus, we deny Jesus by saying that Easter was for him alone or people like him who are special to God and holy. While we would never call Jesus an imposter, we call his message an imposter because in our own twisted way of thinking we believe it does not apply to such people as us.

When we think we do not deserve resurrection and new life – that too much evil has been done in our life to ever be worth God’s saving us, then we only believe a part of Jesus’ resurrection. We are in effect saying he died just for himself and not for others like us.

When Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went to the tomb that first Easter morning, the Bible tells us they were awestruck at what they saw and heard. For they realized that what had happened did not just affect Jesus but had direct bearing on their own lives as well. They were witnesses to the greatest event ever for all humankind.

It takes more courage at times to believe that resurrection in this life and world is possible than it is to believe in new life after death. Truly, all authority in heaven and earth has been given to Jesus and what is impossible with human beings is possible with God. The proof of Christ’s resurrection is not an empty tomb. The proof of Christ’s resurrection is our living resurrection. The proof of Christ’s resurrection is our rising up with him.

You may feel it is too late for God to do anything for you. That it would take a miracle to straighten out your life, or your marriage, or your finances, or your family, or your grandkids. You may feel the world has gone to the trash heap and it would take a whole new world to change things.

The truth is this: all it takes is for you to put your trust in Jesus Christ. All it takes is for you to believe that God knows more about you than you do. To believe God knows what you need better than you do yourself. To realize that Christ has authority and power to perform a miracle if needed.

Sometimes, it is a miracle just to stand and to walk up and out of the darkness of our own lives into the warmth and light of God’s word.

What is the message you need the most? He has risen!

How do I know that Christ has risen and lives? Because I live and Christ lives within me. How do I know that all authority in heaven and earth is Christ’s? Because Jesus has done it, repeatedly, more in my life than I could ever hope to do without him.

The message of Easter is “Christ has risen, rise up with him!”

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