He Is Risen!
My mom gave me a chocolate for Easter and it brought back a flood of Easter memories. Growing up we would get a chocolate bunny or treat from the local chocolate shop “Purdy’s”. Each year it would be a toss up – which would it be? White, milk, or dark chocolate? My sister and I would eat those chocolate bunnies slowly – limb by limb and I would happily plot out which part of the chocolate treat I would eat the next day. It almost sounds malicious doesn’t it? So yes, Easter memories -chocolate, Easter egg hunts, colorful pastels, and cheerful flowers all come to mind. Full disclosure - as horrible as it is, I’m ashamed to say, I can easily find myself being casual about the Easter story! I can be dull to the power of what Jesus gives us. This Easter season I’ve been trying to reflect a little on what strikes me about Jesus’ resurrection.
Ever since Adam and Eve disobeyed God, sin entered the world and death came as consequence for our sins. But as we know God couldn’t let it stop there, He had a redemption plan. He told the serpent (Genesis 3) - Jesus will bruise you on the head and you shall bruise him on the heel.” Even though death had entered the world God’s plan for life would prevail. Because I’m thinking a blow to the head sounds pretty bad, final even. 1 Corinthians 15 says that by Adam came death, by Jesus came resurrection and in Him we can be made alive. God is life, it’s just who He is. I love that about God. Jesus is the only one who can bring us life even when our sin leads to death.
Jesus’ resurrection is definitely one thing that sets our faith apart from other beliefs. We have a man, Jesus, who has risen from the dead to base our faith on! What other proof could be more substantial than a man who could not be held back from the grips of death. Whenever doubts arise there’s this to set things straight – Jesus was dead and after three days he rose again. That changes everything. No one else has done that ever.
Jesus’ resurrection is some serious proof of our faith but God is touching me with more than that. There’s this passage beating in my heart from Song of Songs, a beautiful and passionate love story. And note, interpreters often consider this book to be an allegory speaking of God’s love for the Jewish people or His church.
Put me like a seal over your heart,
Like a seal on your arm.
For love is as strong as death
Jealousy is as severe as Sheol
Its flashes are flames of fire
The very flame of God
Many waters cannot quench love
Nor will rivers overflow it
If a man were to give all the riches of His house for love,
It would be utterly despised.
1 John 4 tells us a few times that God is love, a love that is not defined by our understanding of what love is, He defines love, Jesus embodies love. I know that the passage in Song of Songs is poetically written, but I can’t help to make this connection that it could be God’s relentless, powerful love, conveyed by Jesus, the only one worthy, that could meet death and overcome it. Simply put - God’s love is stronger than death.
Not only is His love stronger than death but also it’s personal. I see this in how Jesus meets His followers and disciples after his resurrection. Despite confusion and unbelief of those closest to him He meets them where they’re at and reveals himself to them. He could have taken a totally different approach and proven His divinity and triumph to the rulers and scoffers and justified himself. Instead we see Jesus reveal Himself and bring hope to those who followed Him and journeyed with Him. In the midst of their tears and questions, He meets Mary Magdalene and the other women who had come to His grave. He lets Thomas see and touch His wounds, He comes to the disciples while they’re eating, walking, and working. What do you think…? Can you relate to how Jesus met them after He had risen?
Like the disciples walking along the road, I want my heart to be burning with love for Jesus and deep appreciation for the life that He gives us!
(image above): http://www.lovethispic.com/image/246321/he-is-not-here-for-he-is-risen,-just-as-he-said