The glaring reality of perfect love perfectly revealed – that’s Easter. So much of what passes as prayer in a world increasingly absorbed with sentiment, self, and satisfaction is rendered with a blinding disregard for God’s very nature. Long lists of supplications dutifully mourned in painstaking detail by passionately compulsive spiritual beggars may help to clear hearts of intramural duty, but they do little to reveal or respond to the heartbeat of God. The simple truth is that God is not just a God that loves – He IS love. His very nature precludes being surprised by the panic of limited man’s panicked revelations. Before we have the chance to have the wind knocked out of us by some unexpected turn of events, the omnipresent God has already been to the other end of that chain of events and conspired to see us through. Much of what drew the throngs to Jesus was the fact that He stood ramrod straight and unwaveringly sure in the maelstrom. He was different, and that difference sparked natural curiosity and opened doors. Now glance with me at the stark difference between quivering, simpering, desperate supplicants and the heroically enabled, situation altering, bondage breaking Savior. If we are the Body of Christ – HIS body – should we not resemble Him instead of slandering His promise with our uncertainty? Easter is the opportunity for the Church to show a living diorama of Christ’s life, purpose, and promise for the world to see as we reflect what He did on our behalf. His choice of obedience over primal dread in Gethsemane, His compassionate correction of Peter’s assault on Malchus’ ear, His refusal to break free of what to Him must have seemed like gossamer threads holding him to that cruel cross, and the willing surrender of His spirit into the hands of the Father to finish His earthly course all reflect unswerving commitment to fulfill His purpose on our behalf. Perhaps His example is almost as important as His sacrifice? Obviously His manner of death paid the unfathomable price our sin demanded, but His manner of living should also shape the victorious ethos our deliverance demands. Imagine the power of the church’s voice in today’s society if we could be seen standing in the storm rather and cowering in fear of it. Easter provides the template of history’s most rugged individual, and begs that we His followers mimic His intrepidity. An old chorus pines ‘to be like Jesus, that’s all I ask, to be like Him’ – of course we can only see through a glass darkly on this side of our consummation, but the silhouette on the other side of that foggy pane is of a strong, determined, unwavering servant pressing toward the mark of His own ‘calling’. An authentic Christian witness looks a lot more like that, and a lot less like the shaky, tear-streaked mosh pits of desperate uncertainty that disguise lack of obedience and unrequited faith. No other narrative in history displays the possibilities that are ours if we only believe – only obey the command to ‘be bold and be strong, for the Lord our God is with us.’ Because He lives, we can indeed take a new grip when our hands are tired, and we can stand firm when our legs are shaky, and we can still mark out that straight, smooth path for our feet (Hebrews 12:12). That’s exactly what Jesus did as he hoisted that rough-hewn patibulum onto His blood-spattered shoulders and muscled His way through the most intense personal humiliation imaginable at the hands of the very ones He had a hand in creating. Jesus had His eyes on His purpose, and nothing – NOTHING – would deter Him. As we remember the ultimate end of His obedience – the complete dismantling of the last enemy to be destroyed – let us also remember that our obedience also has some remarkable repercussions for those that see us hoisting our own ‘crosses’ onto our shoulders and soldiering through by faith.
Wriiten by: Pastor Ed Brewer of www.bountyland.org