Easter Sunday – The Resurrection – Spring Time

My dear sisters and brothers in Christ, I pray that you had a most sweet time of communion with the Lord this past month as the Easter celebrations took place around you. I pray that you were deeply moved by the passion of Christ, that you remembered with great thanksgiving the sacrifice made to ensure our eternity, and that you rejoiced with fervor in the celebration of His glorious resurrection!

As Christians, we embrace the resurrection as the premise of our faith, the basis of our Christianity. The resurrection shows that the sting of death is no longer and that life eternal with the Father is not only possible, but promised for those of us who believe. And the fact that we celebrate this holy day during a season of sprouting new life makes it even sweeter to imagine the new life we have because we believe! We can even have it while we are here on earth.

Alleluia! “Bar none, Easter is the single most important holy day of the Christian Church. It celebrates the resurrection of Jesus Christ, the central event in Christianity. To Christians, the resurrection backs up Jesus’ claim that he had the authority to die for the sins of the world and the power to come back to life again. It also gives hope to Christians that they too will experience a resurrected life in heaven.” [1] In today’s message I’d like to focus on several key scriptures to reinforce the promise of new life.

We have been waiting (seemingly) forever to see sunshine and spring here in Pittsburgh. We wait with great anticipation and we find ourselves, and many around us, impatient, irritable, pale, and tired, due to cold, dark, dreary days of winter. Well, hopefully, the winter is behind us and as the crocuses and daffodils peek out, we will be prompted to remember to peek into His Word for sprouts of hope, mercy, and grace!

1. The hope of a new beginning:
This “hope” is forever ours! Wow – hope and anticipation that our circumstances can get better even if we don’t see it right now. Hope, which springs eternal in our Christian hearts, is repeatedly found in His love letter to us. Regardless of how we lived before we knew Him, we are made new in Christ when we ask Him to be our Lord and Savior.

“For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.” (Jer 29:11 ESV)

“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here! (2 Cor 5:15 NIV)

“And he who was seated on the throne said, “Behold, I am making all things new.” Also he said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.” (Rev 21:5 ESV)

“ You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to be made new in the attitude of your minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.”(Eph 4:22 NIV)

And your ancient ruins shall be rebuilt; you shall raise up the foundations of many generations; you shall be called the repairer of the breach, the restorer of streets to dwell in. (Isaiah 58:12 NIV)

He is the One who is restoring us and making us new in Him. It’s His promise not only toward us but also for us. He is the One breathing hope into our soul.

2. The knowledge that our past does not define us, but His love for us does.
God doesn’t want us dwelling on our pasts. He wants us to learn from them but also realize our final destiny in Him is not defined by our pasts but who we are in Christ Jesus.

“Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland” (Isaiah 43:8-19 NIV
He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.” (Rev 21:4 ESV)

“Well, tell them this, ‘This is your Message from God, the Master. True, I sent you to the far country and scattered you through other lands. All the same, I’ve provided you a temporary sanctuary in the countries where you’ve gone. I will gather you back from those countries and lands where you’ve been scattered and give you back the land of Israel. You’ll come back and clean house, throw out all the rotten images and obscene idols. I’ll give you a new heart. I’ll put a new spirit in you. I’ll cut out your stone heart and replace it with a red-blooded, firm-muscled heart. Then you’ll obey my statutes and be careful to obey my commands. You’ll be my people! I’ll be your God! (Ezekiel 11:18-20 MSG)

God is the One who places hope within our heart. He is the One who changes our hearts to reflect His Son, Jesus.

3. Lastly, we are forgiven and His blood has covered our transgressions:
“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead…” (1 Peter 1:3 ESV)

“Cleanse me with hyssop, and I will be clean; wash me, and I will be whiter than snow (Isaiah 51:7)

“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him. (John 3:16-17 NIV)

“If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land.” (2 Chronicles 7:14 NIV)

Spring, flowers, sun, a new season, new beginnings of life are all symbols of what is lovely about the “Easter Time.” However, it is the life, death, and resurrection that provide us new life and Son – shine!

He died for you. Do you “get” that? He gave up His seat on the throne for 33 human years to be with us and show us how to live out this earthly life, to provide us mercy in this earthly life for those times we fall short and to cover us with grace so we can love and be merciful to those around us.

If you are one of those people affectionately known as a “Creaster,” and only celebrate the Lord our God on Christmas or Easter, I prayerfully ask you to consider His love and sacrifice each and every day of your life. He loves you enough to be with you, direct your paths, and pave the way for new beginnings.

Live today like you are blessed, because you are!

~Anna Marie Caulkins
[1] By Richard Wagner from Christianity For Dummies
[2] From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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