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Easter Tidings

Jesus' death and resurrection with scripture

So far this year, we have focused on prayer through fasting (Lent) and praying for Muslims during Ramadan (which ends tonight). Now we shift to Pentecost. Much like the Christmas season, Easter tidings extends beyond one day of celebration. Resurrection Sunday marks the first of fifty days which highlights a core belief in the Christian journey of faith: that we have been raised with Christ to new life. We rejoice that the grave is empty and delight that love has won because of Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross, resurrection from the dead and ascension to heaven. We allow the implications of that victory to sink into our lives on a deeper level to invite others into the absolute wonder of God’s purposeful plan of salvation.

What does it mean to be raised with Christ to new life? It means that spiritually we are “born again” putting to death a destructive life without God, embracing a new life submitted to the ways of God and joyfully anticipating the day of His return. This celebration is secure in spite humankind’s denials like Peter, doubts like Thomas, and betrayals like Judas. We share in the struggles of our own humanity to spread an eternal message of hope and love, trusting in a Lord who is alive and faithful to guide, heal, restore, nurture, lead and sanctify us. Following those frightful moments after the cross that scattered the followers of Jesus into their own personal battles of despair and grief, Jesus showed himself in glorious ways to hundreds of eyewitnesses to reveal his sacred mission. He continues to gloriously show himself to us today with countless believers giving testimony of lives changed and compelled to follow this risen King.

Equally so, our mission continues today. Before ascending to heaven to take his rightful place, Jesus commissioned his followers to go and make disciples of all nations. The church was birthed and this message of repentance for the removal of sins was to be proclaimed in His name beginning in Jerusalem to the ends of the earth. A message “clothed with power from on high” (Luke 24:49) as gifted by the Father and secured by Jesus promising to be with us to the end of the age.

After His ascension, the disciples worshipped God with joy, united in concerted prayer, eagerly awaited his Spirit and boldly proclaimed this Good News “everywhere with the Lord working with them and confirming the word by the signs that followed” (Mark 16:20). As believers today, we should be disciples that do the same, especially in this season leading up to Pentecost. Like praying for our Muslim neighbors during Ramadan, we should be believing for supernatural encounters of all people around us. Putting to death our self-preservation, embracing every relationship God has entrusted us with and joyfully anticipating encounters with hungry strangers we come across daily. We are the continuation of Christ’s presence here on earth awaiting the Maranatha cry of His glorious return of His Kingdom. In the meantime, Jesus is still loving and serving the world through his people to teach, heal and welcome the lost and brokenhearted into his family.

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