This week, the week before Easter is a sacred, and significant one for those of us who know Jesus as Savior. I trust that you are spending time reflecting and resting in God's truth, the sacrifice that Jesus made for our redemption, and His victory on Easter Sunday! One of the songs that I have had on repeat for the past several years as a part my personal worship during the Easter season is "Why" by Nicole Nordeman. If you've never heard it, I'd encourage you to listen here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-RqoR6UqWnE.
One of the reasons I love this song is for the way it emphasizes the anguish of Jesus as He bore the wrath of God that we deserved. It describes so clearly the love of God for both His Son, and the people He sent His Son to redeem. Through the imagination of the songwriter, as Jesus in the words of the song is crying out to His Father on the cross, God replies, "My precious Son I hear them screaming, I'm watching the face of the enemy beaming. But soon I will clothe You in robes of My own. Jesus this hurts Me much more than You know. But this dark hour I must do nothing. Though I've heard Your unbearable cries. The power in Your blood destroys all of the lies. Soon You'll see past their unmerciful eyes. Look there below, see the child, trembling by her father's side. Now I can tell You why. She is why You must die."
While the songwriter clearly took some liberties in telling this story--the resonating truth that Jesus, fully God and fully man suffered and died for the sins of the world, should cause us to grieve that OUR sin caused His death. Scripture tells us that without the shedding of blood there is no redemption of sins. And though we are the ones who have rebelled against a holy God, Jesus was the one who bore the punishment for the sins of the world. In His suffering, we are able to have our sins forgiven, and a right relationship with God the Father restored. Because Jesus has redeemed a people for Himself that we can REJOICE on Easter weekend!
The celebration of Easter is found in the fact that the story does not end there! Death could not defeat Him! Another favorite song says it so well: "There in the ground His body lay, Light of the world by darkness slain; then bursting forth in glorious day, Up from the grave He rose again! And as He stands in victory, Sin's curse has lost it's grip on me; For I am His and He is mine--Bought with the precious blood of Christ!" (In Christ Alone, Keith Getty & Stuart Townsend).
This is what the weekend of Easter celebrates! Jesus not only died to pay the penalty for sin, but rose, conquering sin and death and making it possible for us to experience new life in Him. Jesus is NOT dead, but rose again and Philippians 2 says "Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, so at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord to the glory of God the Father." Jesus' death was not the end. We serve a God who is alive, and reigning and will come back again! And in the meantime we have fellowship with Him through His sacrifice, have been adopted as sons and daughters, and wait eagerly for His return!
What an amazing gift! What an amazing reason to celebrate! Happy Easter!