Depending on when you are reading this, we will either be just about to enter into Holy Week, amidst it, or perhaps the newsletter got to you late and you are reading this after the entire Easter celebration. Regardless, Holy Week is a deep and meaningful week. It is jam-packed with the feels of excitement with the Triumphal Entry all the way to the deep seated sorrow of the horrific death of our Lord.
It is really easy to avoid that rollercoaster of emotions. It is easy for us as people to enjoy the waving of palm branches and skip right over to the hiding of the eggs, filling Easter baskets, and casually showing up to Easter morning worship to a full sanctuary proclaiming that Jesus Christ is risen indeed.
But if we skip past the entire narrative of the Passion of Christ, we miss out on the understanding and realization of just how deeply we have betrayed Christ, betrayed God’s only Son. And if we do not understand the depth of our sin, the relief from the mercy, grace, and forgiveness that comes with the resurrection surely cannot be as effective. We must hear and feel the convictions of our sins. As Paul writes in his letter to the Romans, “…You also must consider yourselves dead to sin…” for that is the consequence of sin.
How is it that we betrayed Jesus? That we denied Him; crucified Him? You don’t have to look that far to answer the question. Constantly we do not treat our neighbors as we ought. “Truly, I say to you, as you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to me (Matt. 25:45).” How often do you shy away from a strong, firm confession of faith when asked about Jesus to avoid judgment or hate? The list can go on and on. Are you feeling guilty yet? If not, open up the 10 Commandments, google them if you must. Then merely think about the last day or two. This is why Christ died. Because we are a fallen humanity, incapable of coming anywhere close to saving itself – not as a society, and not even as individuals. To understand the importance of the resurrection and Easter Sunday, we must feel all these feelings.
But Paul’s verse in Romans 6 has a second half! “So you also must consider yourselves dead to sin…. and ALIVE TO GOD IN JESUS CHRIST.” While it is important to grasp the depth of our sin and death to truly understand the mercy and forgiveness of Christ, we are not meant to be left there! After the darkness of Good Friday, the Son (or sun) comes up 3 days later to shine brighter than ever before! When Jesus says “It is finished” on the cross, it is your sin, your death, that is finished. He has taken it all. So that when He comes again to new life, you may rise with Him in a resurrection like His. Forgiven and made new all in His glorious name. May this be the joy and peace that you revel in not only on Easter Sunday, but each and every day and time you hear His Word proclaimed to you. You are His child made holy in His sight, now and forevermore.
This is most certainly true.
Pastor Maxwell Whitehead