We are entering the season in which we celebrate, not the death of Jesus, but the resurrection and the life of our Lord. This season, which actually happened almost 2000 years ago, started with a deception. God cannot be deceived, but Judas was deceived and believed that he was doing God a favor by pointing out Jesus to the Jewish leaders. He would show them his recognition of Jesus by a kiss. That which is supposed to greet and be a form of endearment. But I want you to know something, God’s plan is even bigger than the deception that Satan thought he was instituting. Jesus would be put to death, but not because of Satan’s schemes, but because of God’s mercy and His willingness to allow His own Son to pay the ultimate penalty, the sin offering for the world. This is what we celebrate. It may start with the death and the tomb, but it doesn’t end there. For you and me, it starts with the tomb, for in this world, we still live with a sin nature, that continually battles the Spirit. The Spirit is greater than the sin nature, but we often still choose the sin that we are so comfortable with, and fall into traps set before us. But there is a day, THAT DAY, that we will no longer be under the pressure of sin. We will no longer be under the influence of the world. If we will just stay strong in faith. If we will put our hope in Christ. Jesus told Peter, “Simon, Simon, look out! Satan has asked to sift you like wheat. But I have prayed for you that your faith may not fail. And you, when you have turned back, strengthen your brothers. Lord, he told Him, I’m ready to go with You both to prison and to death! I tell you Peter, He said, the rooster will not crow today until you deny three times that you know Me!” Luke 22: 31-34 Even though Peter would fail, Jesus looked not at his failure, but at his ultimate rise. You and I must stay the course, even when it seems it too hard, even when it seems to fearful. He will bring us back, with His strength, and His great mercy, and love for us. I know it seems like some of you have failed beyond redemption, but there is no failure that is beyond repair. The Lord knows what we can and cannot handle, and He knows our weaknesses and our strength, and in our weakness, when we cry out to Him, He will answer on that day, and bring us to a place of celebration. Just like on the day we now celebrate His life, we will celebrate our life with Him. So lift up your hands today with me, and praise the Maker of the universe, and the One who will continue, through love, to lead us home. So we praise Him and thank Him for such a great salvation, in which we no longer grieve death, but we celebrate life.
Heavenly Father, In You we have our hope, and in You we find our strength. I do pray today for all of those reading this, to remember the great mercy You have for us, even though it cost Your own Son, You gave it because of Your great love for us, and for that we are grateful, and for that we love You in return in the blessed name of our Lord and Savior – Jesus. Pastor Andy Anderson