It is Thursday morning before Easter 2015. The scriptures teach that after Jesus was crucified that His body lay in the grave for three days and nights. During that time I am sure the disciples were filled with sadness, fear, doubts and many other powerful emotions. Emotions that for a few days that would challenge all that they believed about Jesus and the world in which they lived. Each year at this time I attempt to place myself in these early disciples lives. To walk in their shoes and wonder what I would have sensed and more importantly how I would have responded.
This years developments in our nation have made it somewhat easier to imagine. In our own state of Indiana we are witnessing the power of evil fighting the principles an the power of Christ. Our entire nation seems to be bent on casting Christ and His Words aside and replacing them with the ways and principles of man.The Lord's authority is being challenged in every arena and we actually hear the cry's from the religious and secular crowd choosing the Barabbas principles and practices of our generation over the Christ and His authoritative Word and Ways.
The changes in our nation over the last 5-10 years are dizzying to say the least. In the name of love and tolerance God's Holy standards and He Himself are being challenged with great force and those who choose to obey and follow Christ and His Words are being labeled as narrow unloving haters of mankind. Americas freedoms and liberties once given to provide for righteous and Biblical pursuits now seem to be reserved for desires and ways of the depraved hearts. Everywhere we look we see the evidence of a Christian Nation in decline and on its way to death.
Needles to say, I am burdened for my children and grandchildren as they face a more hostile world in their attempt to live holy and propagate the holy gospel. I am burdened for the church to remain faithful to God's Word ( The Holy Bible ), to study it, to interpret it correctly, to live it and to teach it. I am burdened for believers and followers of Christ to make deeper commitments and to be UNASHAMED of our Lord and His Word. Willing to defend the faith in the face of probable criticism, misunderstanding, ridicule, slander, attack, rejection, loss and even death if need be to stand tall and true to our Lord!
Yes, this Passion Week 2015 I think I can identify somewhat more with the early disciples who were being attacked on all sides. Their leader and Lord had been rejected by the hostile crowds secular, religious and non-interested. He was crucified, thrown into a grave and discarded. And for the disciples they found themselves battling their questions as to why, what was happening and was defeat, discouragement and possible death all they would know?
But what they experienced in three days changed everything. Christ arose physically from the dead. HE WAS ALIVE! What I need so desperately today is to know JESUS is ALIVE. What every believer needs to understand as never before is that JESUS IS ALIVE! As I said earlier I am concerned for many reasons about the conditions but perhaps the largest concern I have is that the church retreats and withdraws into her four walls. WE MUST UNITE like never before. Hey, we are God followers and we have always been in the minority, we need each other. WE MUST TEACH & TRAIN! We need to train our children like never before. They need to know the Lord as Savior. They need to be taught God's Word like never before. They need to be trained to live God's Word and to be faithful to their Lord. The church needs to pray more than she is. We MUST PRAY! Our churches need to pray for protection and power for propagating the gospel and proclaiming the truths of God. WE MUST DEDICATE, our churches must be more committed and willing to sacrifice if need be so that the gospel goes forth. Our NATIONS GREATEST NEED is true Born Again people whose hearts and minds have been changed via the new birth of God's Spirit.
Easter 2015 brings incredible obstacles to the followers of Christ yet it also brings incredible possibilities. Our LORD IS ALIVE and he did that by His authority. Matthew 28: 18 records when Jesus appeared to his disciples after His resurrection that one of the first things He made clear to these outnumbered and soon to be persecuted people was that He had all authority. " All power is given unto me in heaven and in the EARTH." In a short time the Lords church was instituted and hundreds of thousands of people were wonderfully saved in a few years. And I remind myself and you that it was in a very wicked world filled with much oppression for the true believer of Christ. In spite of opposition, oppression, and much suffering the church marched on in RESURRECTION POWER AND AUTHORITY! Seems it is our hour to do the same. May we choose FAITH IN CHRIST over FEAR OF MAN!
HE IS ALIVE AND HE GIVES US RESURRECTION POWER TO LIVE LIKE HIM AND FOR HIM!
THERE IS HOPE AND HOPE IS HERE!
Terry has been the Senior Pastor of Liberty for 30 years. He and his wife, Karen, have 4 children, 11 grandchildren, and 1 spoiled dog named Cooper.