Easter is just a few days away. The power and magnitude of the resurrection is difficult to fully comprehend. The price Jesus paid is immense, His love is extravagant and the gift of eternal life is immeasurable.
6 And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, 7 in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus. 8 For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— 9 not by works, so that no one can boast.
It’s challenging to grasp the depth of theology contained within the authority of the resurrection. God sacrificed His only Son that we could have eternal life. Jesus obeyed the Father that we might live! His death was an expression of love and the resurrection an expression of power. We receive the benefit of both—eternally.
The only way I can wrap my mind around this grand truth is to make it personal.
It was Easter Sunday 1973 when I first heard the gospel in the form of an invitation. Skyline Church, now located in La Mesa, Calif., (near San Diego) met outdoors in a local high school football stadium for Easter that year. I was seated in the bleachers, with probably over a thousand others that morning. The people were wonderful, the message was great—a clear presentation of the gospel by Pastor Orval Butcher, and the invitation was clear. But I just sat there, something was stirring within me, but I didn’t move.
I sat and stared at the traditional wooden backdrop that stood behind the choir. On it they had painted a blue sky and lilies, and the words HE IS RISEN! were large and bold. Three simple words—“He is risen”—had completely captured me. In that moment, the Holy Spirit softly whispered to me…“It’s true.” [He is risen] That was it! I knew then the message was true! But I never got up, I never moved from my seat in the bleachers. I did not go forward.
It wasn’t until the next day (I was a senior in that very same high school), did I tell a friend what happened. I asked if I had to wait till the next Easter to be saved. My friend smiled kindly and said no. We prayed right then and I’ve lived in the truth of knowing my salvation ever since.
Three things that may be helpful to you from my story.
God used a bunch of plywood, paint and traditional art to capture one high school student! Don’t misunderstand, the music was great, the message was clear and the people were welcoming. But God chose three printed words! Consider your art, words, printed materials and whole experience carefully.
2. The power of the Holy Spirit makes all the difference.
We all agree that your Easter services need to be top notch. But ultimately it doesn’t matter how good “you” are compared to the power of God and His favor upon your services. The service at Skyline was wonderful. But in one second God whispered two words to me…“It’s true!” That settled it!
3. The impact of human interaction with divine truth is how God set up church from the beginning.
I received a personal invitation to attend the Easter service from a friend. Another friend prayed with me the next day. It was the combination of two people and God’s kindness that resulted in my salvation. God has set up this human-divine partnership and it’s amazing! It’s not too late to encourage your church one more time to invite and pray!
I would never have guessed, not in a million years, that I one day, years later, would be a pastor in that very same church. #grateful
5 The angel said to the women, “Do not be afraid, for I know that you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified. 6 He is not here; he has risen, just as he said. Come and see the place where he lay. 7 Then go quickly and tell his disciples: ‘He has risen from the dead and is going ahead of you into Galilee.