by Tamela Hancock Murray
This time of year, Christians contemplate the marvel that is the resurrection of Christ. Such an event seems magical, though God is never a genie, ready to grant our every wish. Even Jesus was not granted His plea in the Garden of Gethsemane as He asked the Father to take the cup of death from Him. But was there any other way? No, there was not. How else could have the miracle of the resurrection have taken place? How else would we Christians today be washed in His blood? As he chastened the disciples for their inability to stay awake even an hour, I think of how short I fall in my efforts to follow Him.
What Jesus did for us was nothing magical. Love is not magical, but the emotions we feel knowing we are loved are, well, magical. Little children can nibble chocolate bunnies to mark the awesome day that is Easter and then, as they mature, come to the realization and understanding about Jesus’ resurrection, and what He really means to us.
Even as an adult, I am struck by the sense that I may not be able to comprehend the infinite nature of His love. My human mind may not be capable. My new dress for Easter (a lacy lavender one this year) is a tradition of rebirth, merely a faint symbol of the day’s true meaning. I can only pray that as I journey through another year that I will live each day with the spirit of wonder at the miracle of Easter morning.
You had me at lacy lavender. 🙂 Happy Easter, Tamela, and here’s to a year of hope and renewal.
Aren’t we blessed! Thanks for the reminder, Tamela.
His love is so hard to grasp sometimes, and that’s a good thing. I love the supernatural wonder of it all! Happy Easter, Tamela!
Patti Jo Moore
Thank you for this post today, Tamela–you expressed this most special time so perfectly. I have chills thinking of what Jesus did for us–may we always praise Him!
This year my Easter attire will be denim (jeans), and my husband will be sporting a breezy cotton/polyester get up (hospital gown). He had a serious stoke the middle of March, came home for a few days (we thought fully recovered), and then had to go back because of signs of another stoke. He can’t leave until they get his medicine levels right.
During this same time, both of my parents, 94 and 91, were admitted into a hospital in VA with double pneumonia. I didn’t know if they would survive, but they lived too far away, and I couldn’t leave my husband. On top of that, my two dogs ran away (failed to put on their electric collars that morning). I was beginning to feel a kinship with Job-the enemy was now going after my cattle!
In spite of all that seemingly bad news, God was faithful. Because of His love, from the beginning we were surrounded by believers who bathed us in prayer. Because of His compassion, family sat with me until the wee hours of the morning, praying and just “being” there. Because of His kindness, friends and neighbors showed up, filling our refrigerator with food.
Because of His promises, I cried out to Him to carry my load, and He did! I literally felt the burden being lifted, and a sense of peace and joy filled me at the moment I prayed, and has not left. Because of His great mercy, both of my parents recovered (their doctor said it was a miracle). Because of His great mercy my precious son finally found our dogs (after five hours of determined searching), soaking wet, freezing cold, full of burrs, miles from home, but still wagging their tails! Because of His great mercy, my dear husband (of 37 years) is expected to have a full recovery.
We won’t be in church this Easter, or have on fancy new clothes, but we will be praising our King of Kings and Lord of Lords! And thanking Him for the wonder and miracle of His resurrection. Praise His name!
Tamela Hancock Murray
Georgianne, thank you so much for sharing. Praise His name, indeed!
I think the infinite nature of his love does defy our knowledge. It’s greater than we can understand 🙂
Carole Lehr Johnson
Tamela, thank you for the lovely post. It’s hard for me to wrap my mind around what Jesus did for me. Yet I gladly accept that precious gift and need to be reminded of it daily. God bless you and have a great Easter.
Have you ever felt a certain dread of Easter? Surely I’m not the only one. Growing up Baptist, forty days of Lent was no problem. It was the crucifixion sermons that I feared. It wasn’t enough to simply refer to the agony and death of Jesus. Sooner or later, you got the awful details, and it was just about more than I could stand.
If I were God, I wouldn’t have done it that way, I kept thinking. Jesus could have been born in Bethlehem with the fluffy lambs—that would have been suffering enough, considering he was accustomed to the good life in heaven. But right away there was the slaughter of all the baby boys two years old or less. No, I wouldn’t have let that happen either, if I were God.
Later I learned that forgiveness of sin had always required a blood sacrifice. Jesus’ death began to make theological sense. Death by lethal injection would never have caught the attention of mankind. But because he was the perfectly sinless Son of God, he wasn’t dying for his own sins. He was the only spotless lamb who could be sacrificed for our sins.
Fast forward many years: we’re a family living in Saudi Arabia and participating in the Protestant underground fellowship. We have to keep a low profile and never proselytize. No talk of Jesus, no passing out Bibles. Our pastor shared his belief, or maybe his wish, that there was another way to salvation for people who do not have the opportunity to know Jesus.
This is a convenient belief. It absolves us from the responsibility of missions. Maybe if pagans were really good, sincere people…No, Ephesians 2:8-9 shoots that down when it talks about salvation not being of works. We can’t earn heaven. It’s the free gift of God.
For some time I pondered a Plan B for salvation, until I was nailed through the heart by Jesus’ words in John 14:6: “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” Not a way, but the way. If I believe Jesus at all, I can’t rationalize that he was lying about this one essential point.
In truth, I don’t have the right or the power or the omniscience to decide how I think God should have done things. Faith in Jesus is the only way to salvation, and all those who have not heard are our responsibility.
As for the suffering and crucifixion, Jesus says in John 10:17-18 that he did it willingly. No one took his life from him. He laid it down, and he took it up again. He has the power of eternal life. I gave up the struggle and accepted his gift.
Now I can celebrate Easter—his resurrection. And look forward to my own.
Tamela Hancock Murray
Lee: Wow! You are so right.
This is a beautiful post, Tamela. I’ve been pondering what came before the resurrection–the crucifixion. I’ve been amazed as I’ve considered how great Jesus’ love is for us. The resurrection gives us hope unending–here and for eternity. The depth of our God and his love amazes me. Have a wonderful Easter, Tamela.
Praying the same, Tamela. Have a blessed and joy-filled Easter. He is risen! He is risen, indeed! Alleluia!
This was beautiful. Thank you, Tamela.
How beautiful! Tamela and Lee, you both had me in tears, tears of gratitude that God would sacrifice His Son for me! I often get so caught up in the joy of the resurrection that I forget to praise God for the sacrifice Jesus made.
We have leave the church in silence and darkness (candles blown out on the altar) during Good Friday evening service. It’s a time of contemplation and prayer for Jesus’ sacrifice. Then Resurrection Sunday comes and we’re thrilled about the Risen Christ!–as we are every day of the year! Thank you so much for this post–absolutely beautiful!
Thank you for the beautiful message.
Have a Happy Easter.