(JCPC elder Rob Dowd shared this last Monday night for our Session's devotion.)
If you ask people, Christian or other, what is the most important holiday in the Christian faith, most would probably say Christmas. And you can make a compelling argument that it is. It is the beginning of Christ's short time on earth with us -- a sort of first day of school.
To this day we read and study scripture of the life and times of Jesus. The scripture has it all. There are amazing stories to entertain, parables to teach, even poetry to inspire. But without the three days from Good Friday to Easter Sunday, what would we have? Would the church have endured these two thousand years? Would the whole story be about another interesting historical figure? Maybe a book? An hour show on the History Channel? Perhaps a Spielberg movie. But with the death and resurrection everything changes.
"You killed the author of life, but God raised him from the dead. We are witnesses of this." (Acts 3:15) If Jesus had stayed among us there would surely be faithful followers, but would there be leaders? Would there be heroes?
"Then Jesus came to them and said, 'All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded of you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.'" (Matthew 28:18-20)
If Christmas was the first day of school, then with Easter, school is out. I have always believed that the most patriotic days in the U.S. were days like December 8, 1941, September 12, 2001. If that is true then certainly there can be no day more demanding of us as Christians than Easter plus 1.
"With great power the apostles continued to testify to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus. And God's grace was so powerfully at work in them all." (Acts 4:33)
Prayer for Today
Dear God, we celebrate the resurrection and commit ourselves to love you above all, to love one another, and to share our faith by helping our fellow man in your name. Guide our hearts and our hands in all that we do. Amen.