Part 1 of the Easter series, "Suffering and Resurrection." We all love a good story. Good stories have the power to connect with us emotionally and to even transform our heart and perspective. But, above even the most inspiring fiction, it is the true story that typically has the greatest impact upon our existence and actions. Why? Because if the story is true, then perhaps it can also be true for us. This is the focus we must remind ourselves of when re-imagining the Easter story. The telling of Christ's death and resurrection is more than just something to touch our hearts or even our character. It tells of an event in time that will revolutionize everything we are...if we'll only believe the stories are true.
Part 2 of the Easter series, "Suffering and Resurrection." When guests enter our home, we love to clean house. But the home they see isn't often reflective of how we normally live. More often, our homes can me messy, but that's not the picture we typically wish to show others. In the same way, even as Christians, our lives can be a mess and we don't want anyone to see. But as Jesus demonstrated so many times as he ministered to others on his way to the cross, God wants to enter the home of our hearts with a sign out front that says, "Welcome to Our Mess!" It is only Jesus who can clean the impurity of our hearts. But we must first recognize our need to be cleansed before inviting him to enter.
Part 3 of the Easter series, "Suffering and Resurrection." Very soon before he would enter Jerusalem to trigger the events that would lead to his suffering on the cross, Jesus had his purpose and his future glory re-affirmed by God on the mount of Transfiguration. God reminded him that he was his "chosen one." Jesus was (it appears) counseled and encouraged by Moses and Elijah, reminding him that his purpose was rooted in the foundations of all that had come before and that his destiny was foreordained before the world began. Because of Christ's finished work on the cross, we too are God's chosen ones, sons and daughters chosen before the world began to share in the fellowship of Christ's sufferings so that we might enjoy the power of his resurrection. In this way, the Easter story has a direct impact, not just on our eternal destiny, but on how we persevere and overcome in the here-and-now.