This is the gospel: Jesus lived. He died. He resurrected. And he is coming again.
I think it’s important during this time of celebration to remember the basics of the good news. I think I get so excited about Jesus and what he can do. I forget what he has already done.
Prayer accomplished more than my hustling ever did . “Figure it out” just isn’t biblical. Nowhere in the Bible does it say I prayed and stayed up late Googling. In fact, it says the contrary.
James 5 (ESV)
13 Is anyone among you suffering? Let him pray. Is anyone cheerful? Let him sing praise. 14 Is anyone among you sick? Let him call for the elders of the church, and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord. 15 And the prayer of faith will save the one who is sick, and the Lord will raise him up. And if he has committed sins, he will be forgiven. 16 Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working.
In case you were wondering, who this righteous person is … it’s you. Real talk. That thing we are celebrating this week at Easter settled everything. The cross is not just a decorative item to wear on a chain. It represents the power of God revealed and the love of God towards us. It wasn’t a play. It’s not just a dramatic symbol. God in the flesh came to give his life in trade for mine and because of it I have a new identity. The bible says that God created us in his image. Sin entered the world and marred his image. We were disfigured. Christ’s death doesn’t just give us a little face lift. It is complete and total annihilation of that old self, that marred image. And instead of that we get a new one, blameless, unmarred…. Like it was never disfigured to begin with.
Have you ever traded Pokemon or Yu Gi Oh or Digimon cards? You can’t halfsy a trade. Either you give up the card or you don’t. I can’t give you half my Pikachu card. I have to give you all of it in exchange for a whole Charizard. In the same way, Jesus gave it all and he wants it all. It’s a deeply personal thing. Prayer is just the beginning. It’s the access point to all that God wants to lavish on you. The cross is here. It’s where you can go to find out how deep and wide and long his long for you is. He isn’t asking for you to get your ducks in a row. It’s free.
Romans 5:8 The Message (MSG)
6-8 Christ arrives right on time to make this happen. He didn’t, and doesn’t, wait for us to get ready. He presented himself for this sacrificial death when we were far too weak and rebellious to do anything to get ourselves ready. And even if we hadn’t been so weak, we wouldn’t have known what to do anyway. We can understand someone dying for a person worth dying for, and we can understand how someone good and noble could inspire us to selfless sacrifice. But God put his love on the line for us by offering his Son in sacrificial death while we were of no use whatever to him.
As we get dressed up and don our fancy clothes and accessories this Easter weekend, let us remember that the victory is already won. That God’s love already settled everything. He’s not concerned with what I did but who I am in Christ. I am beloved. Irrevocably. I cannot return it to sender.