(Photo: Dan Delzell)
Jesus won't mean much to you until you are able to speak about Him in a personal way. It's one thing to say, "This is Easter weekend." It's another thing altogether to say, "Jesus died for me, and rose again for my eternal salvation." So are Good Friday and Easter personal for you, or not so much?
Good Friday doesn't become good for you until you understand it, and believe it, and allow your soul to find rest in it. Easter does nothing for you until you personally rise up in faith and leave the grave clothes of sin and death back in the tomb. When you get out of bed this Sunday, will it be the beginning of a new life for you? Or just the beginning of an ordinary day on an average weekend in March? It can become very personal for you if you want it to be.
Are Good Friday and Easter inside you yet, or are they just religious celebrations that show up on your calendar once a year? These events get inside you when you embrace them through faith. This miracle happens as you come to the cross and repent of your sin, and trust Christ to forgive you. That's how it gets inside you, and more importantly, how Jesus comes to live inside you. I would say that is pretty personal. Wouldn't you?
Christianity was never meant to simply fill a church calendar with special events during the year. Instead, it is about a relationship with the Lord. For God, it was very personal. The Father gave His Son. The Son gave His life. The Holy Spirit gives us the new birth. It's all very personal for God. Is it personal for you, or not so much?
Have you been watching the mini-series about the Bible on the History channel this month? I hope so. But more importantly, I hope the message of God's Word thrills your soul. I hope it consumes you. I hope it drives everything you do in life. That is what happens when a person follows Jesus. He becomes your all in all. He becomes your everything. Sure there are still many other people and activities in your life. But as a Christian, everything you do revolves around your personal relationship with Christ.
If Jesus were to knock on the front door of your house or apartment today, would you open the door? Would you welcome Him in for a visit? It's a very important question to consider. Many people don't even think about such a thing. They live their entire life as though Jesus is beyond their reach. If they only knew. If they only believed. If they only opened the door. Things could be so different.
When man was created, it was natural to talk to God. After man sinned, it became awkward to visit with Him. Maybe you know what I am talking about. Maybe you can relate to that awkward feeling with it comes to God. Do you know what you need? You need to be introduced to the Messiah. And I know just the Person to do it. The Holy Spirit loves to introduce people to Jesus. He does it everyday, all over the world. He can do it right now for you if you like. Are you open to that idea, or not so much?
Once a person meets Jesus through faith, he begins to live for Jesus. He begins to hang out with other Christians. He begins to view his entire life through the lens of Christian faith. It's a whole new world and a whole new perspective. It becomes personal. It becomes natural and no longer awkward to talk to God.
With Christ in your life, the relationship with God just kind of flows. It's almost like a river. That's because of the living water which God places inside of you when you are converted. (see John 7:37-39) You enter His family through faith in Christ, and you then long to grow in your relationship with God. The supernatural suddenly becomes natural for the believer. And it's all because of the work of the Holy Spirit, and the Person of Jesus Christ.
You may be planning to attend church this weekend. I hope so. But you know what? A one-time religious celebration is one thing. A permanent relationship is a much bigger deal. Are you ready to move beyond the surface stuff of Christianity, and get into the personal stuff? Or not so much?
God loves you. Christ died for your sins. He then rose from the grave. He would be thrilled to have a relationship with you. It will last forever. You will be changed. You will begin to serve others for the sake of your Savior. People around you will be blessed by the One who lives inside of you. That is, if Good Friday and Easter actually get inside you this year?
After Lazarus had been in the tomb four days, "Jesus called in a loud voice, 'Lazarus, come out!' The dead man came out, his hands and feet wrapped with strips of linen, and a cloth around his face. Jesus said to him, 'Take off the grave clothes and let him go.'" (John 11:43,44) Just picture in your mind when that dead man came out of his tomb. That is astounding, and definitely supernatural. But in God's realm, the supernatural is commonplace. That's where He lives. That's what He does. That's just who He is and what He is all about.
You, on the other hand, may still be in your own tomb of unbelief. If so, your spirit has been dead a lot longer than four days. (see Eph. 2:1) It's time for the grave clothes of sin to come off as you rise up in faith and begin a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. Do you hear the Lord calling you today to come out of your tomb? "Wake up, O sleeper, and rise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you." (Eph. 5:14)
Jesus said, "I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies. And whoever lives and believes in me will never die. Do you believe this?" (John 11:25,26) Do you know why the Lord asked that question about belief? Because faith is the hand that graciously receives what the Lord earned for us on the cross. Just reach out to Him today and receive His goodness, love, and forgiveness. Easter without faith won't get you out of your tomb.
Perhaps the Lord is saying to you today what He told Thomas after His resurrection. "Stop doubting and believe." (John 20:27) By His grace, you can believe the good news. But will you? This is the perfect weekend to make your decision. And be sure to watch the conclusion of "The Bible" on the History channel on Sunday night. You'll be glad you did!