What would you do if you suddenly saw a friend who you knew had died ... but there they were doing the usual thing they have always done? You'd think you've seen a ghost, right?
I have ONE message for you this Easter and, okay, I've kind of already hinted at it in the title. But what on earth does that title mean ...?
You already know that the most significant event in the history of humankind was ... Jesus. Unique in every respect. His life, His death, the destruction of death and the salvation of the believer planned before the foundation of the world.
But the "end" of the story was kept a secret and a mystery until the resurrection. Seriously. We are so used to hearing about it and knowing the story that it's no longer a surprise. This lack of wonder makes sense, though. Have you ever seen a movie so many times that it no longer has the same power? I mean, think of a story you know SO well you can practically say the dialogue along with it. And maybe you've heard THIS story so many times and it is still very important to you, but, well, it just isn't a moment for you anymore ... so let's imagine it's your first time. Or even better ... imagine you are Peter after the death of Jesus.
"Jesus said, 'Breakfast is ready.' Not one of the disciples dared ask, 'Who are you?' They knew it was the Master." John 21:12
Peter was SO excited when he realised it was the LIVING Jesus speaking to him from the beach that he jumped from a boat into the water with his clothes on ... he didn't wait for any welcome to walk on water, he took the plunge and just - WENT FOR IT. And what did he find that Jesus was doing when he finally got to Him? The same thing He was doing when they met Him, but this time at a fire. He was preparing a breakfast. Gotta love that. Plus, He had the same message both times too! "FOLLOW. ME." And the last time, some of them hadn't seen Him since He was dead. I think I'd be answering that request post haste ... how about you?
You know that this is an event that changed you once and has a power that has changed the world. Its message is eternal freedom. It is a message that has divided families, friends, and nations. It has also united loved ones, calmed the restless, and brought peace to those at war. Some are uncomfortable hearing this story, but it is a message that is the hope of the saint and the glory of the believer.
The cross and resurrection demonstrate the power, holiness, love, mercy, wrath, righteousness, and patience of God. It is grace magnified. And as a follower of Jesus, are you rejoicing in every remembrance of this moment? It was for YOU He died on the cross. He resurrected for YOU. I know I'm asking you a lot of questions ... but is it not evident that a person educes Jesus not by a barren faith but by faith fruitful through their life?
"The very moment you separate body and spirit, you end up with a corpse. Separate faith and works and you get the same thing: a corpse." James 2:26
So, um ... how DO you get rid of that 'dead body?' Don't fret. It has already happened. He IS risen and is no longer a slave to death. He IS risen and has opened all doors. Although He died on that "old rugged cross" and paid the price for you and me, He forever LIVES in victory and is the RISEN King of Kings.
Of course, I hope you aren't a "corpse" as James warns, but if you know you are on the verge of spiritual death ... how do you 'get rid' of (or better yet, resurrect) YOUR dead body?
Now you may have travelled a path that has taken you to a place where this is old stuff. I hope you can pardon this little Easter altar call. Take some tips from Peter. I promised you some actionable tips, so here we go! Since He IS alive ...
... get out of 'the boat' and RUN. He said, "come to me." This call may be a matter of movement or a thing, but it means he’s over there, and you need to go from here to there. Time to move....
... you can keep your body and spirit together. If you are weary of trying to save yourself, clean up your own life or get to God by your own effort He’s saying, "Come to Me, I’ll give you rest. The very thing you’re trying to work for, I’ve already accomplished." (Matt. 11:28)
... it will be harder for you to separate faith and works. I say this with all respect for you, but just in case you need to hear it (we ALL do! I DO!): live like a follower, not a corpse.
Oh, and once you jump out of your cosy boat, don't forget to run and do what Peter did ... go have breakfast with Jesus. I know he'll be happy to see you.