The risen Savior, the defeated gravePublished 7:47am Friday, April 6, 2012
By REV. ADREN BIVINS
Laymen Brotherhood Second Chance Outreach
“He is not here, for he is risen, just as he said. Come, see the place where the Lord lay and go quickly and tell his disciples that he is risen from the dead; and behold, he go before you into Galilee. There shall you see him; I have told you.”
Those were the words spoken by the angel to Mary Magdalene and the other Mary at the tomb (Matthew 28:6-7). Jesus conquered sin, death, and the grave and he rose with all power in his hands on earth and in heaven. Jesus’ death was necessary to redeem mankind, and his resurrection is the foundation of the Christian faith.
The shedding of his blood was required for our sins to be covered. He came down from heaven to a sinful world to save us. His mission was accomplished when he said, “it is finished,” just before he died on the cross at Calvary. While on the earth, Jesus was obedient to his Father. He performed many miracles. He turned water into wine; he healed the sick, raised the dead, opened up blinded eyes, cast out demons, calmed the storms, fed the multitudes and even walked on water.
He also used common people to carry out his purpose. He walked among sinners and helped them. He had a special place in his heart for little children and had compassion for them. Jesus even spent time alone to pray to his Father, which is in heaven. He taught in parables so everyone could understand his messages. A parable is an earthly story with a heavenly meaning.
Each year, we celebrate Jesus’ crucifixion and his resurrection. We call this Easter. This special celebration is the oldest Christian festival, except for the weekly Sunday celebration. Although the exact date was in dispute, and the specific observance of the festival developed over the centuries, it is clear that Easter has specific significance to the early generation of Christians.
Since Christ’s crucifixion occurred at the time of the Jewish Passover, the first Jewish Christians probably transformed their Passover observance into a celebration of the central events of their new faith. In the early centuries, the annual observance was called the “Pascha,” the Greek word for Passover, and focuses on Jesus as the Paschal Lamb. The early observation probably consisted of a vigil beginning on Saturday evening and ending on Sunday morning, and included remembrance of Christ’s crucifixion as well as his resurrection.
After A.D. 200, the record showed that the climax of the vigil was the baptism of new Christians and the celebration of the Lord’s Supper (Communion). By A.D. 300, most churches divided the original observance devoting Good Friday to the crucifixion and Easter Sunday to the Resurrection.
Everything about Jesus was unique, including his birth to a virgin named Mary. His baptism by John the Baptist was unique, because he had committed no sin. His life was unique; his death was unique; even his resurrection was unique. He did all of this for us. He is the most unique person in history and there would never be another one like Jesus.
His work at Calvary is finished and he will never die again. He sent us a Helper, and that Helper is the Holy Spirit, that works on the inside and shows up on the outside. All the other prophets, priests, kings, judges and queens are dead, but Jesus is alive and well and is seated at the right hand of the Father in heaven. He is making intercessions for us right now, saying “come unto me and I will give you rest.”
If we accept Jesus into our heart and make him our Lord and Savior, we will have an eternal home not made by man and can live out our lives forever and be with Jesus.
During this Easter celebration, we need to remember it is not about the clothes, the Easter bunny, the rabbits or the Easter eggs; but is about the love Jesus showed for us through his crucifixion, burial and resurrection. When he rose, he took the sting out of death and victory from the grave and stepped out on resurrection ground with all power in his hands!
“O death, where is thou sting? O grave, where is thou victory? (I Corinthians 15:55). Romans 6:23 states, the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life. We can have eternal life with Jesus if we accept him as our Lord and Savior. He is the King of Kings and Lord of Lords. Happy Easter to everyone!
Prayer: “Dear Lord, help us to follow your word. Help us to understand that you are God all by yourself. Help us to love and forgive one another as you have loved and forgiven us. In Jesus’ precious name. Amen.”
The Rev. Adren Bivins Sr., a clergyman, is the founder of Laymen Brotherhood Second Chance Outreach Center Inc., a non-profit Bainbridge organization. He can be reached by calling (229) 465-3752 or (229) 416-0476.