Something to help this Easter …
Easter is just a few days away and I want to encourage you to look for creative ways to carve out some time to meditate on the Cross. By “meditate” I simply mean to consider; to ponder; to fix your mind upon the powerful Cross of Jesus Christ.
If you were like me growing up, you didn’t spend much time thinking about what you could give up for Lent. I grew up thinking that giving up things for Lent was an effort aimed at seeking merit or favor from God. I grew up understanding that works don’t save me and works don’t make me more acceptable to God. But I think I missed something important about making some form of sacrifice during the Easter season. The important part is that the act of giving up something important to me is a tool aimed at encouraging me to meditate on the Cross. So when I encourage you to make a sacrifice over the coming days I’m not asking you to consider doing it hoping or believing that it will earn you merits or favor from God. Christ has purchased all the righteousness you need. When I ask you to make a sacrifice this Easter, I am asking you to do it so you can carve out some time to meditate on the Cross. I want to encourage you to seek greater opportunities to grow in your communion with Christ by creating some space in your life to stop and think about your Savior. Each of these suggestions involve some cost – they encourage you to sacrifice something.
As Easter is just a few days away, I encourage you to make a different sacrifice each day between now and Easter Sunday. Here are a few ideas
· Sleep - get up an hour earlier
· Food - skip one meal
· TV - leave the TV turned off – including, for example, Netflix or Amazon Prime
· Social Media – no Facebook, Twitter, Instagram
· Electronics – no tablets or smart phone
· Spend an hour in prayer
· Spend an hour in worship
Would you consider making a sacrifice this Easter? Will you give specific focus in the coming days to meditate upon the Cross? Will you give the Lord an hour or two (or even more) to fix your mind upon the Cross? Use the extra time you create to ponder the Cross.
Consider these questions:
· Why did Jesus have to suffer and die?
· What did it cost Jesus to suffer and die for you?
· What would be an appropriate response of worship from you to Christ this Easter?
As you meditate on the Cross this week, think about Isaiah 53:4-5:
Surely he has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows; yet we esteemed him stricken, smitten by God, and afflicted. But he was pierced for our transgressions; he was crushed for our iniquities; upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and with his wounds we are healed.
We need Christ, and Christ alone, to bear our griefs. Our griefs are the result of our sin, the total of all of our guilt and shame. We need Christ to carry our sorrows, the impact of our sin, in our relationship with God. As we reflect on Christ this Easter, we remember that only He can bear to be smitten by God. Only Christ is worthy to be afflicted by God. Only Jesus is worthy to be afflicted in our place. Jesus was pierced for our sins. Only Jesus is worthy to be pierced for our sin. Only Jesus is worthy to be crushed for our sins. Only Jesus is worthy to be the chastisement for our sins. Only Jesus is worthy to be punished in our place.
Have a wonderful Easter celebrating your Savior's love for you and His power over sin and death.