It’s snowing this morning; big, wet flakes falling relentlessly from a leaden-gray sky. There’s nothing so quite discouraging as snow in mid-April in the North Country!
It’s hard to believe spring is here. Unless, that is, you know what I know.
Yesterday I worked my flower gardens. It was so cold, by noon the wind drove me back inside. But before it did, all of my snipping, clipping, and raking unearthed evidence of spring.
Dark peony sprouts poked up amidst roots and dried stems. Tender buds clung to gnarly Korean lilacs. Stubby shoots of bearded iris defied the elements.
This business of knowing what you can’t yet see or prove brings to mind Hebrews 11.
“Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen. … By faith we understand that the universe was created by the word of God, so that what is seen was not made out of things that are visible.” (Hebrews 11:1,3 ESV)
The “Hall of Faith” passage goes on to call out faith-heroes who believed God for the unseen. Remarkable people, like Abraham and Sarah. Jacob and Joseph. Moses. Rahab and Gideon. Samuel and David. And many more, backs against the wall, trusting God to keep His promises despite contrary circumstances. Some never saw the fulfillment of those promises, but they kept faith.
But as we read on, there’s a dramatic shift, redirecting to the greatest story of all: Jesus. He who endured the cross and shame, defeated death, and forever defends our faith. What a good Word for Easter weekend!
“Therefore… let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured from sinners such hostility against himself…” (Hebrews 12:1-3 ESV)
Reading John’s Gospel recently, I was struck by the clarity Jesus conveyed as He walked among us. People didn’t always understand, and still don’t. The fullness of the mystery is more than our minds can manage. That’s okay; he’d be a weak god otherwise! But Jesus never wavered on who He was, what He came to do, or why it mattered.
He was not just another prophet, bearing God’s words. He was the Word, personified; present with the Father at the birth of creation. He was God’s one and only Son, descended from heaven, sent by the Father.
Jesus answered them, “This is the work of God, that you believe in him whom he has sent.” (John 6:29 ESV)
To accept or reject His claims is our choice. We may freely believe or disregard. Follow or walk away. Love or despise. But make no mistake, it is an unavoidable decision. Jesus’s life and death split time, B.C. to A.D., with eternal implications. The author, C.S. Lewis, expertly expounds:
“I am trying here to prevent anyone saying the really foolish thing that people often say about Him: ‘I’m ready to accept Jesus as a great moral teacher, but I don’t accept His claim to be God.’
That is the one thing we must not say. A man who was merely a man and said the sort of things Jesus said would not be a great moral teacher. He would either be a lunatic—on a level with the man who says he is a poached egg—or else he would be the Devil of Hell. You can shut Him up for a fool, you can spit at Him and kill Him as a demon; or you can fall at His feet and call Him Lord and God. But let us not come with any patronizing nonsense about His being a great human teacher. He has not left that open to us. He did not intend to.”
C.S. Lewis – Mere Christianity
Tomorrow is Easter Sunday, when Christians celebrate Jesus’s hard-fought victory over sin and death. None can earn nor deserve His radical sacrifice. Such love, offered so freely! All for “the joy set before Him” — that you and I would trust in Him and share in His eternal glory.
Follow your heart to the foot of the cross on this Resurrection weekend. Attend a Bible-believing, faith-proclaiming, joy-filled church. Join the celebration!
Open a Bible, or find one online, and start reading. Ask God to open your mind to His truth as you read. You will be amazed at how He delights to answer that prayer!
Binge Jesus! I dare you to watch just one episode of The Chosen. The Gospel leaps off the page in this ground-breaking video series. So good.
Trust Jesus. Just Jesus.