Last year, during the season of celebration of Jesus’ death and resurrection, a devotional entitled “White Easter” was published, inspired by the snow storm we had experienced here in Canada on Easter Sunday 2015. The point was made that Easter is indeed a time to be thinking of “white”–Not the “white of snow”, but rather, the “white” that Jesus’ blood brings to our scarlet-stained hearts: “‘Come now, and let us reason together,’ Says the Lord, ‘Though your sins are like scarlet, They shall be as white as snow; Though they are red like crimson, They shall be as wool.'” (Isaiah 1:18 NKJV).
As I think about the celebration of Jesus’ death and resurrection this year, I am impressed with the fact that we don’t spend enough time contemplating this ultimate of gifts, the gift of His life on the cross. It’s true that we take a few moments in church to contemplate how much He suffered and how our sin put Him on that cross, but do we leave the service with an understanding of the fullness of the gift? Do we make full use of it? Or do we leave the service continuing to walk in condemnation, worry, doubt and fear, shackled by the chains of addictions and crippled with illness and pain?
As we prepare for the services tomorrow morning, let’s take a moment to contemplate just what Jesus accomplished in His suffering, death and resurrection, and let’s remember that if you have accepted Jesus as your Lord and Savoir, then these gifts are all for you:
1. Jesus’ gift brings us reconciliation with God: “Now all things are of God, who has reconciled us to Himself through Jesus Christ, and has given us the ministry of reconciliation, that is, that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not imputing their trespasses to them, and has committed to us the word of reconciliation.” (2 Cor. 5:18-19 NKJV). No longer do we need to walk in condemnation. We have been forgiven and reconciled to God!
2. It provides us with forgiveness and peace: “He was pierced for our transgressions, He was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was on Him…” (Isaiah 53:5a NIV). No longer do we need to carry the burden of guilt. His peace is ours for the asking!
3. It brings healing and deliverance “…and by his wounds we are healed.” (Isaiah 53:5b NIV); “‘But for you who fear My name, the sun of righteousness will rise with healing in its wings; and you will go forth and skip about like calves from the stall. You will tread down the wicked, for they will be ashes under the soles of your feet on the day which I am preparing,’ says the LORD of hosts…” (Mal. 4:2-3 ESV). The mental, physical, spiritual and emotional healing, the deliverance from that sin that so easily befalls us, it is all ours for the asking!
4. It brings us the gift of God’s Spirit: “And the Spirit of the Lord will rest on him…” (Is. 11:2a NLT), and this brings us an entire other set of gifts, including:
a. Wisdom and knowledge: “To one there is given through the Spirit a message of wisdom, to another a message of knowledge by means of the same Spirit…” (1 Cor. 12:8 NIV)
b. Encouragement: “Living in the fear of the Lord and encouraged by the Holy Spirit…” (Acts 9:31 NIV)
c. Understanding and revelation: “I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know him better.” (Eph. 1:17 NIV)
The list could go on, but I think you get the point: Jesus’ gift to us at the cross encompasses far more than we initially think!
Yesterday I bought a very expensive gift for my son, but he didn’t open it. In fact, he left it in a sack in the laundry room and went on about his work. The truth was clear: My son took the gift for granted, and it left me feeling sad that he didn’t seem to appreciate it. It made me think, however. When we do not fully utilize the gift Jesus gave His life to provide for us, we are, in essence, leaving it “in a sack”. How sad it must make Jesus feel when we celebrate His death and resurrection but continue to live our lives entrenched in sin, chained to addictions, controlled by stress, grief, ignorance, sickness and fear.
I challenge each of you this Easter to remember the fullness of the gift that was given to us at the cross. Don’t leave it untouched. Instead, accept Jesus’ Salvation; accept His comfort, His peace, His deliverance; believe in His power to heal and to judge fairly; trust in His judgment, His counsel, His Father’s Heart. By doing so, we show our appreciation for this ultimate gift to mankind.
In His love,
Lynona Gordon Chaffart, Speech-Language Pathologist, mother of two, Author — “Aboard God’s Train — A Journey With God Through the Valley of Cancer”, Author and Moderator for The Nugget, a tri-weekly internet newsletter, and Scriptural Nuggets, a website devoted to Christian devotionals and inspirational poems, with Answers2Prayer Ministries. Follow Lyn on Twitter @lynchaffart.