Celebrate the gift of life!

Thursday, April 9

Scripture reading: Matthew 27:50-52


A mentor of mine in the publishing business was fond of saying, “You can never step into the same river twice.” The idea is that the river is alive, always flowing, always changing—and so are we. It’s never the same river from one moment to the next. The water you step into one day is not the same water you will step into the next day.

The Word of God is a lot like a river. Hebrews 4:12 tells us that the Word is “alive and active.” So it shouldn’t surprise us when we read a familiar passage and see or hear a new thing, or understand it in a new and different way.

I experienced this in Marc’s message last Sunday when he talked about Jesus being tempted by Satan in the wilderness. I’ve long assumed Jesus was on the defensive in that Matthew 4 passage. But it says that the Spirit led Jesus into the wilderness to be tempted. Jesus was on offense, preparing himself fully for the ministry to come. That was an “Aha!” moment for me.

And here is another one, in Matthew 27:52. At the moment of Jesus’ death on the cross, “the bodies of many holy people who had died were raised to life.” In all the Easter week devotions and sermons I’ve heard, I don’t remember much being made of this point. Many people came back to life on the day Jesus died. That’s a big deal!

Each year when Good Friday arrives, the sky seems to hang a little lower, the atmosphere subdued by the weight of loss as we remember Jesus’ death. We can’t wait for Easter, when we can give a standing ovation for Jesus’ victory. The hope of Resurrection Sunday brightens the darkness of Good Friday.

We often think God waited until Easter to clarify His victory, but that is not the case. He began bringing His people back to life immediately. Eternal rebirth for humanity began the moment Jesus paid the price for us. Eternal life in all its healing, saving glory began on Good Friday.

We are experiencing some dark days, but my prayer is that you will celebrate God’s gift of life as you thank Jesus for dying to redeem you from the clutches of death.

Prayer: Our God and Heavenly Father, you demonstrated your great love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Thank you for the gift of eternal life!

Pastor Jay