Saturday, April 07, 2007

Good Friday Leads to a Glorious Easter!

Yesterday was a special day for me because on a Good Friday around 27 years ago (I can't remember exactly which year) I sat in a church service listening to the biblical account of what occured on the first Good Friday. Suddenly I realized something that totally blew me away. What Jesus did for me that long ago day He did for me right then, died for MY sins and paid the price for MY sins that I could be forgiven. For ME!!! The whole event became very personalized for me and I was humbled right there in that pew. Unfortunately, I didn't realize exactly what had happened at that moment because the church I attended back then didn't hold to a personal faith in Christ for salvation, but rather a you-have-to-earn-you-way-to-heaven philosophy. So, I went home overwhelmed and at the same time overjoyed. That particular weekend I literally lived Jesus' ordeal in my head as if he were going through it again. When Sunday came, I literally leaped out of bed filled with joy because my Lord had risen. He had overcome death's sting for me! Since then I've met countless people who can say that on a specific day they knelt down and prayed to ask Jesus into their hearts, to forgive their sins, and to become Lord of their lives. I cannot pinpoint an exact day I did exactly that, but I know the day it happened. That Good Friday.

I've since moved on to a different church--the one I still attend today. Last night we held a special service of darkness. We had communion, had the same scriptures read to us that I had listened to that long ago Good Friday, sang hymns, and prayed. When we got to the part in our reading where Jesus gave up His spirit and died the church was in complete darkness and after a prayer we left without speaking a word. Quite amazing to see about 700 people walking out without the usual chit-chat that goes on. As I drove home a man on the radio was describing what Christ endured with the crucifixion. I'm not going to go into details here, but it wasn't an easy way to die. The description drove home to me even more what He did for ME. I reacted much the same way I had 27 years ago. I was humbled.

But that's not the end of the story. On the third day several women went to Jesus' tomb expecting to attend to his remains. But what they found wasn't a decaying body. No way! All they saw was the empty shroud that had once wrapped Jesus' body. The tomb had been guarded all night and still he wasn't there! A short while later Jesus appeared to one of the women and then to his disciples. Over the next several weeks many people saw his risen body--spoke to Him, saw Him eat, and believed where once before they doubted.

Want to read it for yourself? Go to Matthew and read chapters 26-28.

He is risen! He is risen indeed!
Happy Easter!

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