(To watch This Week's Message at ralphharris.org instead, click here.)
Do you have some thoughts about Easter? Let me ask you a question: When Jesus was on the cross, where were you?
If we think of Jesus as going to the cross by Himself, we have a discounted Easter, an Easter worth less than it actually is. That’s no bargain. We don’t have everything, and we need to.
While enduring the awful human torment of carrying a shameful cross through the streets of Jerusalem and out to Calvary on the edge of the city, Jesus—God Himself—knew what was before Him. Through the pain, He was overjoyed!
“Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God” (Hebrews 12:2, italics mine).
Seemingly all alone on His tortured trek through town and the many people lining the streets, Jesus held a fantastic secret: He was taking them with Him. They thought they were onlookers to a tragedy only; He knew they were participants, not just in the cause but also in the act and triumphant result.
An incredible, miraculous, retroactive and future fact of Easter is that Jesus’ faithfulness to the cross was the initial act of bringing to an end one creation—darkened, stumbling, sin frustrated mankind—and the making of another—a glory-sharing, innocent and holy new race (See Ephesians 2:14-22). That was His joy, and now it’s ours!
On the cross and knowing what was coming in three days, Jesus reached for you in the crowd—the crowd in the past, the crowd right in front of Him, and the crowd in the future—and accomplished God’s timeless desire; union with His people. He didn’t simply hold you close, He brought you in. Jesus removed what hindered us and brought us into Himself, where there can be no distance, no transgression and no fault, making us new, safe and secure with Him, who loves us perfectly. And He did it in three days through two acts: the cross and the resurrection.
Romans 6:6 For we know that our old self was crucified with him so that the body ruled by sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves to sin.
Ephesians 2:6 And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, 7 in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus.
Easter is all about life to the full—Christ’s and yours. When Jesus rose and fairly strutted out of the tomb (as I picture it), He was full and full of joy! We were in Him, and He was joyously satisfied, just as He planned.
He is risen! And so are we. Happy Easter!
(See Romans 6:1-7; Galatians 2:20; Ephesians 2:6-7)