A New Day, A New Life
Sunday, April 16, 2017
What did I expect to see? I took a walk, went outside, sun was shining. I took a couple of pictures. The colors of spring. There is this color of green that I associate with spring.
For most of my life I have said my favorite color was green. I suppose hunter green comes closest to describing my favorite green color. And yet, there is this color of green in the spring time. It is a lighter shade of green. I suppose it has a bit more yellow in it.
Did I tell you about the time I had the measles and my brother and sisters and I were closed off from the light for several weeks. During that time, spring had sprung. When I went outside for the first time that spring, winter had turned to spring. Everything was so green.
What has all of this to do with Resurrection Sunday? In spring there is a newness to everything. There is a cleanness to everything. Have you noticed that by the late summer, the green leaves are a darker green, a dirtier green than they were in the spring? Maybe that is just my imagination.
I have heard that we may have the birthday of Jesus wrong. Instead of being in winter, it may have been in the summer time. But Easter? We are pretty sure of the time of year for the Passover Celebration and therefore we are fairly certain of the time of year of the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus.
We celebrate Resurrection Sunday, as I prefer to call it, although I do not insist on it… We celebrate Resurrection Sunday with eggs, and grass, and things that remind us of new life.
Spring… trees have been bear for months but now are budding and flowering and showing signs that they are not dead, they have just been waiting for Spring, the season of new life.
Perhaps you have been dead, or lying dormant, waiting for a season of new life. If so, the story of the resurrection is a story you should be interested in. This is the story of God’s gift of new life to each of us. We were all dead and lifeless and waiting for the surge of new life to lift us out of the dull, colorless, world of life without God.
Through the Crucifixion and Resurrection of Jesus Christ, God brings us hope. He offers us new life. Every year, in the spring-time, we are reminded that there is hope for us. From death and destruction, Life has sprung up. God has proven, once again that He cares about His creation. He cares about me. He cares about you. He loves you and wants to have a relationship with you. This is not just the teachings of an outdated religion. This is truth.
God has spoken through His Only Begotten Son to tells us that He loves us so much that He was willing to die for us. There is no greater sacrifice that a human being can make than to give his life for someone else. That is how much God loves you… how much He loves each of us.
John 3:16 For God so loved the world (insert your name here) that He gave His Only Begotten Son that whosoever (if – insert your name here) believes in (trusts, clings to, relies on) Him may not perish (die, live without having known real, true life) but have everlasting (eternal, never ending) life. For God did not send the Son into the world in order to judge – reject, condemn, pass sentence on – the world (insert your name again); but that the world might find salvation and be made safe and sound – through Him.
He who believes on Him – who clings to, trusts in, relies on Him – is not judged (he who trusts in Him never comes up for judgement; for him there is no rejection, no condemnation; he incurs no damnation), But he who does not believe (does not cleave to, rely on, trust in Him) is judged already; (he has already been convicted; has already received his sentence) because he has not believed on and trusted in the name of the only begotten Son of God. – He is condemned for refusing to let his trust rest in Christ’s name. (John 3:16-18, paraphrased.)
Do you believe that Jesus loves you? Do you believe that He died for you? He who knew no sin, was made sin for us so that we could have life, so that we could know life, so that we could walk in fellowship with Him who is life. Are you walking in fellowship with Him? Or are you going through the motions and hoping that the things you do for Him are enough to win His love for you so that He might save you? Do you know for certain that you are saved?
John said he wrote his gospel so that we may know. Not hope, but know that we have eternal life. We do not have to live in doubt. We can know. You may say, how can anyone know for certain that they will go to heaven? It is as simple as this: Who, or what, are you trusting to save you? Are you trusting God and His Only Begotten Son? Or are you trusting, or hoping that you have been good enough?
Salvation is a gift. You cannot be good enough to earn it. No matter how good of a life you live on your own, it is not enough. Life comes through a connection with God. His breath, His Spirit breathed into us. We are either trusting God to save us, or we are hoping that our sacrifices are enough, that our good deeds outweigh our bad deeds.
When God asks you “Why should I let you into heaven?” there is only one right answer. You should say, “Because You love me, just as I am. You sent your Son to die for me. I put my trust in You and I have been growing in my understanding of my relationship with You ever since. I have no good thing to offer you, Father. I place myself at Your mercy. I am trusting in You.”
It is that kind of relationship, a relationship of loving trust that activates the life of God in us and brings us to see each day as a new day. Each day is a gift from God to grow in our understanding and in our love for Him. Each day is a new day, to use to bring glory to our loving Heavenly Father. Each day is resurrection day, as we are endued with life from the only source of life there is.
Our relationship with God saves us. Our good deeds are not enough. Our sacrifices are not enough. Only God can make a tree. Only God can give us life. He asks only that we trust Him to love us and to lead us each and every day.
Is every day a new day for you?
On the first day of the week, when the Passover Sabbath was completed, women came to the tomb where they had been told their friend and master had been laid after His death.
John 20:1 Early on the first day of the week, while it was still dark, Mary Magdalene went to the tomb and saw that the stone had been removed from the entrance.2 So she came running to Simon Peter and the other disciple, the one Jesus loved, and said, "They have taken the Lord out of the tomb, and we don't know where they have put him!" 3 So Peter and the other disciple started for the tomb.4 Both were running, but the other disciple outran Peter and reached the tomb first.5 He bent over and looked in at the strips of linen lying there but did not go in.6 Then Simon Peter, who was behind him, arrived and went into the tomb. He saw the strips of linen lying there,7 as well as the burial cloth that had been around Jesus' head. The cloth was folded up by itself, separate from the linen.8 Finally the other disciple, who had reached the tomb first, also went inside. He saw and believed.9 (They still did not understand from Scripture that Jesus had to rise from the dead.)
10 Then the disciples went back to their homes,11 but Mary stood outside the tomb crying. As she wept, she bent over to look into the tomb12 and saw two angels in white, seated where Jesus' body had been, one at the head and the other at the foot. 13 They asked her, "Woman, why are you crying?" "They have taken my Lord away," she said, "and I don't know where they have put him."14 At this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing there, but she did not realize that it was Jesus. 15 "Woman," he said, "why are you crying? Who is it you are looking for?" Thinking he was the gardener, she said, "Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have put him, and I will get him." 16 Jesus said to her, "Mary." She turned toward him and cried out in Aramaic, "Rabboni!" (which means Teacher). 17 Jesus said, "Do not hold on to me, for I have not yet returned to the Father. Go instead to my brothers and tell them, 'I am returning to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.'"
18 Mary Magdalene went to the disciples with the news: "I have seen the Lord!" And she told them that he had said these things to her. 19 On the evening of that first day of the week, when the disciples were together, with the doors locked for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood among them and said, "Peace be with you!"20 After he said this, he showed them his hands and side. The disciples were overjoyed when they saw the Lord. 21 Again Jesus said, "Peace be with you! As the Father has sent me, I am sending you."22 And with that he breathed on them and said, "Receive the Holy Spirit.23 If you forgive anyone his sins, they are forgiven; if you do not forgive them, they are not forgiven." 24 Now Thomas (called Didymus), one of the Twelve, was not with the disciples when Jesus came.25 So the other disciples told him, "We have seen the Lord!" But he said to them, "Unless I see the nail marks in his hands and put my finger where the nails were, and put my hand into his side, I will not believe it."
26 A week later his disciples were in the house again, and Thomas was with them. Though the doors were locked, Jesus came and stood among them and said, "Peace be with you!"27 Then he said to Thomas, "Put your finger here; see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it into my side. Stop doubting and believe." 28 Thomas said to him, "My Lord and my God!" 29 Then Jesus told him, "Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed." 30 Jesus did many other miraculous signs in the presence of his disciples, which are not recorded in this book.31 But these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name. (NIV)
They came to the tomb that day without hope. The one they had put their faith in, as far as they could tell, was dead now. Their hope was shattered.
Our hopes need to die. God, through His Son, must become our only source of hope. He must be first in our lives. He must come before our families. He must come before our jobs, our homes our possessions. He must be Lord of All.
Sometimes God allows us to go through these shattering moments to remind us where our hope lies. Jesus came to them. In a new body, in a resurrected body. He came and breathed on them the Holy Spirit. God is the source of each new day, our new life.
If your hope is anywhere but in God it is misplaced and you need to allow that hope to die, so that you can receive the life of God.
Maybe you have been serving God for years, but there is no life there, there is no real hope. Is it time to ask yourself the hard question? What am I placing my hope on? Who am I trusting? Myself, or God?
My hope is built on nothing less, Than Jesus’ blood and righteousness. I dare not trust the sweetest frame, But wholly trust in Jesus’ Name.
Refrain: On Christ the solid Rock I stand, All other ground is sinking sand; All other ground is sinking sand.
When darkness seems to hide His face, I rest on His unchanging grace. In every high and stormy gale, My anchor holds within the veil.
His oath, His covenant, His blood, Support me in the whelming flood. When all around my soul gives way, He then is all my Hope and Stay.
When He shall come with trumpet sound, Oh may I then in Him be found. Dressed in His righteousness alone, Faultless to stand before the throne.
Refrain: On Christ the solid Rock I stand, All other ground is sinking sand; All other ground is sinking sand.