From the Pastor's Desk
A single word spoken in Greek, 2000 years ago, was the most encouraging word ever spoken. We translate it into three English words: He is risen! Suppose you had been a follower of Jesus during the time He walked in Jerusalem and had heard every wonderful word He spoke. How would you have felt when they arrested Him, tried Him unjustly, and crucified Him? Now imagine your thoughts when you heard those powerful words spoken. He is Risen! The amazing message of the resurrection is found in those three small but powerful words! At St. Paul's we celebrate those words not only on Easter Sunday but every day of the year because those words encourage us more than any message ever could. There is no one like our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
Because Jesus conquered death we are encouraged. When we think of all the prophets who have ever walked on Earth, as believers, we know that every one of them is dead with one exception. What can a dead prophet do for you? If you answered not one single thing, you are correct. Only Jesus Christ has conquered death. The tomb is empty, and now He sits at the right hand of God the Father in heaven. There He is our advocate. He intercedes on our behalf before the Father. He cares for us and knows all of our needs. Through the gift of the Holy Spirit we have guidance and are empowered to live as believers who can rejoice and be encouraged because Jesus lives today and for all eternity.
Jesus did not come to earth simply to teach, preach, and heal. We read in 2 Corinthians 5:19 that “God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself.” Every single one of us was separated from God because of our sin, but Christ has brought us back into a loving relationship with our Heavenly Father. Our debt has been paid in full on the cross where Jesus gave His life as a sacrifice removing the stain of our sin by shedding His own blood.
We are encouraged because we are going to live forever. No one who ever lived, other than Jesus, could claim to have lived a life without sin. Because sin is simply too powerful for us, God sent His Son into the world not to condemn the world but to save the world through Him. Jesus Christ is our hope of salvation.
We are encouraged because we know that we have an eternal home waiting for us. Knowing that our loved ones are with God and that we too will be with God someday brings not only comfort but also encouragement. How sad it is for those who believe that there is no life after the body physically dies. Jesus told His disciples that He couldn't stay in this world because He had the task of going to prepare a place for us. This place where we will spend eternity is definite, specific and a wonderful place.
We are encouraged because God has a special plan for our lives. We don't have to wait for eternal glory to experience the hope and joy offered to those who believe in Jesus Christ. We can have the assurance that He has a specific plan for our lives. He wants us to know Jesus not only as our Savior but also as our Lord. His plan is that we receive all the good things He has in store for every believer. And His ultimate goal is that we would enjoy Him, serve others and bring Him glory every day of our lives.
Rejoice! He is Risen!