by Sally Matheny
|Christ's Resurrection: Deny It or Apply It|
These are the decisions people make around this time of year. They can even choose a combination. I’m pretty sure you cannot go wrong with chocolate—ever. Okay, maybe in quantity consumed, but as far as the choice of thickness, then no. Furthermore, combining hollow, solid, and even crispy chocolates are okay.
Not everything has to be an either/or selection.
However, some things in life demand a solid stance on one side or another.
Easter is drawing near. It’s more than a celebration of spring and new life. It’s a time to commemorate Christ’s resurrection. Will we deny it or apply it?
One of Jesus’ disciples, Peter, provides us with a testimony of Easter reminders to help us decide.
Easter reminds Christians to have faith—even in the midst of chaos.
“Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” Hebrews 11:1 (NKJV)
Peter, a disciple of Jesus, loved Him. He swore his allegiance to Him. When the soldiers came to arrest Jesus in the garden, Peter drew his sword. Heart beating wildly in his chest, he tested his courage by swinging his sword toward the high priest’s servant.
Jesus rebuked him and ordered him to put away his sword. Confusion silently crept in Peter as he watched Jesus relinquish to the guards.
Following Jesus at a distance, Peter’s mind must have been whirling.
Why doesn’t Jesus change the situation as He has done before? He’s quieted a raging storm, supplied for many out of practically nothing, and even brought the dead back to life. Why does He not take charge of this chaos?
Suddenly, the unthinkable happened. Everything seemed out of control. If his Lord was bound and beaten, Peter must’ve been wondering what could possibly happen next. What would become of him? Had Jesus lost His power? The enemy ensnared Peter in a tsunami of fear.
Easter reminds Christians not to fear the world.
Coupled with worry, worldly fear dictates our flesh. Although Peter’s spirit was willing to follow Jesus, his flesh was not.
Three times Peter denied his relationship with Christ. Caught up in the moment, the words flowed quickly.
However, after the third rejection, an ordained moment came when Peter came face-to-face with Jesus.
Nothing imaginable compared to the realization of disowning Christ. The threats of humiliation, pain, or death paled to the anguish of denying Christ.
Then He came to the disciples and found them sleeping, and said to Peter,
"What! Could you not watch with Me one hour? is willing, but the flesh is weak.” Matthew 26:40-41 (NKJV)
Because of Jesus, we can relinquish an exterminating, worldly fear in exchange for a life-saving godly reverence.
“Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom which cannot be shaken, let us have grace, by which we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear.” Hebrews 12:28 (NKJV)
Easter reminds Christians of love and forgiveness.
No matter how many times we’ve ran away from God or how deeply we have disappointed Him, He still loves us and longs for a relationship with us.
“This is how much God loved the world: He gave his Son, his one and only Son. And this is why: so that no one need be destroyed; by believing in him, anyone can have a whole and lasting life. God didn’t go to all the trouble of sending his Son merely to point an accusing finger, telling the world how bad it was. He came to help, to put the world right again. Anyone who trusts in him is acquitted; anyone who refuses to trust him has long since been under the death sentence without knowing it. And why? Because of that person’s failure to believe in the one-of-a-kind Son of God when introduced to him.”
John 3:16-18 (MSG)
Peter longed for Jesus’ forgiveness. He ran to an empty tomb in search of Him. He jumped out of a boat in a sprint once he caught sight of Him. Peter craved forgiveness. He hungered for a restored relationship with his Friend, his Lord, and his Savior.
Jesus understood the needs of Peter’s heart, soul, and mind. Three times, Jesus asked Peter,
“Do you love me?”
Three times Peter said, “Yes, Lord.”
And Jesus restored him by telling him the same words with which he had called him,
Easter is a celebration of Jesus Christ’s resurrection. Out of love for us, He chose to die as atonement for our sins so that when our ordained moment arrives, we will be able to face our Savior and live with Him forever.
Do you love Jesus Christ?
He does not envy or boast. He is not prideful, rude, or self-seeking.
A Christian is not easily angered and keeps no record of wrongs.
A Christian does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.
A Christian always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
A Christian knows God is love and love never fails.
(based on 1 Corinthians 13)
Christ’s resurrection—are we denying it or applying it?
If you enjoyed this post, you may also like to read: "Why Christians Are Afraid to Speak Up and How to Squash Those Fears."