On a Sunday morning long ago, when the disciples of Jesus first encountered their risen Lord, they “came to him, clasped his feet and worshipped him.” (Matthew 28:9)
Since that time, Christians have set aside time each year to commemorate the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus. This observance has been known in other languages as the (Christian) Passover. English-speaking people refer to it as Easter.
“He is not here: for he is risen, as he said. Come, see the place where the Lord lay.” (Matthew 28:6)
After many years of celebrating Easter from my youth and participating in egg hunts and receiving candy every year and getting new clothes, Easter easily became one of my favorite holidays. However, this past November, I was privileged to visit the Holy Land — not the replica in Orlando, but Jerusalem itself. It was life-changing to say the very least.
I prayed at the Western Wall, went to the pool of Bethesda and so much more, including visiting the actual tomb where my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ was laid. He has risen, and He forever lives in the hearts of those who accept Him as their Lord and Savior. Today, Christians everywhere will celebrate the newness of life by remembering the work on the cross and the events leading up to His Resurrection.
There is a deep, spiritual consciousness embedded in the hearts and minds of radical believers that stimulates us when we consider the sufferings of Christ for our sins. We are children of God, heirs and joint heirs with Christ, which means there are present-day sufferings we must endure as we serve and live for Christ and pick up our crosses and follow him. We are living epistles, being read of all men even as we adhere to the written epistles that govern our lives as dedicated born-again Christians. Being Christ-like is being like Him, being imitators of Him. It is, therefore, our responsibility to be effective witnesses. We die daily to our flesh, knowing that in the flesh dwells no good thing.
I encourage you on this Resurrection Sunday to remember that pain and persecutions are indicators of a life of Christ. If you are going to reign with Him, you also must be willing to suffer with Him. Our present-day sufferings cannot be compared to those who suffered for the sake of the gospel many years ago. Peter was crucified upside-down on an X-shaped cross, and it was said it happened this way because he told his tormentors he felt unworthy to die the same way Christ had died.
Happy Resurrection Sunday. May God’s blessings be with you all!
Murray is the pastor of Fellowship of Love COGIC and a member of the United Ministerial Alliance