Sunday, April 4, 2010

New Life

Today makes seventeen Easter Sundays for me. About fourteen Easters ago, I gave my heart to Jesus. At that moment, I became a completely new creation. Jesus gave me new life!

Three days ago, we began the Easter holiday by watching the Passion of the Christ. While watching that movie, I was able to better understand what Jesus suffered for us. And I'm not only talking about physical pain. Yes - the physical pain He suffered is too much for us to imagine. But the spiritual burden He carried was even worse.
When Jesus prayed in the garden, He asked, "Father, if it is possible, let this cup be taken from me." (Matthew 26:39). I always thought He was talking about the crucifixion. But He was speaking of the burden of all the sins in the world.

All the sins in the world.

In Guatemala, one of our mission leaders explained to us what that might have been like. Remember that guilty feeling you get when you've done something bad? You know, the empty pit in your stomach when you know you should apologize for something, or when you know you've hurt someone...or the constant gnawing at your mind when you've gone against your conscience. It's a bad feeling, isn't it?
When I was younger and I had been naughty, I would feel miserable until I confessed. Sometimes it was really scary to confess, because I knew I'd probably get a good spanking. But I'd much rather get a spanking and have my conscience cleared than carry that guilt around in secret. It's a heavy burden! Often, guilt and sins stored up inside can actually cause physical sickness.
So imagine Jesus - the only human who had never committed a single sin of His own - willingly taking on the guilt of the entire world. All the guilt from all the sins you've ever committed...all the sins I've ever committed...all the sins of the people from the beginning of the world, to sins of the people who haven't yet been born.
He carried that burden so that we wouldn't have to! And He destroyed it!
Jesus was crucified. But by the power of the Holy Spirit, He rose from the dead! He is alive today, and will live forever.
Easter is all about celebrating Jesus' new life. But Jesus died so all of us could have new life. You don't have to carry the guilt of all your sins. All you have to do is accept Jesus' gift of salvation. Believe that he carried your sins once so you wouldn't have to ever again. Believe that He died and rose from the dead, and entrust Him with your heart! Then you - and anyone - can have new life!
"If anyone belongs to Christ, there is a new creation. The old things have gone; everything is made new!" 2 Corinthians 5:17
But according to the Bible, "new life" doesn't happen just once. It can happen everyday.
"So we do not give up. Our physical body is becoming older and weaker, but our spirit inside us is made new everyday." 2 Corinthians 4:16
Easter is more than going to church, eating a big dinner, and hunting eggs. It's all about new life. But as 2 Corinthians 4:16 says, our spirits are made new every day. So we can celebrate life every single day.

Thank you, Jesus, for dying for all of us. Thank you for coming back to life! I'm so glad you took all my guilt and shame so that I won't have to be burdened with it anymore. Thank you for giving me new life, and giving it to me every day. I love you Lord.


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