The Story is Not Over!
“As evening approached, there came a rich man from Arimathea, named Joseph, who had himself become a disciple of Jesus. Going to Pilate, he asked for Jesus’ body, and Pilate ordered that it be given to him. Joseph took the body, wrapped it in a clean linen cloth, and placed it in his own new tomb that he had cut out of the rock. He rolled a big stone in front of the entrance to the tomb and went away. Mary Magdalene and the other Mary were sitting there opposite the tomb. The next day, the one after Preparation Day, the chief priests and the Pharisees went to Pilate. “Sir,” they said, “we remember that while he was still alive that deceiver said, ‘After three days I will rise again.’ So give the order for the tomb to be made secure until the third day. Otherwise, his disciples may come and steal the body and tell the people that he has been raised from the dead. This last deception will be worse than the first.” “Take a guard,” Pilate answered. “Go, make the tomb as secure as you know how.” So they went and made the tomb secure by putting a seal on the stone and posting the guard.” Matthew 27:57-66
No rock can hold my Lord. No tomb can hold my God. He was not made by human hands. He was delivered unto death by human hands, but He was not defeated. Yet the day between Good Friday and Easter Sunday is always somber for me. As I reflect on the sacrifice of Jesus Christ, I can’t help but feel sadness for all those who refused to believe Jesus was the Son of God – the Messiah. He was their Deliverer, but they wanted political and socioeconomic deliverance… not deliverance of the soul. Jesus could have come down off the cross. He could’ve showed them all He was God. But He didn’t. He stayed… because He loved us.
Wow! Think about that for a moment. God loved us so much that He sent His own Son to His death – to be illegally tried, beaten, humiliated, crucified. “Crucify Him!” the crowds shouted. And He was. It breaks my heart. I’m having a hard time writing this without crying as I listen to the words “When I Survey the Wondrous Cross.” How beautiful the depth of God’s grace through Christ’s sacrifice and how brutal the death of my King!
It’s easy to be caught up in despair. The little lies we tell ourselves…
“I’ll never be good enough.”
“I’ll never get out of this situation.”
“I’m so stuck.”
“I feel so empty.”
“My life is so meaningless.”
“I don’t matter. I don’t have a purpose.”
It’s easy to give into doubt… the little doubts that creep in…
“Maybe no one cares.”
“Maybe God has abandoned me.”
“Maybe I don’t deserve to be loved.”
“Did Jesus really die for me?”
Take your worries, your fears, your insecurities, your pain, your sorrow, your doubts, and your despair to the foot of the cross. Jesus was crucified for you. He took your sins upon His back and died on your behalf. No other god loves like our God loves. No other god, no other human would’ve died for the sins of that many. No other human could. It had to be someone perfect. It had to be someone human. It had to be Jesus Christ. Jesus had to lay in the tomb for three days before He could rise again, slaying sin and crushing death. But the story is not over! Meditate on these words with me.
When I survey the wondrous cross
On which the Prince of Glory died
My richest gain I count but loss
And pour contempt on all my pride
See from his head, his hands, his feet
Sorrow and love flow mingled down
Did ever such love and sorrow meet
Or thorns compose so rich a crown
O the wonderful cross, O the wonderful cross
Bids me come and die and find that I may truly live
O the wonderful cross, O the wonderful cross
All who gather here by grace draw near and bless
Were the whole realm of nature mine
That were an offering far too small
Love so amazing, so divine
Demands my soul, my life, my all
~Wondrous Cross by Chris Tomlin and Matt Redman
Today I am baking cookies for Easter baskets. But I’m not baking any super special cookies. I’m just baking what I normally bake. But today they have a different meaning for me. They remind me not to despair – that I do matter, that Christ died for me, and that He loves me with an everlasting, ever-purifying, intimate, beautiful, radical, and wild love!
I’m baking peanut butter cookies to represent how thick and deep the Father’s love for us.
“See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God!” 1 John 3:1
I’m baking gingersnaps because ginger represents strength.
“Do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.” Isaiah 41:10
I’m baking chocolate chip cookies because the sacrifice of Christ is so sweet.
“For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Romans 6:23
Today take a moment and reflect on what Christ’s death means to you. Pick an object to represent this meaning and set it someplace you will see it readily. Spend time in prayer with your spouse, praising God for the hope He gives us.
Here are some other ideas I’ve collected from around Pinterest:
- Prayer Pretzels
- Crown of Thorns Cookies
- Hot Cross Buns
- Resurrection Cookies
- Easter Cookie Prayer
- Easter Nativity
Why is the cross so wonderful for you? What is your response to the sacrifice of Christ? Are you willing to give your all in exchange for eternal life and the love of a God who desperately wants all of you?