Now that Easter Day has passed by us, many think "it is time to move on and look toward the next holiday" (Mother's Day, Graduation, etc). But, like Jesus' disciples, many want to ponder the happenings surrounding the death, burial and resurrection of our Lord for a time. Reflecting on the events of that last week of Chirst's life, the horrors of the crucifixion, the shameful actions of the soldiers, religious leaders and those in the crowds along the road to Golgatha - all of this is enough to make "non-believers" see the Truth 'right before their eyes' (thief on the Cross, the centurion who believed at the Cross, and others who beat their breasts in shame that this could happen to such an innocent man - Luke 23).
But as the first day of the week unfolded, Matthew 28 mentions the women who hastened to the tomb to give proper burial rites to Jesus. The world stood still when the angel of the Lord said to them: "He is not here, He has risen just as He said He would do!" That message has echoed across the ages, bringing faith and hope to millions who received this Good News. Even as the early disciples joyfully embraced Him, men and women of all ages and races have heard and believed the news ("He is risen!), and have passed it on to this generation. And now we must pass it on!
Easter (The Resurrection Day) has always been the event that sets apart our Christian faith from all others. No other deity can claim to 'conquer death and it's sting'. No other God claims to "forgive man's sin, provide a permanent sacrifice for this sin, and make His disciples joint-heirs in His holy kingdom." What an eternal reward for becoming a disciple of Jesus and allowing His love to permeate our lives! Only Christians can claim to have the 'seal of God's Holy Spirit" upon them leading them into 'paths of righteousness'.
On Easter Sunday, 1959 (age of 19), I made my public declaration to accept Christ into my life, confessing my sins and asking Him to forgive me of them. I took my public stand in College Place Baptist Church (Monroe, LA). Like Paul, I was saying to the world - "I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes, first for the Jew, then for the Gentile. For in the gospel a righteousness from God is revealed, one that is by faith from the first to the last, just as it is written: "The righteous will live by faith." (Romans 1: 16-17). That very night I was allowed to give an 'outward expression of what I had professed inwardly' and was baptized. What a glorious "Spiritual Birthday!" But I knew I must press forward, putting my Christian convictions to work in my life.
Some may want to cling to the Cross and lament the suffering and shame of our Lord. Others may despise the Romans and Jewish leaders for allowing the cruel treatment of God's Holy Son. The Bible reveals that this was the path Jesus knew He would travel. He prayed that "this cup might pass from me"....but ultimately He came to this prayer: "not My will, but Thine be done." When we come to the point where we truthfully pray this prayer, then we can move beyond the cross and receive Jesus' directive (Matt 28: 19-20) "Go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I will be with you always, to the very end of the age."
With these marching orders, we must leave the cross; turn around and see the multitude in such desperate need of the love of God. We must 'go, make disciples, baptize and teach God's commands'....to the world.(Jerusalem - Minden; Judea-our state; Samaria - our nation; and to the ends of the world -Europe, Africa, Americas, Asia, Australia, etc). Acts 1: 7-8. "The Cross behind us and the world before us,,,as we go in His name".