With this being the season of Easter, we stop and reflect on what Christ did for us many years ago on that cross. We see His grace, His forgiveness, and His unconditional love for us. However, looking at those things allowed me to think deeper in a way that I never really had before. Sure, I know that He loves me and everyone around me despite what we do as sinners. I know that He paid the ultimate price. I know that He is my loving heavenly father who smiles on us and chooses to bless us every day.
While I saw all of those things and I am reminded of them often, I thought about God’s promise in that context. It encouraged me, so I hope it encourages you.
So, many years ago before Christ, in the Old Testament, there were many prophesies made about how God was going to save His people, and how He was going to lead them out of Egypt, or bring someone to rule the people, and these did come to pass. We have the slaves freed and God used amazing people to do that. He lead people to the promise land that He had said was going to be the Israelites. He brought people back from the dead. Many promises, miracles, and proclamations were made, and they all were completed.
In the New testament, we see many of the Old testament prophesies coming true. The Savior being born in Bethlehem, from a virgin. He was going to lead the people. Heal the sick, give sight to those who could not see, help people to speak and walk. He did all those things. All of the proclamations that were made in the Old testament were coming true. People were beginning to see that His word is good and true. They were believing that He truly was the one that was prophesied to come and save them. As He continued to walked this earth, He was performing miracles that no one before him could do. He was living a sinless life, loving people and going and doing what His father wanted Him to do. (Matthew 21)
Near the end of His life, He told His disciples in Matthew 16: 21 that, ” From that time Jesus began to explain to his disciples that he must go to Jerusalem and suffer many things from the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and on the third day be raised”. Peter told Him, “‘Never Lord!’ he said. ‘This shall never happen to you!’ Jesus turned to Peter and said, ‘Get behind me, Satan! You are a hindrance to me; for you are not on the side of God, but of men.”
Matthew 17:22-23, “As they were gathering in Galilee, Jesus said to them, ‘The Son of man is to be delivered into the hands of men, 23 and they will kill him, and he will be raised on the third day.’ And they were greatly distressed.” This is the second prediction that Jesus has told people. Again this is something that people cannot understand. How could someone so perfect suffer such a terrible death and come back to life?
Matthew 20:17 says, ” And as Jesus was going up to Jerusalem, he took the twelve disciples aside, and on the way he said to them, 18 ‘Behold, we are going up to Jerusalem; and the Son of man will be delivered to the chief priests and scribes, and they will condemn him to death, 19 and deliver him to the Gentiles to be mocked and scourged and crucified, and he will be raised on the third day.” This was now the third time that Jesus had said that He was going to die and rise again on the third day.
Matthew 26- Jesus is arrested
Matthew 27- They mock Jesus, He is crucified, He is buried.
During this time, all the people around Him could not understand what was happening. They had just seen this man perform all these miracles and doing what He said that He was going to do. They all saw His love for them. They felt the father’s love, yet there before them was the one who was dying a death that he did not deserve. They were sad and confused. It did not make sense how something that was supposed to save them, something that had been doing all of these amazing things, needed to be sacrificed. They were losing their hope or so it felt.
During the time of waiting, people were still saddened. They had seen Him die. No one had come back from that unless Jesus Himself brought them back or God healed them. But how could the healer heal Himself?
Then on the third day, there was an earthquake, the veil was torn and He rose from the dead!! He did what He said that He was going to do! He fulfilled the promises that had been spoken many years ago and the words that He had spoken earlier.
After He rose, He went and His disciples came to Him. They worshiped Him. They had seen that He really was the one that God had sent. He was it! Now that they had seen the greatest sacrifice given, they were now tasked to go and tell people about what had happened. They needed to go and share the truth with everyone around them. They had been given a gift. One that they did not want to see die. One that they loved. One that they had longed for. One that they had been praying for, the one that they needed to let go, come back to life. They went from there and told people about all that they had seen and heard. (Matthew 28).
When thinking about this in our lives, sometimes God gives us hopes and dreams that He puts on our hearts. Ones that we do not want to give up on. Ones that we have prayed for, and longed for. When we do not receive what we have been praying for, we must seek Him always, and do all that we can with what He has given us. We must live our lives as Christ did, just as He told the disciples to do. The Bible says that He will give us the desires of our heart (Psalm 37:4) as we delight ourselves in Him and seek Him with all that we have. It also says in Matthew 7:7 that, “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you”. Seeking Him in every situation and doing all that He asks us in obedience to him, will allow us to be blessed. He sees us, and smiles on us. He is a happy father when He sees us doing what He wants us to do.
So, the next time you come across a time where something is painful, hurtful, or really difficult and it seems impossible, remember what He did for you. Remember that He fulfilled His promises. Remember that He is using you to go and reach His people right where you are. To love them with an unconditional everlasting love. He wants to use you, just as Jesus commissioned the disciples to go and spread the Gospel, He is using you to go and love on people that need love and point them to the one that loves them the most. To the one who paid the ultimate price for them.
He fulfills His promises.
He will never let you down.
He loves you Always and Forever.