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|A Dark Day, A Bright Light||04/10/2009|
In light of the tragic event that occurred on "Good Friday," our human perspective makes us wonder how the word "good" could ever apply. But because of Easter Sunday, we have a message of hope and promise through Jesus Christ.
The first time that the death of Jesus struck a meaningful chord in my own heart, I was a young teenager. As a boy with little opportunity and encouragement, I was impacted by the love of God demonstrated through the suffering of Christ. All I had ever heard about the traits and character of Jesus was praiseworthy and admirable.
I heard how Simon helped carry the cross. When I thought of Jesus stumbling beneath the weight of the cross after being beaten and weakened, tears welled up in my eyes and I thought, "I wish I could have helped carry the cross."
I do believe that somehow in my life that desire has been fulfilled for I have been able to take up a cross daily and follow Him. Denying "self," as with most people, has not only been difficult at times and without the power and strength offered through a resurrected Christ, I could have lived a life of dismal failure.
When I heard that the hostile crowd gave Jesus bitter gall and vinegar when He said He was thirsty, it tore my heart. I thought, "I wish I could have been there to give Jesus a drink of water. I would have done that." Now, because of His love and the compassionate hearts of others, I have been able to help give Jesus far more than a cup of water. We have been able to give impoverished villages and communities fresh, uncontaminated drinking water for the rest of their lives.
It's interesting that my prayers as a boy inspired a lifetime of witnessing the fulfillment of those God-inspired desires. Jesus truly took our sin and our shame. He took the penalty we never could have paid. It has been said that Jesus endured the anguish of hell because He loved us so much He did not want to be in heaven without us. Only God could love so much that He would give His only Son to take the pain and punishment for the sin of the world.
It is sad that so few people outside the Christian community are not touched by the passion of Christ. Wickedness pounded Him fiercely in the scourging, the crown of thorns, the nails piercing His sacred hands, and hanging between two thieves crying out to His father, "Forgive them, for they know not what they do." I cannot understand how that does not bring every person to their knees with gratitude for such love.
The fact, however, that Jesus asked His father to forgive His aggressors because they did not comprehend what they were doing is a clear indication they were under the power of sin and deception. Those who reject His love and sacrifice are truly held in the grasp of bondage that can only be broken by the power that raised Jesus from that grave on the first Easter. Jesus died for us, but He was raised to live in us. He has sent His Holy Spirit to create in our hearts the same spirit that filled His life. This Jesus who died now lives to express His very nature through us. I believe that far more people would come to this living Christ if they could see believers more yielded to the attributes and qualities that characterized His life on earth. He wants to release His love, mercy and forgiving power through every professing Christian.
It is my prayer that those who honor Him during this Easter weekend will honor Him every day of the year by receiving the sufficiency of His death and the forgiveness He offers at this very moment. I pray that all of us will allow His life to be expressed through us. Christ in us is truly the hope of glorifying and magnifying God as the wonderful Father that He is.
We need far more than the recognition of a holiday. We need to receive what God has offered and submit to His purpose in our lives. May the Jesus who died and was raised come alive in the hearts of all who have not yet believed and may those of us who believe become living demonstrations of the power of His death and resurrection.
Author: James Robison
Editor: Randy Robison
Word Count: 825
About the author: James Robison is the founder and president of LIFE Outreach International, a Christian media ministry and mission relief organization. He and his wife, Betty, host of the television program Life Today; He has authored numerous books, including The Soul of a Nation, The Absolutes: Freedom's Only Hope and True Prosperity.
Media Contact: Randy Robison, editor at jamesrobison.net . Photo available upon request. Reprint rights granted with attribution for complete, unedited article. Revisions allowed only with approval.