No one has ever been as surprised as I was on September 9th, 1971! It was the day that I was “born again”. Reborn from a “life” that was “a living death” (and I knew it) into a new life, a different life, a spiritual life that started in a moment, and I knew it!
“Like the little girl said when her daddy asked her, “Do you know what Easter means, honey?” The three-year-old, throwing up her arms, shouted at the top of her voice, “Surprise!” Yes, indeed! Death was surprised! Sin was surprised! The grieving disciples were surprised! Modern man is surprised! Jesus is alive—and the whole world is filled with His resurrection miracles!”
This is my take on it…
Everyone in the world, pretty much, celebrates Jesus’ birth, though there are concerted efforts to remove Him from the whole affair. It’s funny, because most of the “traditions” surrounding the time of year we call “Christmas” aren’t even “Christian” (and we’re not even sure about the “time”!)
Only Christians celebrate “Easter”, and this is funny too, because this is the event that the whole world SHOULD celebrate. It is also “funny” that it is a “celebration” of someone’s DEATH, and a cruel and gruesome one at that.
Well, there is a lot more actually known about Jesus’ death than his birth, believe it or not. His birth was somewhat ethereal, supernatural and only witnessed and believed by a precious few at the time.
I’ll leave out “the middle bit”, all the events and miracles of his life. These too are also believed “by faith”, even by those that were there at the time.
But His death? This was SO “down to earth”, undeniable, witnessed by so many, with a literal earth-shattering taking place, followed by…(keep reading)
Very few people today seem to want to take The Bible “literally”. Even many who call themselves “Christians” will explain away things that ordinary people find “unbelievable”, expecting that their rationalisations will make what they claim they believe more acceptable. (I really wonder about these types personally).
Then there are those who make it all seem so complicated, trying to explain “faith” by “interpreting” every facet of what is written completely, and all at once, like you have to believe it all BEFORE you can become “a Christian”. (I really wonder about these types too).
But it is all so much simpler…
Man was created “eternal” at the beginning. Even after his “fall” he lived for hundreds of years. Yet all die since, as it was explained by our Creator that we would. And “death comes unexpectedly” to quote one of my favourite and funniest lines from the movie “Pollyanna”. I know this to be true, because after being born again it (almost) happened to me August 31st, 1974.
So, we can’t get out of this life alive.
If you want to, you could try and place all the blame on Adam and Eve, but seriously? Do you really want to claim that you wouldn’t have made the same decision that they did? What lie have you been following, adhering to, since you were born? Think about it! You can call it “human nature”, and we are ALL the SAME, right?
So, we all die. It is inescapable. But there is “an out-clause”!
Hebrews 2:14,15 : Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, He also Himself likewise took part of the same; that through death He might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil; And deliver them who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage.
THIS was Jesus’ WHOLE PURPOSE in coming!
THIS was the surprise I experienced September 9th, 1971. I KNEW it in A MOMENT, the moment I took Him in, and I have been alive ever since! And the best part? I STILL AM and, it is ETERNAL!
Is there ANYONE who DOESN’T want the SAME? It is EASY, a GIFT! Just RECEIVE it/HIM! As follows…
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.
The same was in the beginning with God.
All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made.
In him was life; and the life was the light of men.
And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not.
There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. (The Baptist)
The same came for a witness, to bear witness of the Light, that all men through him might believe.
He was not that Light, but was sent to bear witness of that Light.
That was the true Light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world.
He was in the world, and the world was made by him, and the world knew him not.
He came unto his own, and his own received him not.
But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name:
Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.
And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.
There was a man of the Pharisees, named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews:
The same came to Jesus by night, and said unto him, Rabbi, we know that thou art a teacher come from God: for no man can do these miracles that thou doest, except God be with him.
Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.
Nicodemus saith unto him, How can a man be born when he is old? can he enter the second time into his mother’s womb, and be born?
Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.
That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.
Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again.
The wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh, and whither it goeth: so is every one that is born of the Spirit.
Revelation 3:20 (Jesus speaking)
Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me.
And the real kicker…
Jesus not only didn’t STAY “dead”, but He got a new body, and then returned to where He came from, as WE will!
Yet MORE “surprises” in store and to come people! 😄
I once heard someone say that he thought Easter ought to be made the premier Christian holiday, ahead of Christmas. That’s not likely to happen, of course, but he presented an interesting line of reasoning.
If Christmas gives us reason to hope, he argued, Easter gives us cause to celebrate. Christmas marks the arrival of the long-awaited promise, but Easter marks the ultimate fulfillment of that promise. Christmas marks the beginning of the earthly life of the King of kings; Easter marks His coronation as the Savior of mankind.
The Easter advocate went on to make an even stronger case for Easter being a joyous occasion, not a sad and solemn one. His argument here was simple: Jesus wants it that way. He wants us to marvel at His love and sacrifice and celebrate His resurrection, not mourn His death. (I couldn’t have agreed with him more on that.) He quoted Jesus three times to back up this claim:
Before His crucifixion Jesus told His disciples, “If you loved Me, you would rejoice because I said, ‘I am going to the Father.’” And a little later, “Your sorrow will be turned into joy. I will see you again and your heart will rejoice.” And finally, when Mary Magdalene and the other Mary were the first to see Jesus after His resurrection, the first thing He said to them was ‘Rejoice!’”
Easter is almost here. Let’s be Easter advocates and make it the happy occasion He wants it to be. Let’s celebrate! Let’s praise God and Jesus for the victory! Jesus lives! And because He lives, we will too—forever!—Keith Phillips
When I was dying on the cross, I felt forsaken. But when I rose from the dead, everything was new, everything was different, all the pain was forgotten. There was no remorse or sorrow, because the anguish of dying was consumed by the joy of My resurrection. The pain of death was swallowed up by victory.
Easter is a holiday celebrating victory, triumph, and overcoming. So think about the good things I have brought your way. Think on the good, the positive. It’s a day to forget any sorrow or pain or discouragement, and to focus on the joyful and the victorious.
Remember the great love I have for you—the love that led Me to give My life for you, and the love that gave Me the power to rise up in new life, also for you.—Jesus, speaking in prophecy
The miracle of Easter is that because Jesus didn’t remain in the grave, we don’t have to either! We don’t have to suffer death, the payment for our sins in hell, or eternal separation from God. Jesus took that punishment for us, and then rose in new life! And His new life can be inside us, giving us hope and peace, as we are filled with His love. He arose! And we who believe were also born anew. Hallelujah!—David Brandt Berg
Easter commemorates the event that is at the heart and soul of your faith, the foundation of your faith. It’s the knowledge that, because I died for you and rose again, we’ll never be separated—not by sin or shortcomings or any human weaknesses.
It’s also the heart and soul of your happiness—the happy-to-the-core kind that lives on in your heart and spirit no matter what is happening in your life. It’s the wonderful peace that comes from knowing you’re saved, you’re free, and you’ll live with Me forever. It’s an unchangeable factor in a constantly changing world.
Easter is always a good time to get back to the basics of your faith. A time to not only thank Me for the gift of salvation, but also for the beautiful and intimate gift of our personal relationship, which came about because of My sacrifice and My Father’s great love for humanity.
What comes to mind when you think of Easter? Depending on where you’ve grown up—your background and culture—it can be many different things. For some, Easter brings thoughts of white lilies and a sense of starting over—regrowth, rebirth—because My resurrection wiped the slate clean of sin. For others it’s visualizing Me on the cross and experiencing an overwhelming sense of gratitude at the price I paid for humanity’s freedom. For others it’s about forgiveness. For others it’s a time to celebrate family, friends, and all the blessings that life has brought. It’s about all these things and more.
Celebrate Easter! Think about My love for you, which is so great that I was willing to die for you, to sacrifice all for you.—Jesus, speaking in prophecy