It has been almost 2,000 years since the miraculous event of Jesus' resurrection occurred. Jesus, in His desire to redeem humanity lost in sin, laid down His life for us. Christ was not a mere victim; though innocent of the charges he was accused. Our Savior chose the cross. "For the joy set before Him," He endured a death beyond our imagination. Scripture points to this magnificent work of God on behalf of those He created. The death we deserved, our Savior, the Lamb of God, endured. The life we were to live, He had already lived perfectly. Jesus, the last Adam, would forever put the stamp of grace on those who trust in Him as their Lord and Savior.
As we approach Easter, one of the signature "religious" holidays celebrated by the Christian church, I pray you see the celebration of Jesus' victory over death much more than a religious event to commemorate. Those who seek abundant life through exhausting or ritualistic religion will never realize the entire purpose of Jesus dying on the cross. Furthermore, they will never experience the beauty of daily rest in a living Savior, who now lives to give them guidance, purpose, peace, victory, and rest. There is nothing wrong with religion, if your religion is all about relationship. Furthermore, if one is truly resting and walking with Jesus every day, it will not lead to sin. Resting in Christ will lead to walking and running, loving and sharing, and ultimately to a life of worship as we seek for Him to be glorified. Christian living will be based on being loved, and loving. Any boasting will be in Christ, and not us.
The above passage speaks of a great cloud of witnesses who came before us. These witnesses are those who had faith in God. Their faith was not a blind faith, but a faith in who God was, who He said He was, and what He said He would do. Yes, we are to look to Him in faith. Focus on Christ, and not the flesh. The tangles of sin and flesh are strong, yet Jesus alive is how we overcome. Indeed, we can run with endurance because Christ is the one doing the running! His strength within is mighty and perfect, so we must trust in Him alone.
One more powerful thought must be noted in considering the above passage. Jesus is sitting down at the right hand of God. Why in the world is Jesus sitting? We understand sitting to be a place of rest. To be sure, Jesus is sitting down, resting, because He has done what is necessary to secure our salvation. The work is done! Jesus overcame the power of death and sin, and our only hope is to trust in Him. Because Jesus is alive, death has been conquered, once and for all. When you worship this Easter Sunday, enjoy some rest. Rest in the fact that Jesus did what was needed for you to have forgiveness. Rest in the fact that His overcoming the grave has secured something that will far outlive "religion." It secures a loving, eternal relationship with a Savior who loves us far beyond imagination. Rest in the fact that you are loved.
So, you might ask, am I supposed to do anything? Yes! Repent of sin and rest in Jesus. Don't try to earn your salvation, because you can't. Trust in Christ. The Living Christ will work in you incredible miracles as He leads you into a glorious adventure of a new identity in Him. Listen to Him speaking, trust in Him, and live. He is alive! Praise be to God, Jesus, our Savior, is alive!
Ashley Mofield is the Senior Pastor at White House First Baptist Church, 2800 Highway 31 W in White House, (615) 672-3266.