EASTER: What Will You Do With a Risen Savior? (1 Peter 2:4-12)

The other major religions of the world have a host of similarities to Christianity. Most of them celebrate the birth of their leader or principal teacher. They have worship rituals. They have holy books. They have fasting and/or festival days for their religious calendars. There is one totally unique and distinguishing feature of the Christian faith, to which those other religions have nothing comparable. The resurrection of its founder. Easter. A risen, reigning, and regenerating Savior.

In Christian Reader magazine (Vol.35, No.2), William Barrick tells about a Good Friday service several years ago at a Baptist Church in Bangladesh. The building was so packed that the children were seated on the floor in the aisles and across the front. Other adults had to stand to the sides and at the back of the room. Special arrangements had been made to show the part of The Jesus Film that recreates the crucifixion scene.

As Jesus was nailed, raised onto the cross, and mocked by the onlookers, people in the room wept. It was as if the people – most of whom were surely seeing a dramatic reenactment or visual “performance” of that scene for the first time ever – were transported across space and time to the foot of Jesus’ cross. They sensed both the physical pain and spiritual agony of Jesus. They gasped. Tears flowed freely. Some were beginning to weep aloud as the emotional moment of the death of the Son of God was coming to its climax.

In that gripping moment, one young boy in the crowded building suddenly stood and cried out, “Do not be afraid. He gets up again! I have seen the film before!” A little boy’s heartening cry gave hope to the distraught people: He gets up again! A similar cry across the centuries has given hope to millions who have believed in Jesus: He is risen!

Writing about thirty years after the resurrection Peter – the same apostle who disappointed his Master by denying him but who had been reclaimed and commissioned to ministry again – pleaded with his readers:

Come to him, a living stone, though rejected by mortals yet chosen and precious in God’s sight, and like living stones, let yourselves be built into a spiritual house, to be a holy priesthood, to offer spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. For it stands in scripture:
“See, I am laying in Zion a stone,
a cornerstone chosen and precious;
and whoever believes in him will not be put to shame” (1 Pet. 2:4-6).
In orthodox Christian theology, the key to everything is Jesus. Thus the calling to anyone who wants to honor God is to believe in Jesus. To demonstrate such faith in conscientious obedience. To live in the joy of pardon and in the certainty of eternal life. To be an instrument of God for leading those who are still in the darkness of sin into the light of Jesus’ redeeming presence. Thus Peter continues:

But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s own people, in order that you may proclaim the mighty acts of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light.
Once you were not a people,
but now you are God’s people;
once you had not received mercy,
but now you have received mercy.
Beloved, I urge you as aliens and exiles to abstain from the desires of the flesh that wage war against the soul. Conduct yourselves honorably among the Gentiles, so that, though they malign you as evildoers, they may see your honorable deeds and glorify God when he comes to judge (1 Pet. 2:9-12).
So what will you do with him? How are you going to react to the Risen Savior?

Let’s celebrate Easter with the rite of laughter.
Christ died and rose and lives.
Laugh like woman who holds her first baby.
Our enemy death will soon be destroyed.
Laugh like a man who finds he doesn’t have cancer
or he does but now there’s a cure.
Christ opened wide the door to heaven.
Laugh like children at Disneyland’s gates.
This world is owned by God and He’ll return to rule.
Laugh like a man who walks away uninjured from a wreck in which his car was totaled.
Laugh as if all the people in the whole world were invited to a picnic and then invite them.[1]Give him the praise of your grateful heart and obedient life. Give him the worship he is due at all times. And give everyone you can influence by word and deed the invitation to his festival of redemption.

[1] Joseph Bayly, Psalms of My Life (Colorado Springs: David C. Cook, 2000).

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