Last weekend the world slowed to acknowledge Easter celebrations. Homes filled with scents of slow roasted meat, chocolate abounded in workplaces, stores and tummies of all shapes and sizes. It’s Amazing! The Carpenter from Nazareth, the unrecognized Savior of the world, stops the world while holding the world together, still today. Some celebrations come and go, but the celebration of Easter will never stop.
John Ortberg writes, “True celebration is not pleasure for personal gratification … this always follows the law of diminishing returns, so that what produced joy in us yesterday no longer does today … Our capacity for joy diminishes. When we celebrate, we exercise our ability to see and feel goodness in the simplest gifts of God … Our capacity for joy increases!”
When I jetted to Israel months ago, I couldn’t get enough of the empty tomb. I wanted to put up camp there and live in the comforting shadow of the massive rock stashed just near the gaping entrance. Even though I couldn’t build myself a shelter in the rock’s shadow, I have been reminded this week that we are completely powered to live in light of the tomb, and God’s stone-turning power everyday.
In Israel, as I gazed at the massive rock plopped beside the entrance of the Christ-tomb replica, I was astounded by it’s size. Sometimes in my own life, I can feel like barriers and challenges are tomb-rock sized and I forget the rocking power of God that flows through my veins. Jesus was all about turning things over and upside down – but he had to extend effort to allow God’s power to flow through him. At the temple, he upturned tables, in the synagogues he upset the Pharisees, on the Sabbath he healed, and he was brazen enough to eat with tax collectors and have Samaritan chums. Jesus was not afraid to upturn the stones between Him and God’s mission: To love God and love people. The tomb symbolizes death, decay and destruction and when that stone rolled, the pathway was paved for you to receive from God the very Spirit of Christ in all of His confidence and power. If there are stones that are preventing you from receiving and experiencing the love of God today – make it your mission to extend your effort to uproot those stones, hurts, or thoughts. As you turn every area of your life over to Christ, He will leave no barrier stones unturned that may lay in your path.
“Jesus looked at them and said, ‘With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.’” – Matthew 19:26