When I think of Christ…I don’t think of Easter

17 04 2006

I love what the comedian Jim Gaffigan says concerning the Americanized holiday of Easter: “What does a bunny have to do with Jesus’ death?”

Exactly.

What a demonic distraction and detraction from the most glorious and infinitely wonderful reality that could ever be celebrated. The crucified and risen Savior is being replaced by candy and bunnies.

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I enjoyed what our pastor said to introduce his sermon on Sunday morning, “I am not going to try to explain to you how Jesus relates to bunnies. Nor am I going to try to correlate Jesus to eggs…for the Bible does not do this. However, it is my aim to draw attention to and exalt the person and work of Jesus Christ, for this the Bible does do!”

Amen.

As a sports fan I get upset when the game I want to watch gets interrupted by ‘technical difficulties’ or when the local programming chooses to cover a game other than the premier game in New England.

However, I get far more exercised over the strategic blackout of the glory of Jesus Christ that goes on each and every day in this world.

Is there anything more enjoyable or to be more highly esteemed than the death and resurrection of the Savior?

If we are talking about cost this is premier.

If we are talking about worth, Jesus reigns.

If we are talking about staying power, Jesus wins again.

At this point in my life I am more impressed with Jesus Christ than ever before, and so therefore, by God’s grace, I am more jealous for his glory than ever before.

These satanically inspired bunny trails do nothing but distract from Christ.

I therefore want to force myself to think of Christ, specifically his suffering in the place of sinners.

  • I think of Christ in his unimpeded resolve to march to the cross to bear the sins of the world. Even saying, in the face of death: “Now My soul has become troubled; and what shall I say, ‘Father, save Me from this hour ‘? But for this purpose I came to this hour. (John 12.27)
  • I think of the reality that if I was left to myself and was able to stand in the crowd that fateful day, my voice would not have cried “Hail the King!” but rather, “Crucify Him!”
  • I think of Christ, the one who is due all of the glory and honor, bearing all of my shame and dishonor, so that I might be forgiven and enjoy the eternal blessedness and enjoyment of forgiveness.
  • I think of Christ hanging naked to be made a spectacle of suffering that I might be clothed with his righteousness.
  • I think of Christ’s parched throat and cotton mouth as his tongue stuck to his cheeks, that I might enjoy the refreshment that comes from the springs of eternal life.
  • I think of Christ’s cry of abandonment (Matt. 27.46) so that I would not be abandoned.
  • I think of Christ tasting death (Heb. 2.9) so that I would never have to (John 8.52).
  • I think of Christ guzzling the eternal and unmitigated wrath of God so that I would never have to!
  • I think of Christ being raised from the dead to declare victory over sin and death.
  • I think of Christ, who is ever ready to return, this time to recompense those who will not obey his gospel (2 Thess. 1.8-9).
  • I think of Christ and I cannot think of chocolate, bunnies, or eggs…
  • When I think of Christ…I don’t think of a pagan fertility day—I don’t think of Easter.

When I think of Christ, I worship…I find myself joining in the heavenly anthem with the Apostle John:

“to Him be the glory and the dominion forever and ever. Amen. BEHOLD, HE IS COMING WITH THE CLOUDS, and every eye will see Him, even those who pierced Him; and all the tribes of the earth will mourn over Him. So it is to be. Amen. (Revelation 1.6-7)





Reclaiming the Heaven of Heaven

11 04 2006

worship_sfw2.jpgIn thinking about heaven, as revealed in the Scriptures, I am struck by the God-centeredness of this place.

We so often today employ the word heaven in terms of something that brings us pleasure. For instance, ”this cheesecake is a slice of heaven”, or “I was in heaven during the NCAA tournament”, ect… And for some people, and regrettably so, cheesecake and basketball may be all they think about when they think of heaven.

However, for Christians, this cannot be!

For heaven is not about you, me, cheesecake, or good basketball, but rather, it is about the Almighty God receiving the glory due his name, through the uninterrupted and sincere exaltation of his precious and pleasing Son, the Lord Jesus Christ!! This is heaven indeed.

Christ, himself speaking of this reality, prays to his Father that he would soon enjoy the uninterrupted joy that he has always and eternally enjoyed (John 17.5).

The Apostle John, via a gracious Holy Spirit transport, writes for us of the content and mood of heavenly discourse in the book of Revelation:

Revelation 5:11-14 11 Then I looked, and I heard the voice of many angels around the throne and the living creatures and the elders; and the number of them was myriads of myriads, and thousands of thousands, 12 saying with a loud voice, “Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power and riches and wisdom and might and honor and glory and blessing.” 13 And every created thing which is in heaven and on the earth and under the earth and on the sea, and all things in them, I heard saying, “To Him who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb, be blessing and honor and glory and dominion forever and ever.” 14 And the four living creatures kept saying, “Amen.” And the elders fell down and worshiped.

There is no time for generic heaven in the real heaven….because heaven is the heaven of God!

Perhaps so many people would not be claiming that they are in fact going to heaven if they really knew what heaven was about!

Heaven is not about being reunited with our grandparents, our deceased pet fish or anything else that has origins on earth, rather it is about the redeemed saint of God coming face to face with the infinite glory of the Savior, and beholding it!

Heaven is about worship!

Heaven is about praying not in the future tense, “Hallowed be your name” but in the present tense, “Your name is hallowed!”

I cannot fathom the reality of having the impediment of this sin-cursed body removed, only to be fully controlled by divine love, with my own selfishness eradicated forever, while beholding my beautiful Savior through glorified lenses.

Join me as I try to think about heaven more often, even dwelling upon the reality of it, the ceaseless praise that is going on right now to the blessed Savior for his wrath drinking death upon the wood of Calvary.

And in educating our affections, let’s also educate those around us with this glorious reality.





Remember Jesus Christ

15 03 2006

2 Timothy 2:8 8 Remember Jesus Christ, risen from the dead, descendant of David, according to my gospel,

The Lord Jesus Christ is too often forgotten by His creation, as we are amused and distracted by the shimmer of this world. The Scripture commands the follower of Jesus Christ to remember, to keep remembering the Savior; to tattoo the glorious King upon our minds that we might reflect upon and rejoice in him.

Specifically remember his life; that he, being himself God, with no obligation came and put on human flesh to perfectly bear the demands of the Law of God. These demands were too much for us, as we, his creation, found ourselves defaming the glory of God at every turn. But Jesus Christ, the eternal God, put on flesh to save sinners.

Remember also that Jesus rose from the dead. This assumes of course that he died. O’ the dread of this reality!! Never has a greater act of injustice occurred than to crucify and murder the innocent Son of God! Mockers may say what they will about Christians, but the Savior is without fault! But, He in love, died.

Death could not hold the prince of glory though. For Jesus Christ was raised by the power of God and declared the Son of God with Power! (Romans 1.4) The resurrection of Jesus Christ declares that God has accepted His sacrifice and that he will indeed judge those who reject him (Acts 17.30-31).

The Jesus of Nazareth is the Jesus of the Gospel. He is the promised King, the descendent of David, the hope for Israel and the world. He is altogether beautiful to the broken spirit. Therefore, in effort to lasso the Christian’s resolve, we see the apostle exhort the believer to “remember Jesus Christ”. What a blessed charge! Is there not a more joyous gaze for the Christian than to stare in gracious befuddlement upon the Savior? For it was Jesus and Jesus alone who was born for sinners, lived for sinners, died for sinners, and was raised for sinners.