I think it is funny how God speaks to me sometimes. Many people ask for signs but I ask for billboards - just to make sure I get it! He sent me one yesterday. Literally. We were coming back from out of town when we passed a billboard that was faded and said, "The Message Of Easter". My first thought was I guess no one else wanted to rent the billboard right now. Then I thought of how God could use that months later. Then I realized God was talking to me!
What is the real meaning of Easter? I think John tells us in John 1: 29, "The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him and said, 'Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!'" As Christians, we celebrate the resurrection of Jesus from the dead after he was crucified. At Easter we celebrate salvation through our Savior, Jesus. It was the ultimate sacrifice for all of us when, after three days, Jesus arose and gave victory over death and sin. Easter is a reminder of the hope that Christians have knowing that will spend eternity with our Heavenly Father.
I know that but I think God knew I needed to focus on this gift of God's salvation. I think I was to be reminded Easter is not just a week, it is a gift of a lifetime, for all eternity. Maybe God wants me to think about it as a state of mind. As we say in church on Easter morning, "Christ has risen! He has risen indeed!" Maybe God wants me to share this message of hope!
I think a lot of us would agree that an appropriate verse for 2020 is John 10:10, "The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy..." and we stop right there. That is probably what the disciples were feeling when they saw their Lord on the cross. They were devastated and hopeless. Death had crushed them. I bet, like us, they forget the Easter message at the end of the story, the rest of the story. They had heard Jesus tell them, "...I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full..."
There were lots of "2020's" through history. Think of Apostle Paul and all he went through, shipwrecks and beatings and yet he declared in Philippians 3: 8-10, "What is more, I consider everything a loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them garbage, that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in[a] Christ—the righteousness that comes from God on the basis of faith. I want to know Christ—yes, to know the power of his resurrection and participation in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death..." Paul had a resurrection state of mind. They carried that hope with them through the hard times.
There is unbelievable pain this this world. There are desperate people in desperate situations who desperately need help. They need to hear the gospel. John 14: 6, "Jesus answered, 'I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.'"
Carrying this hope and having it as a state of mind will change the way we look at each day. That hope will help us overcome feelings of despair, grief and depression. That hope will help us move forward. We need to be sharing the gospel to those who need the offer of new life, those who need hope. Matthew 18: 5, "And whoever welcomes one such child in my name welcomes me." Matthew 25: 40, "The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’" Imagine the incredible power of hope we can offer to the broken and hurting.
Apart from God, this world is an awful and hopeless place to be! Whatever, and I mean whatever, situation you find yourself in there is hope. God's plans for us are for good. Jeremiah 29: 11, "'For I know the plans I have for you,' declares the Lord, 'plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.'" We have hope! God's Word can encourage us. Paul writes these words of encouragement in Romans 5: 5, "And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us."
We all need resurrection which gives us hope, for every day, for every situation. The message of Easter is your billboard for today! His love and mercy endures forever! "The news says if you give blood it will save three lives. I know a man who gave His blood and it was powerful enough to save the whole world."