We celebrate Easter at the end of this month, the day a dead man named Jesus got up and walked out of the grave. Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ was crucified, dead and buried, to pay the penalty for the sins of all those who would put their trust in Him, by grace through faith. And on that first Easter morning, the ground began to shake, the stone was rolled away and the King of kings and the Lord of lords walked out of the grave. The enemy death could not hold Him. The grave could not keep Him. The guards at the tomb could not stop Him. There was no power in the universe powerful enough to render Omnipotence impotent and keep Jesus in the grave.
“After the Sabbath, at dawn on the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went to look at the tomb. There was a violent earthquake, for an angel of the Lord came down from heaven and, going to the tomb, rolled back the stone and sat on it. His appearance was like lightning, and his clothes were white as snow. The guards were so afraid of him that they shook and became like dead men.
“The angel said to the women, ‘Do not be afraid, for I know that you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified. He is not here; he has risen, just as he said. Come and see the place where he lay. Then go quickly and tell his disciples: He has risen from the dead and is going ahead of you into Galilee. There you will see him. Now I have told you’” (Matthew 28:1-7 NIV).
When Jesus was raised from the dead…just as He said, death was driven into the ashes of defeat once for all. Death, which for a little while held Him in the grave, would now be rendered powerless forevermore. Jesus really was who He said He was, and He really did what He said He was going to do…just as He said!
Because we have been raised with Christ…just as He said, we can take Him at His word…every single one of them and trust Him even when we cannot trace Him. So, between now and Resurrection Sunday, let me give you just two statements of incredible encouragement that I pray will comfort you as you seek to live for the One who rose from the grave…just as He said!
- You are known
“And even the very hairs of your head are all numbered” (Matthew 10:30 NIV)
If Jesus knows the very number of hairs on your head, with some strands falling out each day and new ones growing in, can you imagine anything He does not know about you? Jesus knows you intimately and still loves you unconditionally. He knows the deepest desires of your heart. He knows your fears and your frustrations. He knows your victories and defeats in life. He knows your suffering and your sorrow. He knows your worries and your wanderings. He knows precisely the condition of your body and your bank account.
Jesus knows your heart’s cry in your singleness as you pray and wait for God to bring that special someone into your life. Jesus knows your heart’s cry in your barrenness as you pray for that miracle baby to be numbered among your family. No one knows you like Jesus. No one cares for you like Jesus. No one is there for you like Jesus. Take a moment to look in the mirror or your hair brush today and consider the fact that your God knows the number of hairs on your head. To be so known and still so loved should be to you a source of unimaginable comfort.
- You are valuable
“So don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows” (Matthew 10:31).
Jesus not only says He knows you intimately, but He says you are valuable. When was the last time you thought about your worth? Now I’m not talking about your net worth, but rather, your self-worth. If you bought something for a dollar and something for a thousand dollars, which item would you consider of greater worth? Obviously the item you paid the most for. Well, the same formula can be used when considering your worth in God’s economy. You were bought by Jesus at an infinite cost (1 Corinthians 7:23) as He laid down His life for you.
You see, the cross of Christ demonstrates just how valuable you are to God. He sent His son Jesus to pay the penalty for your sin. Jesus took your beating, your scourging, your crown of thorns, your nails and ultimately your separation from the Father. The price God paid for you in the death of His son is incalculable. You are more valuable than you could ever imagine, and Good Friday and Easter Sunday is to remind you of that fact, not just this month, but moment by moment.
As a pastor, I minister to many hurting hearts each week. Pain and suffering is simply part of living in a fallen and broken world as fallen and broken people. Now I don’t know where this finds you, but I do know this: either you are coming out of a season of suffering, heading into a season of suffering or living smack dab in the middle of a season of suffering right now.
Because there is no fourth alternative, it is critical that you remember you are known and you are valuable, just as He said! May you and your family be blessed this Easter season, and remember, HE IS RISEN…just as He said!
This is the Gospel. This is grace for your race. Never forget that…Amen.
Tommy Boland is senior pastor of Cross Community Church in Deerfield Beach. He blogs regularly at tommyboland.com.