When Easter Compels You

A roadside business in Guatemala

By Scott Linscott

What difference does the resurrection of Jesus make? Does it even matter?

Roman and Hebrew historians recorded the events of a tumultuous time in history. Jesus came into Jerusalem to an excited crowd anxious to see the Roman oppressors driven out. But, it quickly became clear that this popular prophet, on a lowly donkey, had no plans to lead an over throw. They turned on him pretty quickly.

Pilate, sick of the threats of Jewish rebellion and wanting to keep the religious-politic leadership happy, capitulated and let the people decide the outcome. It was crucifixion for a man who had himself broken no Roman law, only Jewish law. What a strange outcome.

The disciples scattered, afraid for their lives. They figured, as associates of Jesus, they were next to be tortured and killed. Scared, cowardly, timid and hiding. But then, all that changed.

Resurrection. Consider this, they went from wimpy, to bold messengers of Grace. They went from silent to so bold that no one could shut them up.

All of them, except for John, died very violent deaths because they would not deny the resurrection. They were killed because they would not stop talking about Jesus and doing what he taught them.

Think about it. What would it take to move you from scared and hiding, afraid of power, to standing face-to-face with that power, looking it in the eye and saying, “go ahead and kill me but I won’t deny the Truth of what I saw and what happened?”

Resurrection took them from afraid of the power of man to fearless. They went from being scared of death to their literal death. Why?

The resurrection changes everything. It compelled the disciples to complete change. It compelled them to come out of hiding all give everything for the cause of Christ. It proved everything Jesus had spent 3 years teaching them beyond even a hint of doubt.

Worship with family in Santa Rosa.

In two weeks I’ll head back to Guatemala. Why? The resurrection compels me. A good part of my income is given away. Why? The resurrection compels me. My free time is often spent in a variety of volunteer efforts. Why? The resurrection compels me. Our table normally includes a guest who will be alone for holidays. Why? The resurrection compels me.

My life is entirely different because I believe in the resurrection. Had it not happened, none of those men would have gone on to their deaths. They would have simply gone home and gone back to living without the Hope of new life.

They didn’t. The resurrection changed the course of the planet so that more than 2 billion people today hold to what they witnessed.

The resurrection, when investigated, accepted and understood, compels an entire realignment of life. It has to.

How can it not?

#easter #resurrection #devotional #Jesus #christian

Advertisements

Easter is more than an event

By Scott Linscott

I think I’m allergic to hype. Words like “biggest” and “best” and “life-changing” turn me into a cynic. I gotta admit, I hear them and think, “oh really?”

It’s church hype season. Easter brings out the big guns of hype. One church rents a helicopter and drops thousands of eggs and another advertises free gas cards for visitors. You’ve probably heard of the drawings for free stuff, right?

Church hype makes my stomach feel like I just bought 5 burritos for two dollars and ate them all.

I got a glossy, direct-mailer invitation to go to a church to attend one of their Easter “experiences.” I bet they will sing some songs, take an offering and have someone talk for 30-45 minutes. “Experience” sounds so much cooler than “church service.”

I wonder how much money we Christians spend collectively on bouncey houses and direct mailings trying to attract the once-a-year crowd? I’d rather spend those dollars for just about anything else instead of another annual production.

I read an article a few years back that said the most depressing Sunday of the year for ministers is the Sunday after Easter when attendance drops back to normal or even less than normal.

I feel the pressure to rev things up and put on a great show for Easter. Let’s play the Easter hymn hits, hide eggs for the kids and see if we can wow some people into actually coming back before Christmas.

But there’s that bad burrito feeling again. For me, the hype machine reduces Easter to just another annual event to attend.

The resurrection of Jesus is so much more than an annual production and performance. It changed everything. It made me an entirely different person than I would be otherwise.

Hype fades and goes away. The reality of Jesus does not. Let’s not let the eggs, helicopters, production and performances become our focus.

Warring for our own gain

By Scott Linscott

In the 9th century AD, while searching for recipes for immortality, the Chinese discovered gun powder. Over the next 600 years it changed mankind’s methods of madness from burning, impaling and crushing his enemies to blowing them up and tearing them apart.

In the ancient city of Acre, Israel, I walked through the Templar Crusader Tunnels. On display are two canons from Napoleanic times. I stopped to consider them.

Men war for riches. Men war for power. Men war for personal honor and men war for retribution. Men war for an earthly kingdom often in the name of a heavenly kingdom. Men war for love and men war for hate. And today, all that is left of these past wars is dusty rock excavations and rusty canons.

Jesus said, “My kingdom is not of this world.”

Jesus said, “Seek first the kingdom of God.”

Jesus said, “love your enemies” and “love your neighbor” and “love one another.”

Walking through mankind’s earthly kingdom ruins, whether 3000 years old or 24 hours old, I pray our eyes will be opened to the beauty of His kingdom so that we can set aside these empty ruins.

When I look into the face of my enemy, I see my brother, created in God’s image, yet warring against this world for personal gain, just like me.