Date: March 27, 2016
By Carol Round, Special to ASSIST News Service
CLAREMORE, OK (ANS – March 27, 2016) -- “Though he was God, he did not think of equality with God as something to cling to. Instead, he gave up his divine privileges; he took the humble position of a slave and was born as a human being. When he appeared in human form, he humbled himself in obedience to God and died a criminal’s death on a cross”— Philippians 2:6-8(NLT).
I can recall the day as if were just yesterday. Almost 15 years ago, an emptiness I couldn’t explain began chipping away at my heart. I was in my late 40s. I was lost and even if I didn’t know it, God did. He wouldn’t give up on me.
On a sunny October afternoon, I prayed aloud for the very first time. My simple prayer was, “God, help me. I need some direction in my life.” Since that day, I have been on a journey, a quest you might say, to know my Savior and Lord more deeply, to understand God’s will for my life and to use my gifts for His glory.
Trying to fully comprehend the sacrifice that Christ made for mankind is mind-boggling, sometimes even for those who believe. Still more breath-taking is what happened three days after his cruel death on the cross.
For those who doubt, I wonder where or in whom they place their hope. Christian apologist Ravi Zacharias says, “Outside of the cross of Jesus Christ, there is no hope in this world. That cross and resurrection at the core of the Gospel is the only hope for humanity.”
Hope and a desire to spread the Good News of His resurrection is what drove the disciples. Even facing hardships, they didn’t give up. Christian author Erling C. Olsen once wrote, “Whoever reads the New Testament seriously, or gives thought to the impact which the apostles made upon their generation, must acknowledge that one outstanding historic event alone spurred that small band of 11 ordinary men to an amazing task of evangelization in their generation. Defying every obstacle, loss of home, persecution, even death itself, they evidenced the supreme relevance in their ministry of the resurrection of Jesus Christ.”
How many Christians today are willing to face the obstacles, losses, persecution and eventually death that these men embraced on their mission to make disciples for Jesus? I would hazard a guess that not many of us who live in America and sit in our comfortable pews on Sunday mornings would be willing to die for our faith. However, Jesus has called us to leave the church building. And, just like the disciples, He asks us to drop what we’re doing to share the Easter news.
Just as Christ didn’t remain in the grave, we must give up our attachment to worldly things to take up His cross. Author Clarence W. Hall says, “The resurrection of Jesus changes the face of death for all His people. Death is no longer a prison, but a passage into God’s presence. Easter says you can put truth in a grave, but it won’t stay there.”
PHoto captions: 1) He is risen. 2) Carol Round.