During Holy Week eight years ago I visited a Jewish synagogue. The rabbi showed us around and I was captivated by the ornate craftsmanship and architecture. I was in Zwolle, Netherlands and this beautiful, yet simple place of worship was tucked neatly into the city center—a hidden gem I would have never found on my own.
The rabbi started to explain the golden plaques on the walls filled with lists of names. Sisters and children, fathers and friends—all left on trains never to return. My heart broke and suddenly a period of history I had read so much about became more than words, a painful reality. And when I didn’t think my heart could break any more, the rabbi said something I will never forget, “We leave the door open for Him… we wait with expectation for the Messiah to return.”
While I was preparing to celebrate Easter—one of the most joyous Christian holidays– they were still waiting for Jesus to come for the first time. My hope, anchored in my belief that Jesus had come and died and rose victorious over the grave, was the very foundation of my whole being. It was the hope that carried me through that semester abroad filled with uncertainty and questions.
The rabbi looked back at the open door and let out a long sigh. “He will come…and we will wait.”
I reflect on this encounter every Easter and think on how different life would be if I were still waiting for Jesus to come.
What is life without hope in the risen Savior? Imagine your life without His promises and peace, His purposes for you.
But even if you do believe “up from the grave he arose” do you believe He has hope for you today? That He is able to bring His heavenly healing and restoration and peace and provision into your life here on earth? Or are you waiting until you enter the pearly gates to experience His joy?
How many of us are still living as if Jesus has not yet come the first time— burdening ourselves with religious laws, trapped in condemnation and fear and accepting a life of brokenness. We live without receiving Jesus’ offer of continual transformation, grace, freedom and invitation into sonship.
“Christ is the end of the law so that there may be righteousness for everyone who believes.” Romans 10:4
“Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because Through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit of life set me free from the law of sin and death.” Romans 8:1
It is easy to cling to eternity as a future hope—an end goal—instead of a reality that can come crashing down into our lives today. How would we live differently if we clung to the promise that we can experience Jesus’ Kingdom here on earth?
“The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel.” Mark 1:15
“The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.” John 10:10
You, my friend, are a new creation (2 Cor 17)! You are hidden in Christ and made alive in Him! Jesus invites us into His new covenant—one that offers us a life free of shame and condemnation and full of His power.
This life-changing concept has been new to me in the last couple years, and learning how to step into this is radically changing everything!
“For He has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.” Colossians 1:14
“For God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love and of self-discipline.” 2 Timothy 1:7
So this Easter, as I think of the joy that will come with the Sunday morning worship– the trumpets, the victory, the HOPE; I want to challenge and encourage us to think on two things:
1) Who in my life has yet to experience this hope? Who is still trapped in darkness? And invite them to church with you on Sunday morning (holidays are less intimidating for new people!) and / or to your house for lunch afterwards.
2) Spend some time asking the Spirit to reveal to you the power and joy that is available to you through Christ today. What does Christ’s victory over sin and death mean for your life? Are you living as a slave or a son / daughter (Romans 8:15)?
His Kingdom has not fully come, and so we live in the tension of boldly inviting it to break into our reality, while also waiting for its fullness with Christ’s second return.
“Pray then like this: “Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name. Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.” Matthew 6: 9-10
Let’s live as resurrected people, ALIVE in His grace!