The Cross and God's Victory

I love Easter.  I love hearing the children's excitement when they find the eggs that have been carefully hidden about the grounds of our church.  I love engaging in conversation and fellowship with members of my congregation during our morning breakfast.  And I love worshiping with God's people as we celebrate the risen Lord through songs, prayers, baptisms, and sharing in holy communion.  God's presence and love is experienced in a special way on Easter Sunday.  

But there is so much more to the Easter story, and so much more to our story.

Over the past several weeks of Lent, I have been reminded that the journey toward the empty tomb and the excitement experienced in the hearts of those who spoke with the risen Lord had been preceded by betrayal, denial, suffering, humility, and sacrifice.  The resurrection does not occur without pain, it does not take full effect without death.  In Hebrews 2:9, the writer states "(But) we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels, now crowned with glory and honor because he suffered death, so that by the grace of God he might taste death for everyone."  The crucifixion of Jesus was necessary for our salvation, the taste of death experienced by the Son of God made it possible for you and for me to be made holy before a holy God.  Recently I ran across a post from Bishop Will Willimon regarding the necessity of the cross:
"The cross, it appears, is not optional equipment for a faithful ministry. The cross, the self-giving, emptying of God in the crucified Jesus—God’s great victory over sin and death through divine suffering—is the primary ethical trajectory of the New Testament." - Bishop Will Willimon (link here)
 Let us celebrate with great joy the resurrection of our Lord and the hope of resurrection that we have secured in our hearts because of what God has already done in Jesus.  Praise God for the cross, and praise God for victory over death... forever!

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