He walked out of the grave

I had the great privilege of visiting the Holy Land recently. It was stunning. Beautiful country – lush, fertile – not at all as I’d pictured it. To sit and look at the Old City and realize that all of humanity came from this place and even today, still revolves around it is awe inspiring.

The LORD gave me a new excitement for my faith on that trip. It is this stark realization that He is God and He is writing an immense story right before our eyes. That Jesus came and invaded earth to take back the captives and set hearts free. That I was a sinner permanently set apart from God but He pursued me and He saved me. Do you remember this feeling? The excitement you felt when you first truly understood that you were saved for a purpose?

It is easy to lose this feeling. Remember, we are in a world at war and the enemy of your soul wants to bury you in busyness to take away the passion you have for Jesus. We grow up and find ourselves immersed in the church (ever served on a church committee?) and ministries and missions. All worthy things. But they aren’t Jesus. Time and years go by. We age and become a bit cynical. Life stings us and wounds us and we have some bitterness. Perhaps the church has disappointed us and we’ve become hardened and even untrusting of religion.

Wild at Heart and other men’s things come along and we grab ahold of them and in some cases, they reignite our passion for the LORD and we come alive. Amen to that! But even in that, we can get lost in the campfires and cigars and men talking to men and carrying pocket knives and adventure hunting and … lose sight of Jesus. Don’t get me wrong, all that’s great and in my story, God has used many things to bring me along and wake me up. But make no mistake, Wild at Heart (or any other ministry or church) didn’t save me. Only Jesus did. He walked out of that grave and that is all that matters.

He was willing to come as a baby, grow into a man and walk among us to feel our pain and understand our suffering. He loved me so much that He was willing to carry it to the very end – the divine counter attack launched on the enemy of our soul to come as a man and die for us.

In the garden, He pleaded for God to take this away from Him.  I’ve always thought that was the pain, the humiliation, the nails, the death that He wanted to be set free from.  No.  ALL Jesus had ever known was the Father.  They breathed each other’s breath.  They communed.  His thoughts were the Father’s thoughts.  100% connection, all the time in perfect love and union.  It was all that Jesus ever knew.  The oxygen of His Father washing over Him, sheltering Him, protecting Him, delighting in Him.  In the garden that night, He knew.  He knew that for the first time, He would disconnect from the Father and be covered in our sins.  It wasn’t the sins that He feared … it was the separation from the Father.  The only thing he’d ever known was that brilliant, warm, bright light shinning upon Him.  He was about to step into utter darkness with absolutely no connection with His Father.  But, He did it.  He took that burden upon Himself for me.  For you.  He was willing to give it all up to save us.  And most importantly, He walked out of that grave! 

In all the busyness of this world, my job, family, possessions, deadlines, etc. it is easy to lose my passion for Jesus.  It is easy to become cynical over the local church. It’s easy to slide into neutral with our faith and only give it a few minutes a day. We rapidly lose whatever connection we had with the Father and we focus more on our addictions or our career.

It all starts and ends with Jesus. Jesus walked out of the grave! Every year archeologists discover more and more evidence of His existence and they’ve never found any evidence that this isn’t true or that Jesus wasn’t real. The evidence is mounting that the end of days is drawing near. Russia and Ukraine and now China. The Saudi’s just signed a treaty with Iran – their arch rival. The day is drawing near when Israel will stand alone. Where will the U.S. be? We don’t know but I wonder if we don’t self-implode in our radical divisions, financial problems and so much self-absorption that we can’t be there for Israel. It is coming – one day. Jesus will return and He will set everything right and usher in the Kingdom of God. Do you believe it? Does that thrill you? Do you have a story of faith to tell? Then go tell it!

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