I remember thinking last year on Easter how I couldn’t wait for the next Easter in 2020!
Easter is my favorite Sunday out of the whole year to celebrate, but being in Thailand it wasn’t the best one. I remember it being 115 degrees. I was in the parking lot ready to leave at 4:30am to go pray for sunrise service and didn’t get home that day till after 8:00pm. We had mushed rice for breakfast with onions but instead I ate cereal with hot milk. This isn’t what Easter is all about, but it helps when you can celebrate it with a good breakfast, people who understand your language, and even celebrating at a decent hour. (Haha)
This year I have to say it’s quite different as well. This isn’t how any of us pictured celebrating Easter, yet here it is.
The churches are empty, but so is the grave!
Christ is Risen and our hearts can rise today knowing that He is!!
I chose this title because “The Climb to the Grave” is how we got Easter in the first place. There are three points I wanted to make with this.
1. The Cup
Mark 14:36 Jesus says, “Abba Father, all things are possible for You. Remove this cup from Me. Yet not what I will, but what You will.” So we know that with God all things are possible. We read that, we know that, but also what we have to learn is God did remove it. Not in the way we would expect it to be removed. He had to get through it. (He had to “drink” what was in the cup to get through it.)
A lot of times we fight God. We pray and pray for God to take it away. We need to accept God’s will for our lives. Jesus had to accept the fact that He was there to fulfill His duty to save us, and the angels strengthened Him. He was even sweating drops of blood. He was sweating them for a purpose. That purpose was for us. After God, His Father, strengthened Him it wasn’t “over”. The climb had just begun. Sometimes when we are praying for God to help us, to strengthen us, we are praying for God to just make our lives easier rather than His will be done. (Guilty!!)
Don’t worry about what’s in your cup. God created it just for you. In some type of way, we are so concerned what’s in our cup and become afraid of what we might have to do for the Lord. Or how about someone else’s cup? Sometimes we are too busy worrying about what we think somebody else should be doing rather than focusing on what God has told us to do.
2. The Cross
Verse 23 says, “And He said to all, ‘If anyone would come after Me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow Me.’” This is the main verse I wanted to focus on about picking up your cross daily. “I found my life when I laid it down.” That’s what Jesus was doing for you and me at the Garden of Gethsemane. That’s what He was doing on the climb up to the hill of Golgotha for you and me. He was showing us by example how to crucify the flesh.
Jesus was crowned with thorns so we could have the choice of wearing a golden crown. Think about that. He wore the crown of pain, the crown of suffering, the crown for our sin, the crown of our shame, so that we might be forgiven. Notice I said might because He still did it knowing that you and I might not choose Him. That’s love. That’s the kind of love we can’t even fathom. He did it so that we can come out of the tomb and not look back. This by no means means that we will not endure hardships. But for us to know that He is alongside us during our hardship.
Sometimes we have to take that climb, that dreadful climb to the grave for Christ to be able to make something new again. On the Cross His life was taken and by His death we are awakened!
3. The Call
Jesus said, “It is Finished” not meaning finished with us but it’s our turn to follow His steps! This is our call! Jesus is good about preparing us for something when we don’t really know what He’s preparing us for. When we step back and look at the whole picture we see Jesus at the last supper telling His disciples and showing them that He’s going to be broken and poured out for us. He’s preparing them and wanting them to remember.
The resurrection gives us a perspective to know there is purpose in the pain.
You see the Cup = Choice we each have to make if we are going to accept what God’s Will is for our lives.
The Cross = Climb of continually picking up your cross daily and climbing forward in our Christian walk.
The Call = Commitment for we hear God calling us out and we need to listen and obey for the cause of the great commission.
We don’t look at the grave as it being hard this morning do we? No, of course not! It’s Easter Morning!! At Easter time we look at the grave and see a victory!! When Jesus was in there, how did we look at it then? We looked at it as hard. Over. Defeated. Sad. Overwhelmed.
While the people on the outside of the tomb were busy focusing on the stone, God was at work on the inside of the tomb. There was no stone in all of creation that would have held Jesus in that grave! Because the One Who made the stone is stronger than death!
I want to encourage you today, especially since things aren’t going right to stop looking at the dead graves of should have, would have, could have, if only; but RATHER take the risen Savior to the dead graves in your life and watch dead things come alive again.
He makes all things become new!
Those three days that just passed were the darkest days in history. But the darkest days brought light, hope, salvation, peace, faith, guidance, grace, mercy, and love to us all. When the grave turned to grace it was worth the climb.
A. W. Tozer said this: “God does His deepest work in our darkest hour.”
So don’t get stuck in the grave! It says in Romans 6:1-11 to walk in the newness of life. That if we experience a death like His we will also experience a resurrection like His as well!
This my friend is the climb to the grave. The climb is a battle. The climb is full of hardships. We don’t know what’s in our cup or what God has for us. But we know the out come for He is on the throne!
So today on Easter, give Him the cup, pick up your cross daily, answer the call, come out of the grave, and keep climbing! We are going to see a victory!!