Happy Easter! Hallelujah! Jesus is Alive! He is Risen! He is Risen Indeed! All hail the power of Jesus’ Name!
Last Sunday, our Praise Team at my church presented a Palm Passion & Praise service using selected scriptures and praise and worship music to share the journey of Jesus during His last week on earth. It truly was a powerful and touching service, and I had the honor of closing the worship time in prayer. I thought I would share that prayer with you today.
“Crying out in a loud voice, Jesus said, “Father,into your hands I entrust my life.” After he said this, he breathed for the last time.”
Luke 23:46 – CEB
There is joy in an Easter Monday, is there not? It is a day for joy and praise, a day for singing and smiling! The tomb stands empty. Our Lord is risen! Yes, a day for joy indeed!
But we did not arrive at Easter Monday without passing through Friday. They call it “Good Friday,” but the events of that day felt anything but good. There was suffering in that day. There was torture. There were tears and fears, sneers and jeers. There was betrayal and rejection, lies and deceit. There was blaming and shaming and shouting. Everything that was inhumane about humanity showed up on that day.
The crowd that had so easily sang out “Hosanna in the Highest” had changed their cries to “Crucify!” The brightly colored cloak that had covered the donkey’s back had been exchanged for a purple robe and a crown of thorns. The palm branches had been replaced by the lash of a whip.
It all went so very wrong, and yet, it went exactly as God had planned. He chose to use the horrible to bring us the incredible. On that hill of Golgotha, God overcame evil with good. He took humanity at its very worst and gave us His very best.
“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:16, NIV). God sent His one and only Son as a sacrifice for us, an atonement for our sin. God was not surprised by anything that happened on that awful Friday.
No, our Lord Jesus chose the cross. He chose the nails. Jesus took the curse of sin and death and transformed it into a blessing, the blessing of the cross. For the blessing of the cross is grace. It is grace for you, grace for me, grace for all of us, now and forevermore.
“But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”
Romans 5:8 – NIV
O Lord God Almighty, Worthy is the Lamb! Worthy is the Lamb that was slain! Worthy is the Lamb that was slain for me, for us, for all of us. O Lord Jesus, You are worthy! You are worthy, worthy of our praise! You are worthy of all blessing, all honor, all glory!
Our hearts break when we consider how You suffered for our sake. You were mocked and scorned, beaten and abused, subjected to horrific torture. You heard each strike of the hammer, felt the nails pierce your flesh. You felt the weight of all our sin as you hung there on that cross. You endured all that for us. You allowed it to happen so that we could be redeemed.
By your sacrifice, we are saved. The curse of sin and death is transformed into a blessing. It is the blessing of the cross. For the blessing of the cross is grace. It is Your gift of salvation, Your gift of forgiveness. You took our list of sins and nailed them to the cross. You washed the ink, that dark black ink, away with Your own blood. The list is no more, our slate is wiped clean. We are forgiven. We are restored to a right relationship with You.. We are redeemed by the blessing of the cross.
O Lord Jesus, how can we everthank You enough for what You have done for us? Our words are not enough. Our songs are not enough. Our praise is not enough, and yet, it is all we have to give. So Lord Jesus, we give you our thanks. We give You our praise. You are our King, and we owe You everything. In Grace, in Goodness, in Glory, You are our Portion forever.
In the Mighty and Powerful and Beautiful Name of Jesus, we give our thanks and praise,