An Easter Devotional

 

I was at a church in Manhattan last year on Easter. The reason why I bring this up is because the pastor made a statement I found interesting.

He believed that the greatest symbol in Christianity wasn’t the Cross, but the Empty Tomb.

As Easter begins, I can’t help but think about why the Resurrection is the greatest event in the course of history. That’s not to say the Cross isn’t of equal importance, because it is. I think of it as two sides of a coin. Without the Empty Tomb, the Cross wouldn’t matter. And without the Cross, the Tomb wouldn’t matter.

If Jesus never suffered death on the Cross, then His resurrecting wouldn’t mean anything for us today. Likewise, if He had not been resurrected, then the Crucifixion also wouldn’t matter as much. The Death on the Cross is monumental because here was a righteous man, condemned for no justifiable reason. He only did good, yet suffered an agonizing death which every other person deserved. As it says in Romans, For one will hardly die for a righteous man; though perhaps for the good man someone would dare even to die. But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. For us today, we see the Cross as a symbol for something we deserved. We can go on saying how great of a people we are but when it comes down to it, are we really all that good? Have we not lied, hated, and lusted at some point? Yet here was Jesus, never doing one of these things, but He was taking the punishment. How unfathomable it is that God would make Himself mortal and die such a painful death, for imperfect human beings!

Before Easter is Good Friday. A person might ask: how is it that a person dying be called a good day? We would find out Sunday. Why is the Resurrection so important and vital to us today? Well, first off any person can die that death. But no human can conquer death. Jesus performed many miracles during his stay on Earth, but none greater than He himself coming back from the dead. Only God has that power. For many, this completely sealed the fact that He was indeed the Bread of Life, God Himself. That’s the first reason, and the second is also very important. His Resurrection means that those whom are children of He will also be resurrected. We too conquer death, because He did. What an awesome revelation!

I like bunnies as much as the next person, but the true meaning of Easter represents so much more. The Old Testament consistently mentions about God’s plan for redeeming humankind through Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross. From the end of the book of John forward the New Testament consistently calls back to it and also the fact that Christ ascended to Heaven. These two events are so important because they give us the greatest thing: salvation. I’m reminded of the verse Hebrews 7:25 as I’m typing this.

“Therefore he is able to save forever those who come to God through him, because he always lives to intercede for them.”

What a great verse to put in our hearts. When we come to God through Christ, he saves us completely. He doesn’t save us partially, no, He saves us 100%. That’s why Easter is a day to be celebrated: Christ died and was resurrected so we could live a meaningful life, which would lead to spending eternity with Him. To accept His gift is the greatest decision a person can make.

Happy Easter everyone!

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Devotional: The Maze

Pac-man maze

I think everyone has played PAC-MAN at least at some point. Many have fond memories going into the arcade and popping in those quarters for a chance to beat the high score. The idea of this game as many of us know is that you have this maze. Inside it there are all these little dots and the goal is to have Pac-Man chomp until there are no more dots left.

Of course, it wouldn’t be a game unless you’re able to lose at it.

There are these ghosts which appear and chase Pac-Man all throughout the maze. In order to stop them and gain more points, there are these big dots known as “Power Pellets.” When Pac eats one, he gains the ability to chomp the ghost and acquire more points. The game never gets old and could be the very definition of a timeless thing.

Lately I can’t help but see just how much the concept of PAC-MAN applies to everyday life.

Life can often seem like a maze. Maybe not so much as a kid, but as one starts to enter high school, college, and becomes an adult, the feeling of running around aimlessly can appear. We often try to “find the right path” and end up zig-zagging through obstacles but end up arriving back at the start.

When I started college I didn’t know which degree I would ultimately be pursuing. I thought maybe English, or Journalism. Eventually everything pointed to Communications. Even with this choice, I still from time-to-time feel like I’m in a maze. I don’t know where I’m going with it, and what lies at the end.

But He does.

When we play PAC-MAN, we see the whole maze. Pac himself only sees what’s in front of him. But we, the players, see where he should go, and we direct him. Likewise in the real world, God sees the overall maze. We only see what’s in front of us. He wants to direct us to the right path. In fact, to Him there is no maze. There’s only one straight path. When we try to do our own thing, try to accelerate something when we shouldn’t, we deviate from that path and find ourselves back in the maze.

Not too long ago I was approached for a job in marketing. Part of me was thrilled, because maybe this was finally my “breakthrough” and I could move on from my part time job at the register. But another part of me was suspicious because the way it was presented didn’t seem right. Before arriving at the building for the interview, I found out information which told me this wasn’t part of the path God had for me. If I would have went down that road, I would have deviated off the path God had for me.

In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He will make your paths straight.” ~Proverbs 3:6.

This is a well known verse, and one we need to put more into practice. If you commit everything you do onto God, that maze you feel like you’re in will turn into a straight path. This doesn’t mean it’s smooth sailing, because there will often be obstacles. Then like Pac-Man, we need Power Pellets. A child of God has the ultimate Power Pellet at the ready: the Holy Spirit. What are some other Power Pellets we can use? The two primary ones are prayer and reading the Scriptures. A prayer can be, “God, I would like this obstacle to be removed, but I know you will give me the strength to get through it.” Having verses locked into your head is also one of the most invaluable things a person can have.

We ultimately don’t know with certainty what God has planned for us individually. What we do know is that His plan is to make us more like Jesus, which should be enough to propel us. We don’t see the goal, only He does, and He will direct us to it if we simply trust in Him and commit ourselves.

Only then can we escape the maze.