Sunday, April 21, 2019

Easter Sunday Message - Listen, Learn and Live

Today is Easter, the day that Jesus arose from the dead and gave us the victory over death. But, I find it very interesting that his disciples and followers found it so hard to believe in his words. It is easy to believe in death. Remember on Friday, they saw him nailed to a cross and witnessed his death. His lifeless body was taken down and put in a borrowed tomb. As he breathed his last breath, he uttered those final words recorded in John 19, “It is finished!

They heard the words and saw him die on that cross, but they allowed their understanding of death to obscure the true meaning of his last words. They had listened and had not learned the depth and truth of his words. He had told them that the Son of Man would be betrayed, tried and sentenced to death. He also told them that on the third day he would rise from the dead and end the grip of death over our lives. Each heard the words, but failed to learn. 

Jesus, in all of his speaking, never lied to them. He performed great miracles. Peter even professes aloud that Jesus is truly the Son of God. When the disciples were asked by Jesus who people thought he was, Peter, as written in Matthew 16 says, “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.

In that one statement, Peter utters the words that remain, from then to today and beyond, the basis of our faith. When we accepted Christ Jesus as the master over our lives and publicly professed him the same way as Peter, we not only listened to Jesus’ words but we have also learned. As a consequence, we live a life devoted to loving and worshiping our Heavenly Father and serving and loving others. We have listened. We have learned. We are living.

But, when we look back at the moment of Jesus’ resurrection from the dead, we see the disciples clinging to the final words of Jesus and only understanding their meaning through their own understanding. When Jesus said that it was finished, they applied their own understanding to his words. They thought that his life was finished and that was it. Nothing more would come. He would be buried and that would be it for Jesus. They did not fully learn the meaning of those words or fully comprehend the meaning of Jesus’ statement that the Son of Man would be raised from the dead.

Notice what Jesus says in Matthew 16. “23 Jesus turned to Peter and said, “Get away from me, Satan! You are a dangerous trap to me. You are seeing things merely from a human point of view, not from God’s.

Jesus’ disciples and followers only saw things through the lens of their human existence and not from God’s. Each only knew that when a person dies, it was over. People stop breathing, turn cold and die. It was their truth and what they had learned, but they failed to take the next step which is to live in the Word.

By living in the Word, we know the truth of Jesus and fully understand what he shared with his disciples. Jesus, in John 14, tells his disciples, “6 I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one can come to the Father except through me. 7 If you had really known me, you would know who my Father is. From now on, you do know him and have seen him!

Once again, if we just listen to his words, learn the lesson of those words, we can live life abundantly. Our lives would be complete and fulfilled. We would live in joy and a peace like no other. It is not enough just to listen, we need to learn and then act in accordance to the Word and God’s will. It is just as simple as that. There is no need to overthink any of this. We listen, learn and live.

For those who have not accepted Christ Jesus as their personal Savior and Lord, there will come a time that you feel something moving not only in your heart but also your soul. It will be the Word working in your life. At other times, the Word will be drowned out by the noise and confusion of the world. Its message is sin and darkness. Even with the noise, the Word will continue to speak to you and you will hear. Will you listen to the Word? Will you see the truth as bright as the noonday sun?

Once you begin to listen, you will begin to learn of God’s love for you and what He did. He gave His one and only son as our perfect sacrifice so that the debt of sin would be paid for once and for all time. After you learn the story of Jesus and the meaning of the Word, there will come the time when you will stand up and say the same words as Peter, “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.” At that moment, you have overcome the world and grip of death. You are free of sin and have been given the gift of life eternal with the Father, His son and the whole of Heaven.

As you continue through this glorious day, remind yourself of the truth. Always listen, continue to learn and live not for this world but for the life beyond this in the presence of the Father. When you do those things, you can, most assuredly, stand firm in His grace.

The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit.

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