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Christ’s resurrection cause for joy

Summer and sunshine.

Peas and carrots.

Children and laughter.

Some things just go together naturally.

So it is with joy and the resurrection. The empty tomb of Jesus Christ is joy’s catalyst; its benefits transcend anything that conspires to rob our joy.

As Christians celebrate the resurrection, we marvel afresh at the root of all joy.

Jesus’ incarnation was announced by heaven’s angels, who promised “good tidings of great joy.” Yet it is the empty tomb, and its relation to Calvary’s cross, that fulfills this promised joy.

Because Christ has risen, we know God’s word is true. Whenever we doubt God’s promises – and we all do at times – let us remember the empty tomb. God keeps his word.

Because Christ has risen, we know our sins really are forgiven as we trust in Christ as our savior. The joyous gospel is not merely that God loves us and wants to make our lives better, but that we were once separated from God by sin, and through Christ that sin is forgiven.

The Apostle Paul preached the gospel this way: “… Listen! We are here to proclaim that through this man Jesus there is forgiveness for your sins. Everyone who believes in him is declared right with God …” (Acts 13:38-39 – NLT)

Because Christ has risen, this life – with all of its struggles – is but a vapor compared to the eternal life in heaven promised to those who believe.

The Apostle John, who stood at the foot of Calvary’s cross as Jesus declared “it is finished,” found unquenchable joy in the empty tomb. He later penned his gospel “that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing you may have life in His name.” (John 20:31 – NKJV)

What joy we find in the resurrection! Christianity itself is rooted in the truth of the empty tomb. It validates God’s promises, makes us right with our creator, and instills in us an unshakable, eternal hope.

A joyless Christian truly is a contradiction.

And that begs a question worth considering before Easter morning: Why are so many professing Christians joyless?

I don’t pose the question to lay a guilt trip on anyone. It’s something I ask myself now and then. If you’re with me on this, then we are both in good company.

A psalmist puzzled over this long before us: “Why are you cast down, O my soul? And why are you disquieted within me?” (Psalm 43:5 – NKJV)

Does it seem to you that many Christians are an overwhelmed, frustrated, and even angry bunch these days? Me, too.

Yes, the pressures and disappointments of life can be overwhelming, but they need not be so.

Yes, the waning influence of Christianity in our culture is frustrating, but need not be our primary focus.

Yes, righteous indignation at the rejection of God is appropriate, but misplaced anger hinders, rather then helps, the cause of Christ.

Tomorrow morning, let us reconnect with the joy of the resurrection. Earthly concerns are not even worthy of comparison with all that is accomplished by our risen savior.

Don’t just take my word for it: “Why am I discouraged? Why is my heart so sad? I will put my hope in God! I will praise him again – my Savior and my God!” (Psalm 43:5 – NLT)

There’s a hymn that echoes this sentiment: “Turn your eyes upon Jesus, look full in His wonderful face, and the things of earth will grow strangely dim, in the light of His glory and grace.”

Joy and the resurrection.

Some things just go together naturally.

Steve Massey is the pastor of Hayden Bible Church in Hayden, Idaho ( www.haydenbible.org). He can be reached at (208) 772-2511 or steve@haydenbible.org.
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