Easter is for you. The Easter services we have at Divine Shepherd are the best attended services of the entire year. Jesus has risen from the dead! He has freed us from death’s grasp and eternal condemnation, as well as forgiven all our sins. As I greet everyone, I get the sense from some that Easter is for someone else. Occasionally someone even says to me, “I am just here for my family or friends”, or “I only go to church on Easter Sunday”. Easter is for everyone, Easter is for you.
There is a perception out there that Easter is only for the good people, or the people who have their lives in order and all their “crazy” under control and closeted. That perception is not correct. Look at the people that Jesus associated with, healed, and encouraged during His lifetime. Jesus spent His time with tax collectors and sinners. These were not the socially elite-actually the exact opposite. Tax collectors were Jews who worked for the Roman government, whom no one trusted, to collect taxes, which no one likes to pay. The sinners were those who were not Jewish. Their pedigree did not lead back to Abraham, so they were not part of the church. Jesus spent time with them, got to know them, healed and forgave them. He did not tell them to get it together first. He had mercy on them.
Jesus was always with those whom society struggled with, and those that struggle with society. He would heal the blind and deaf. The crippled would be restored; withered hands and legs that did not work were reinstated as Jesus had mercy on them. Jesus cast out demons, touched and healed the unclean with Leprosy. Jesus talked with the prostitutes and the adulterers. Jesus confronted those who believed incorrectly. He showed mercy to all, no matter who they were, or what they were struggling with. First He would heal their bodies, then He would forgive their sins. Healing and mercy for the body and the soul for everyone no matter who they were or what they had done. Jesus showed mercy to everyone.
at the end of His life Jesus was showing mercy to others. “ Two others, who were criminals, were led away to be put to death with him. One of the criminals who were hanged railed at him, saying, “Are you not the Christ? Save yourself and us!” But the other rebuked him, saying, “Do you not fear God, since you are under the same sentence of condemnation? And we indeed justly, for we are receiving the due reward of our deeds; but this man has done nothing wrong.” And he said, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.”
Even at Jesus’ death He was surrounded by those who did not fit in and He showed them mercy. Moments from death, Jesus gave hope and healing to the thief that had faith. This thief believed the man on the cross, dying next to him was God’s Son, the Savior of the world. This thief went to heaven, not because he had it all figured out, not because he was a great person, but because he believed that Jesus was God’s Son sent to forgive his sin.
Easter is for all of us because Jesus came to forgive the sins of all of us. He did not wait for us to get our lives together. He did for us what we could not do for ourselves. Your sin is forgiven because of Jesus, no matter what it is, how bad it is, how long you have struggled with it, you are forgiven because Jesus forgave you. The amazing thing about Easter is that Jesus forgave the sins of all people, even those who don’t believe in Him. Jesus and Easter, the cross and empty tomb, the suffering and beatings Jesus endured is for YOU! Jesus’ resurrection, from the dead, His peace, comfort and hope is for YOU! Jesus’ promise that He will be with you always, especially when life spins out of control or your grief is great, is for you. Jesus’ mercy, love and forgiveness is not determined by you or anything you do. Jesus’ mercy, love and forgiveness is for you because Jesus loves you.
Easter is for you! We hope you will come and be a part of this great Easter celebration so you too can live in the Joy of Easter each and every day, because Easter and Jesus and his love are for you!!
Celebrate the resurrection!
Pastor Randy Sturzenbecher