The Quiet Before Easter

March 31, 2010

This week before Easter, in some ways, seems like the calm before the proverbial storm.  In what way you may ask?

As Christians, we have, to some degree, begun looking forward to this culmination of Jesus’ humiliation on the cross and the declaration of his triumph in his resurrection. Some of us observe aspects of the Lenten season to one degree or another. Many churches are preparing for Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, and/or Easter Sunrise services. Perhaps you have begun to sing classic hymns such as, “O Sacred Head, Now Wounded” in worship.

Yet in the midst of even the best preparations, have we considered the full implications of what Jesus has done for us?

I know from my own experience that with your everyday routines and stressors of life (such as exams, appointments, broken relationships), we can so easily look away from the cross and empty tomb.

Using the words of Isaiah 53, here is why we can eagerly anticipate Easter – and, the implication and application of the work of Jesus Christ for every day of the year! In this week of busyness and activities, quiet your heart to reflect again on the great salvation we have through Christ.

In his death on the cross in humiliation and suffering…

Isaiah 53:1 Who has believed what he has heard from us? And to whom has the arm of the LORD been revealed? 2 For he grew up before him like a young plant, and like a root out of dry ground; he had no form or majesty that we should look at him, and no beauty that we should desire him. 3 He was despised and rejected by men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief; and as one from whom men hide their faces he was despised, and we esteemed him not. 4 Surely he has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows; yet we esteemed him stricken, smitten by God, and afflicted. 5 But he was wounded for our transgressions; he was crushed for our iniquities; upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and with his stripes we are healed. 6 All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned--every one--to his own way; and the LORD has laid on him the iniquity of us all. 7 He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth; like a lamb that is led to the slaughter, and like a sheep that before its shearers is silent, so he opened not his mouth. 8 By oppression and judgment he was taken away; and as for his generation, who considered that he was cut off out of the land of the living, stricken for the transgression of my people? 9 And they made his grave with the wicked and with a rich man in his death, although he had done no violence, and there was no deceit in his mouth.

In his resurrection from the dead in power and glory…

10 Yet it was the will of the LORD to crush him; he has put him to grief; when his soul makes an offering for guilt, he shall see his offspring; he shall prolong his days; the will of the LORD shall prosper in his hand. 11 Out of the anguish of his soul he shall see and be satisfied; by his knowledge shall the righteous one, my servant, make many to be accounted righteous, and he shall bear their iniquities.  12 Therefore I will divide him a portion with the many, and he shall divide the spoil with the strong, because he poured out his soul to death and was numbered with the transgressors; yet he bore the sin of many, and makes intercession for the transgressors. (ESV)

Lord Jesus, help me to see and sense anew your loving sacrifice in my place.  Give me the eyes to see the riches of your salvation this week, and every day of this pilgrimage on this earth. May you receive the glory! Amen

Rev. Greg Hobaugh