Even when we expect it, even when we know it is coming, Easter arrives all wrapped up in surprise. We are amazed at this great thing God has done. Life springs from the darkest place we can imagine.
Death is sent packing.
We are given again the gift of wonder, and we stand amazed in the presence of our risen Lord.
Open wide now your heart. Open your heart to the Light — the Lord of Life!next >
Then Peter began to speak to them: “I truly understand that God shows no partiality, but in every nation anyone who fears him and does what is right is acceptable to him. You know the message he sent to the people of Israel, preaching peace by Jesus Christ — he is Lord of all. That message spread throughout Judea, beginning in Galilee after the baptism that John announced: how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power; how he went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with him. We are witnesses to all that he did both in Judea and in Jerusalem. They put him to death by hanging him on a tree; but God raised him on the third day and allowed him to appear, not to all the people but to us who were chosen by God as witnesses, and who ate and drank with him after he rose from the dead. He commanded us to preach to the people and to testify that he is the one ordained by God as judge of the living and the dead. All the prophets testify about him that everyone who believes in him receives forgiveness of sins through his name.”
Acts 10:34-43next >
Do you know who Peter is talking to? He’s talking to Gentiles. (Say it like it’s the most repulsive word in your vocabulary.) He’s talking to Cornelius — a Roman centurion — and his whole filthy, uncircumcised, Gentile household. As soon as Peter walks in the door he says, “You yourselves know that it is unlawful for a Jew to associate with or to visit a Gentile.” But he also knows that this incredible thing has happened: Jesus has been raised from the dead. And because he has, he is no longer just the Messiah of the Jews; he is Lord of all — even the Gentiles.
How about you? Do you know anybody you hesitate to share the good news with, anybody you’d rather leave out of the Kingdom? Peter would say you don’t have a choice.
The gospel is for everyone.
Jim Somervillenext >
Lord Jesus, you spent your time with the sinners and the tax collectors, you died to save the whole, wicked, unwashed world. Teach me to reach out to those I’d rather not reach out to, remembering that the gospel is for everyone—even them. Amen.next >
Christ is living, no more weeping, no more time for grief and pain!
Neither death nor tomb could hold Christ, who is living once again.
Do not look among the dead for one who lives most certainly;
Christ is living! Hear the good news that resounds so joyfully.
Jim Somerville is the pastor of First Baptist Church, Richmond, Virginia. He is married to the former Christy Treadwell and they have two daughters, Ellie and Catherine, both of whom grew up going to Passport. Jim enjoys backpacking and almost any other activity that gets him outdoors.
Crown Him with Many Crowns