First Presbyterian Church of Blackwood
21 E. Church Street
Blackwood, NJ 08012
Meditation Notes (Easter Sunday 09:00 a.m. ~ 04.09.2023)
Rev. Dr. Mouris A. Yousef, Pastor
“Tell It Again!”
What is the most important event of Christ’s life? I am sure the answer to this question varies from a person to another. Some may say the most important event of Christ’s life is His birth; others may say no, it’s His baptism; still others may see His Baptism and the Father’s affirmation of Christ’s identity. If you ask me, I would say the most important event of Christ’s life is His resurrection. The resurrection is the goal of His life; it is the purpose of His life. The Church got it right from day one. That’s why the church has chosen to meet on Sunday, the first day of the week, the day that Jesus rose from the dead, to commemorate the most important event of His life and the most important event in human history.
The church did not choose to meet on Friday, rather, the church chose to meet on Sunday, because Sunday is the interpretation of Friday. Easter is the interpretation of Good Friday. Resurrection is the divine interpretation of the death of Christ. Resurrection is the divine vindication of the work that He did on the cross. Without the resurrection, the cross means nothing, for it has no validation, it has no vindication, it has no affirmation. But when God raised Jesus from the dead, He was affirming, and validating, and vindicating the fact that He had indeed borne our sins in His own body on the cross, and had satisfied the justice of God with His sin-bearing. Without the resurrection, the cross is meaningless, just another death.
Yes, the resurrection of Christ is that important. It’s that simple and that profound. Most of us know the story of Christ raising from the dead. As adults we can get caught up sometimes in analyzing stories, in debating this or that detail, or wondering why it was told in such and such a way. But think about how children respond to a well-known story. Those of you who are parents or grandparents, those of you who are teachers, you know. The minute you finish their favorite book, their favorite story, what’s a child most likely to say? “Again! Again! Tell it again!” No matter how many times they’ve heard the same story, tell it again. No matter that they’ve got the whole story memorized by now, tell it again. The hearing of it – again – brings them such joy. So we flip back to page 1, and we tell their favorite story again. The very best stories are well worth hearing again and again. So back to today’s story.
The Easter story should be the Church’s most favorite story. It’s a story that the church should tell over and over again. Why? At least for two reasons:
First: It is a Story of God’s Might and Power Working Behind the Scenes
One of our frustrations and disappointments as followers of Jesus is that we don’t always understand how God works in the world and in our lives to accomplish His purposes. For the disciples of Jesus, the cross and the death of their Lord was a no-no. They just couldn’t wrap their heads around the fact that the Messiah will be crucified. On one occasion, Peter actually rebuked Jesus for saying that. “Never, Lord!” Peter said. “This shall never happen to you!” Matthew 16:22.
The resurrection of Jesus is a reminder that God is not silent. He is not idle. God always works even during those times when we fail to see Him working. He is not absent. He is always present. So when you find yourself facing a situation where God seems absent and silent, remember that God is working behind the scenes. Charles Spurgeon once said, “When we cannot trace His hand, we must trust His heart.” We may be puzzled by our circumstances, but God has it all figured out. The disciples thought the story of Jesus is over. But Easter reminds us that there is more to the story. God is still working.
Second: It’s a Story of a God whose Silence Doesn’t Mean His Absence or Inaction
Just because God is silent sometimes it doesn’t mean He is idle. The intertestamental period, a 400-year gap between the ministry of Prophet Malachi and John the Baptist, God was quiet but preparing the world for the birth of Christ.
Easter comes to remind us in away like no other that we believe in a God who is active and present and faithful to His promises. Times of silence could be scary and requires more faith, but I hope you and I today learn how to keep you rhythm because God is at work. May we learn how to rest in God while He is working behind the scenes. Remain confident in the truth that He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion. God is all powerful, all knowing and ever present.
Tell it again! The story of Easter is worth telling. The story reminds us of God’s might and power working behind the scenes. Easter reminds us that God wins. Love wins. Life conquers death. We need to hear the Easter story again to remember that goodness is stronger than evil, love is stronger than hate, light is stronger than darkness, truth is stronger than lies.
So as we sing, pray, shout, cheer, and wave our Alleluias this Easter Sunday, remember to tell the story to someone. In 1866, Kate Hankey, a British nurse and a Christian missionary to South Africa, wrote the hymn, I Love to Tell the Story. In one stanza, she says, “I love to tell the story, for those who know it best, seem hungering and thirsting, to hear it like the rest … I love to tell the story; For some have never heard, the message of salvation, from God’s own holy Word.” She continued to say: “I love to tell the story; 'twill be my theme in glory to tell the old, old story, of Jesus and his love.” Go and tell it, again, and again, and again. Christ is Risen. Alleluia! Amen!
Write something about yourself. No need to be fancy, just an overview.