Take a moment and imagine.
Imagine that you have been sent down from Heaven and become something that you’ve created. Imagine thousands of people hanging onto your every word. Imagine calming storms, walking on water, healing the blind and the sick and the paralyzed.
But through all the incredible things you are doing throughout your perfect life, people are plotting against you, trying to overthrow you. But you know that the day they will succeed in arresting you is coming.
Imagine you are sitting at a table with twelve people who have devoted their lives to following you, and knowing that one of those people will betray you in a few hours.
Imagine crying out to the LORD, saying, “Father, remove this cup from me.” But imagine, as you are praying, guards come up to you and arrest you, one of your own disciples leading them.
Then imagine being held for trial, and then an official asking the crowd, “Which should I let go? This man, Jesus, who has done no wrong, or Barabbas the murderer, riot-leader, and criminal?” Then imagine them shouting the name of the murderer, as you drag your own cross up a steep hill.
Imagine they nail you to a cross, mocking you and adorning you with a crown made of thorns, hanging a sign above your head reading King of the Jews.
Then imagine the sky growing dark, thunder booming in the Heavens as the curtain separating the priests from the people is torn in to. Imagine shouting, “It is finished.” Imagine breathing your last breath.
Imagine that you have done no wrong, but you have taken the punishment of the world’s sins and made everything new with that very last breath.
Imagine that you are a young woman, holding onto your daughters and crying because you are watching your oldest son, who the LORD gave to you, who is the son of God, dying on a cross, treated as a criminal. You are overcome with grief, tears streaming down your face as you hear his last words over and over in your mind and stare, shocked, at the torn curtain before you.
Now imagine you are a young man, a man of good character and heart. You go to Pilate and ask for the body of the Son of God. You take him down from the cross, wrapping him gently in linen cloths and placing him in a rock tomb, a tomb that nobody had ever used before. A heavy stone was rolled in front of the tomb.
Next, imagine you are one of a group of women, bringing burial spices you prepared yesterday. Finding the stone rolled back from the tomb, imagine you step inside, only to find nothing there. Then suddenly, two angels stood in front of them, filling the tomb with light. You bow down. The angels said, “Why are you looking for the living among the dead? He isn’t here. He has been resurrected.”
Amazed, you run back to your friends and the disciples of Jesus, telling them the news. But nobody believes you.
Then imagine you are Peter, one of the disciples of Jesus, hearing that news and not believing a single word. “In order to believe, I must see it,” you exclaim, running down to the tomb. But you don’t see Jesus there. You shake your head, confused, wondering where Jesus has gone.
Finally, imagine you are a man named Cleopas, walking with one friend along the road, still grieving Jesus’ death. You talk with the friend, puzzling and asking questions and trying to figure out exactly what is going on. But soon, a strange man you don’t recognize asks what exactly you are talking about. Thinking he is probably the only man in Jerusalem who hasn’t heard what’s been going on, you explain everything to him as all three of you walk together down the road.
Once you’re finished explaining, imagine the man starts pointing out everything in Scripture that explains Jesus and how he has to have been resurrected. Imagine every single one of his points make perfect sense, and for some reason as he is talking to you, you feel as if you are on fire. “Come with us,” you say to the man. “Have dinner with us.” He agrees.
But as the man takes the bread, blesses it, and breaks it, your eyes are opened. Instantly you know who this man is. “Jesus?”
But then, suddenly, the man disappears.
Imagine that you and your friend race back to the disciples and your friends, exclaiming, “It’s real! It actually happened! Jesus is risen!“
Imagine Jesus appears just as you are explaining everything. You shake with fear, thinking that you are seeing a ghost of Jesus. But then imagine that he says, “Peace be with you.” Then he lets you touch him, and he says, “A ghost doesn’t have muscle and bone. It is really me.”
Imagine that everything just seems too good to be true. You sit there, bewildered, and feed Jesus some leftover food just as he starts to say:
“You are a witness to the world. Everything since the beginning has been leading up to this moment.” He helps you understand the Bible. Imagine he is opening your eyes so suddenly everything is crystal clear.
Imagine Jesus is risen.
Now stop imagining.
Everything that you just imagined really happened. Jesus really died for our sins. Jesus really conquered the grave and made us new. Through Jesus, we now can see everything clearly.
You aren’t just imagining things. Jesus is risen, and someday, he’s coming back again.
This Easter Sunday, think about everything that God has done for you. Two thousand years ago, he died for you. He took the punishment we all deserve so we don’t have to suffer, and he conquered death. God couldn’t be around sin – so he sent his one and only son to take the punishment of our sins so we could be with him. So now the gates to Heaven are open for you to step through and meet your Savior someday.
All you have to do to become a Christian and go to Heaven someday when your life ends is, first, ADMIT. Admit that you are a sinner and repent from everything you’ve done. Then, BELIEVE. Believe that Jesus died for your sins and rose from the grave, so you could go to Heaven someday and be with Him. And then, CONFESS. Confess your faith in Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord, speaking with your heart and lips out loud saying that you are now a Christian. You are made new, and you’re going to Heaven someday.
The Message Devotional Bible. NavPress, 2018.
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