True Fasting Week 07
‘If you keep your feet from breaking the Sabbath and from doing as you please on my holy day, if you call the Sabbath a delight and the Lord’s holy day honourable, and if you honour it by not going your own way and not doing as you please or speaking idle words, then you will find your joy in the Lord, and I will cause you to ride in triumph on the heights of the land and to feast on the inheritance of your father Jacob.’ For the mouth of the Lord has spoken.
After more than a year of living with lockdown restrictions and social distancing, people have become used to the daily announcements and national bulletins which share the very sad news about the numbers of people who have been infected or who have died with COVID-19. We have constantly been hearing about how badly the pandemic has affected our country, as well as about what its effects will be on the economy, and on the lives of people across the world.
In deep contrast, today we have amazing news to share – Easter is here! What great and exciting news the resurrection of Jesus Christ brings to everyone!
This series started at the beginning of Isaiah 58 when God called His people to move beyond the superficiality of their devotion to Him, where they were pretending in their relationship with Him. This message from God came because although they were fasting and keeping the religious tradition of their time, they were without zeal or passion for Him. In this way God called His people to change how they related to Him and to others around them.
Today we are reminded of three key areas which show us why the resurrection of Jesus is the greatest news ever:
1. Easter brings the triumph of life over death
Jesus rose from the dead to live and reign forever! Because He lives, our hope is not in vain! Because He lives, we are called into a living relationship with a living God, and death no longer has the last word! Jesus defeated death and invites us to know the abundant life that is only found in Him. This life starts here and will echo for the whole of eternity!
2. Easter brings the triumph of hope over fear
In 2002 I was involved in a bus accident where 40 people died, including my best friend. After the accident I had to have physiotherapy to walk properly again, and I struggled with panic attacks and with deep depression for many years. It was an awful time where I was struggling to keep hold of the hope that God was with me, and that He would intervene in my life. But during this time, I learned two very important lessons;:
Firstly, although I had met God years before the accident, I actually only came to know Him personally during that dark moment. Secondly, He helped me to see that He was with me during every second of the accident and in all the time afterwards when I was on the road to recovery – I soon came to see that it would have been impossible to pass through this experience without Him.
Remember, He never promised people a life without problems, but rather an abundant life that is full of Him. He is ‘God with us’ in the middle of our problems, our accidents and yes, even in the middle of a global pandemic.
3. Easter brings the triumph of connection over distancing
Today we can celebrate life and acceptance in God. This does not come because God is blind to our sins and our wrong-doing, but rather because He knew the real consequence of those things, and so came to pay the price of our debt knowing that we could never pay it for ourselves.
Easter is the celebration of the truth that Jesus died our death in order to give us His life! Over the last year, we have had to be more distant from each other than ever before, and we know what pain that has brought – but the truth is that being distanced from God is more painful than we can possibly imagine. Thankfully, through Jesus, the distance between us and God is swept away, so that we are brought close to Him.
So, because of what He did, let’s live a life that is free from the dominion of sin, from the corruption of selfishness and from a lack of love towards others. Because He lives, we can live a life that God wants and that glorifies Him!
Let’s make this EASTER a special occasion to connect to God and to our communities!
Written by Luiz Cardoso