Jesus is Risen. So What?

Jesus’ resurrection reminds us that whatever He has promised, He will deliver.

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This is kinda late for a Resurrection Sunday blog nevertheless, I believe that this is timeless. God’s message is timeless and is never confined with seasons and human celebrations.

Jesus is Risen.Medyo naalala ko lang, during my childhood, kapag Holy Week, wala talagang palabas sa TV kundi mga pelikula ni Matt Ranillo at ang classic na Ten Commandments. Tahimik nun, kaya kung wala kayong lakad ng pamilya niyo, maiinip ka talaga sa bahay. Ang aabangan mo lang ang ay mga prusisyon sa kalsada o mga huntahan ng mga kapitbahay. Kaya naman looking forward ang mga tao sa Linggo ng Pagkabuhay – kasi back to regular programming ang lahat – hindi lang ang mga istasyon ng TV kundi maging ang routine ng mga tao.

Is Easter Sunday reduced to just another ordinary date on our calendars? Has it lost its significance na sa buhay natin? Ina-associate na lang ba natin ang araw na ito sa carmageddon sa ating mga expressways pabalik ng Manila after a joyful out of town trip?

Pero ngayon napansin ko lang, kung gaanong katahimik ang Holy Week circa 90s, parang mas commercialized na ngayon. Easter Sundays are opportunities for malls and commercial centers to conduct their Easter Egg Hunt programs, na dati ay di naman masyadong ginagawa. Unlike before na parang ghost town ang paligid kapag Mahal na Araw, ngayon parang mas marami na ang tao! Indeed, times have changed, and so are we.

Is Easter Sunday reduced to just another ordinary date on our calendars? Has it lost its significance na sa buhay natin? Ina-associate na lang ba natin ang araw na ito sa carmageddon sa ating mga expressways pabalik ng Manila after a joyful out of town trip?

The Apostle Paul has this message to say:

“I passed on to you what was most important and what had also been passed on to me. Christ died for our sins, just as the Scriptures said. He was buried, and he was raised from the dead on the third day, just as the Scriptures said.”

1 Corinthians 15:3-4.

Jesus’ death and resurrection is an integral part of the gospel. His death alone is not whole story – His resurrection makes our salvation complete. Jesus’s resurrection isn’t just an episode in a beautiful salvation story.

  1. His resurrection rendered our faith with much value

“And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins. Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ are lost. If only for this life we have hope in Christ, we are of all people most to be pitied.”

1 Corinthians 15:17-19

Being a Christian, being associated with Jesus Christ, entails persecution and trials. We find ourselves going against the tide of immorality, lack of integrity and godlessness. We are always put in ridicule because of our stand against moral, social and political issues. But what’s the point in all of these “sacrifices”? It’s because of Jesus’ resurrection.

Jesus’ resurrection makes all the pain and suffering we endure because of His name worthwhile because we know that we base our faith on someone who was raised from the dead. His resurrection gives meaning to all our Christian activities, all our sacrifices for the church and for the gospel. Our faith was given much value – it is not useless – because Jesus Christ has declared through His resurrection that He is indeed true to what He claims about himself – that He is the promised Messiah.

  1. His resurrection redeemed us from a life of sin

“We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life.”

Romans 6:4

Our old way of living is characterized with sin and moral deprivation. We gratify the desires of the flesh. Yet when Jesus Christ was raised from the dead, He conquered sin, then He conquered death. He took away from us all things that might keep us entangled and withdrawn from pursuing a life of purpose. The only thing we need to do is to live by faith in obedience to Him.

His resurrection paved the way for us to forsake our old way of living. We are no longer mastered by our selfish sinful nature but we are now given the freedom to please the Lord and be led by the Spirit of God. This is new life – He does not just forgive us our sins but also gives us freedom from sin.

  1. His resurrection reminded us of His glorious promises

Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die; and whoever lives by believing in me will never die. Do you believe this?”

“Yes, Lord,” she replied, “I believe that you are the Messiah, the Son of God, who is to come into the world.”

John 11:25-27

More than His promises of healing, of hope, of restoration – Jesus promised us with an eternal life. Promises excite us, promises make us look toward the future with hope. Unfortunately some people fail us with their promises. Some promises are just empty words. Not so with Jesus. His words are true, and we know that because his promises were backed up with actions. Jesus has a great track record!

Jesus’ resurrection reminds us that whatever He has promised, He will deliver. He proved it when He rose from the dead on the first Easter.

Jesus is risen. So what?

Guess what? We have all reasons in the world to rejoice!

“So do not throw away your confidence; it will be richly rewarded.”

Hebrews 10:35

Train of Thanks 21

Because we’ll never run out of things to be grateful for.

The heat is on! Literally. To think that we are just approaching April. I wonder how intense the heat will be on the next few weeks until the rainy days. Lord, please give us more “grace” to weather. 🙂

Anyway, here are my thanksgivings for the week:

1. I thank God for the opportunity to serve at the Journey to the Cross. I was able to substitute as station manager for “The Cloth”, explaining the relevance of Jesus’ customary folding of cloth whenever he finishes a woodwork. This custom as a Jewish carpenter was made manifest as well when his disciples visited his tomb – only to find out nothing but linens folded and left neatly on the floor of the tomb. The Carpenter has left behind a simple message – it is finished.

Indeed, one of the joys of serving the Lord is to share to all people how good and gracious God’s love is through Jesus Christ.

2. I’m done with the book Humble Orthodoxy by Joshua Harris (if not for Ondoy, I already have a complete set of all his titles. How sad). Just a short takeaway from the book: Our knowledge of theology must be evidenced by a humble life. This short book discusses about how we, as Christians feel as if we are so entitled to the grace that we have received from the Lord to the point that we are looking down on people who are “less orthodox” than us. A noteworthy message – and I personally felt rebuked and refreshed.

3. For the mini-meet up of PSA! Though we spent more time travelling than on the actual swimming, I am grateful for the relaxation and bonding that we had this holy week. It’s always good to be connected with awesome people. More to come guys!

4. The Easter message continues to reverberate in my mind. I just noticed that for most people, Easter Sunday is just another holiday marked red on their calendars. Yet, as I listen intently on the message, I am reminded that there is really power in Jesus’ resurrection – otherwise our faith is useless, like what the Apostle Paul said. As the song goes “And life is worth the living just because He lives!”. Thank you Jesus for your resurrection.

5. My current LSS:

How’s your holy week guys?

 

Train of Thanks 19-20

Because we’ll never run out of things to be grateful for.

March is almost over, and holy week is here! While some are getting pumped up for their holy week escapades, we in the church are busy preppin’ up for our “Journey to the Cross” on March 23-25, 5pm-10pm at the Marikina Freedom Park. “Journey”, is an interactive walkthrough to relive the death and resurrection of Jesus. This is open to all and is free of charge!

Journey

Going back to the essence of this blog series, let me recall all my thanksgivings for the past few weeks:

1. I am grateful for the physical strength and wisdom the Lord has given me as I speak for the Servant’s Orientation for the “Journey”. I explained in detail the reasons and lessons behind all the stations and together with the volunteers, we were reminded of the actual journey Jesus went through to save us. The story of His death and resurrection is not just something we should be familiar with – it is something we embrace and live in faith. It shapes us from the inside and is manifested in our actions. Jesus died on the cross and lived again for our sins – this is the basis of our allegiance to Him.

2. Last Sunday was packed with series of opportunities to teach and challenge behind the pulpit. I was requested to teach for the 3rd module of our Membership 101 class in the morning, tasked to challenge the congregation for tithes and offering for the 2nd service and scheduled to speak for the Salt and Light service in the afternoon. It was a super-packed day! Thank God for sustaining me with strength!

3. I praise the Lord for the lives of the Youth and Teens He led me to minister to. It is a very daunting task, I may say but very rewarding. To be honest I am not a cheerful, sociable kind of person unlike other youth leaders I know that’s why I am grateful for the people who support me in this ministry. Special mention to the most cheerful person I know, Demdem! 🙂

If I may add, I enjoyed listening to the point of views and arguments of the participants of our debate about our lesson on image and character. It’s overwhelming to know that once most of them were just my Grade 3 Sunday school students and now they are continuously maturing in the Lord.

4. If there is a highlight for my thanksgiving for these past weeks, it is my entry to Ptr. Ronald Molmisa’s 2nd batch of Young Ezra Project trainees. Supposedly for ages 18-25 aspiring writers, I still took my chance for this once in a lifetime opportunity to be mentored for writing – one thing that I really love doing. In short, I made it to his final list, though I am already 27 years old! All by God’s grace! All the more I am so excited for God’s purposes in my life.

5. As part of Ptr. Ronald’s mentoring program, he required us to attend Christian Writers’ Fellowship held at OMF, Mandaluyong. It is overwhelming to be in a room packed with Christian writers (and literally hundreds of books around!), hearing their testimonies on how being a part of a writing club helped them in their craft. The highlight of the event was Dr. Melba Maggay’s talk on the Role of Christian Writers in a Fast Changing World. Through her talk I appreciated my identity as a Filipino, and how we have become somehow disconnected with our national identity. According to Dr. Maggay, that there is something wrong when we cannot speak to our own people. As writers we have to enter the universe of discourse of the people. Her talk was an “ouch” moment, because as a writers write to express themselves. However Christian writers ought to communicate God’s timeless message of truth and grace, thus the need to connect to their readers and enter their universe of discourse.

Holy Week is up! Don’t forget to remember what the Lord has done for you, not just for this season but for all the days to come.