Well! Easter is FINALLY here! If you have been passionately preparing for Resurrection Sunday you are excited! For weeks I have meditated on this holy event in the life of every Christian! This past week has been somber, solemn, sorrowful, serious, and sad as I focus my eyes on the suffering of Jesus. To fully embrace the gravity of His pain, to relate to the mockery, accusations, betrayal, hatred, beatings, reviling, taunting, and blasphemy Jesus endured is a journey of helplessness, weariness, thankfulness, gratitude, and surrender! As I have read and re-read the biblical account of His suffering and death there were times I cried out in my heart “Let it be over, please!!!” because I felt I could not take it anymore and yet Holy Spirit kept saying, “Stay here! Keep embracing the pain and suffering.”
And now the time is here to celebrate His resurrection with His Body! As I get ready to celebrate, I imagine Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James, and Salome bringing spices to anoint Jesus very early in the morning when the sun rose. I try to picture them talking to each other as they walked, questioning who was going to roll away the stone from the door for them. Then see them arrive at the open tomb with the large stone rolled away. Ahhh…. This makes my excitement build!
Then the women walk in and see a young man in a long white robe sitting on the right side! What? They came to anoint a dead man and find a live man! Of course they are alarmed! (When my alarm goes off Easter morning it will be a whole new experience for me!) The young man speaks the words we know and love but they never grow old! “You seek Jesus of Nazareth, who was crucified. He is risen! He is not here. See the place where they laid Him.” YES!!!! He is RISEN! He is RISEN indeed! Finally! AND, it gets better for them and for us! The man says “But go, tell His disciples – and Peter – that He is going before you into Galilee; there you will see Him, as He said to you.” (Mark 16)
Oh, that’s right! They already knew He would rise because He told them! But as we all know, very often we need to see before we believe and they were told they would see Him! They were trembling and amazed at the same time! I can relate, how about you? Sometimes the thought of getting to “see” Jesus is so incredible and the anticipation so powerful my body cannot handle it so I tremble and am amazed at the same time. Easter morning is one of those days!
Even though I know He is risen, live in that reality every day, have celebrated Easter for some forty-five years, it is still one of the most exciting and exhilarating experiences of my life! Easter is never the same because every year my relationship with Jesus has changed, hopefully grown, and every year I am expectant of something new. And so like those women, I go quickly to find Him. Resurrection Sunday! It’s a new day!
As I was allowing myself to “get excited” to celebrate His resurrection Holy Spirit said, “It’s time to put on your garment of praise!” I know we don’t typically associate Isaiah 61 with the resurrection of Jesus but let’s try it on anyway. v. 1-3 “The Spirit of the Lord God is upon Me, because the Lord has anointed Me to preach good tidings to the poor; He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to those who are bound; to proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord, and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all who mourn, to console those who mourn in Zion, to give them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that they may be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the Lord, that He may be glorified!”
Jesus quotes part of this in Luke 4 as He proclaims the Spirit of the Lord was on Him without measure and He was anointed in His service to the Father as our Redeemer, the Messiah, the Christ ! Jesus is recognized here as deliverer, prophetic preacher, priest to heal, and king to issue proclamations, all the qualities we witness through His life, death and resurrection!
Think of the mourning experienced by Mary, the disciples, and others who loved Jesus as they watched Him be treated worse than a common criminal. Think of the heaviness in their spirits as they saw Him suffer and die. We too should share in His suffering, mourn, feel the weight of sin, humble ourselves before Him and then we truly begin to appreciate and revel in His comfort, in the beauty He gives, the oil of joy, and the garment of praise! Can you see the exchange? He replaces one thing for another so if that “something ” doesn’t exist how do we receive a replacement? Jesus did the hard part and we get to receive!
He comforts and consoles all who mourn! I pray we have mourned this week and not just went on with life as usual, approaching Resurrection day as just another day to go to church, enjoy an Easter breakfast, color a few eggs, eat a great meal and a bunch of candy, or just get together with family and friends. I pray we all have taken time to stop and consider long and hard what Jesus did for us. If we have done it a million times we should do it a million more. And then…we receive His comfort and consolation! Thank You Jesus!
He gives beauty for ashes! Ashes represent the remnants of our mourning, our faces to the ground, humbly bowing before our King and Savior in the dust of the earth. Our beauty as followers of Christ comes from Him and is a reflection of our humility before Him. The beauty He gives us is a precious ornament of our faith in a holy God. This exchange is amazing and instant! Thank You Jesus!
He gives the oil of joy for mourning! There we have it again folks! Lots of mourning going on here! And again we instantly receive what He freely gives to us! His oil of joy makes our face shine. Mourning tends to age and mar our countenance but His oil of joy instantly removes all sadness and renews our countenance! We mourn quietly and often privately but our joy radiates openly. Thank You Jesus!
He gives the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness! These are beautiful garments worn on days of Thanksgiving. Along with the joy this garment is seen by others. The heaviness and mourning is in the secret place and Jesus rewards us openly. Wherever there is joy there is praise! When we get the oil we get the garment!
After the exchange – He gets all the glory! So let’s get receive His comfort and consolation and then get our beauty treatment! Yep, men too! And then let’s put on His oil get dressed in His garment then let His joy be expressed in our praise! Now is the time! Have a Blessed Resurrection Day! He is Risen!
P.S. Put on your dancing shoes too! Try this praise out for size!