He Is (Still) Risen.

“We have to stop seeing ourselves as sinners. In heaven there is no concept of us as sinners. As far as the east is from the west, the Bible says that is how far God has removed our sins from us. He does not remember them. When God sees us, he does not see a sinner. He sees a saint.

To save humanity, God became man in the person of Jesus. In the process, he redefined what it means to belong to the human race. Jesus came to show us a new way to be human.” 

-Judah Smith, Jesus is ____

Easter is one of my favorite times of the years; fellowship and feasts abound while we celebrate Jesus conquering the grave. I find myself needing to pause, rewind, and linger on that reality for a second. Jesus conquered sin and deathThat’s pretty exciting and impressive stuff right there. So it’s ironic when the day after celebrating how big and good our God is, I allow fear and doubt to creep into my thoughts. We all have those moments where we worry or even convince ourselves we are not enough, whether it be in our work, our relationships, or our overall life. What we usually fail to remember is that we have a God we can call on who makes us and loves us more than enough.

I don’t know why, but since moving to Haiti I’ve had an affinity towards learning local proverbs. Not only do they provide beautiful imagery via a glimpse into the culture, but they also serve as some sort of sage, old-school life hacks. My proverb of choice for this last week or so has been espwa fè viv (hope makes one live). This particular proverb has a litany of metaphorical meanings and practical applications. It immediately evokes the resilient lifestyle of so many Haitians where hope is all they have to hang on to. It also serves as a reminder of who we are to turn to when all feels lost; He who provides our ultimate hope. Even when it seems like we’re trapped, beat down and there is no end in sight to our shackles and problems, God provides us with hope. We are both forewarned and comforted by a passage in the Bible that reads “Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance.” James 1:2-3

I love that Easter is a holiday that is filled with such celebration and hope. Smiling faces everywhere proclaiming “He is Risen” typically with a resounding reply of “He is Risen indeed!” I just wish I’d remember more often that the hope and grace Jesus provided us with isn’t just reserved for Easter weekend. He is still Risen even after the celebration of easter weekend has subsided. The hope that God provides sustains us and will always be there for us, regardless of whether or not we feel deserving of it. This isn’t to say life will always be easy; quite the contrary, life will be difficult. We will face hardships, questions or doubt about are abilities and worth, face ridicule or persecution. But we have a God who conquered death. There is no one in the world that is too lost for God to love, no one that God has given up on. God doesn’t see our perceived shortcomings, sins, or failures we desperately hold onto against the better of our own mental health. Let’s shed that sin and fear that God has already conquered. He sees us as saints, as who we were made to be. Let us seek out His hope and cling to it with everything we have. Jesus conquered the grave and defeated death; He is still risen indeed!

“When the perishable has been clothed with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality, then the saying that is written will come true: “Death has been swallowed up in victory” “Where, O death, is your victory?” “Where, O death, is your sting?” The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore, my dear brothers and sisters, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain.”

-1 Corinthians 15:54-58 (NIV)

-Jake Stebbing

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