Friday, March 29, 2013

Living in the Joy of the Resurrection

by Gregory A. Johnson
Living in the Joy of the Resurrection, by Gregory A. Johnson
Becky was pregnant with our second child, and the doctor calculated that her due date would be April 1—April Fools' Day. Becky was adamant that our baby would not be born on April Fools' Day and throughout the pregnancy, she stood firm, prayed, and probably even tried to will herself out of that due date.

The closer we got to the due date, the more Becky proclaimed that our baby would not be born on April Fools’ Day. Well, it was the morning of March 30, and guess what? Nope, there was still no baby. Then that evening, Becky felt the first contraction. Was it a false contraction or was our baby coming? We waited a couple of hours and guess what? Yep, our baby was coming. I took Becky to the hospital later that night. She was in hard labor all night long and the next morning she gave birth to our precious little baby, Kelsey Ann. It wasn’t April Fools’ Day. It was March 31. And you know what fell on March 31 that year? It was Easter Sunday morning! I told everyone who would listen that Kelsey Ann was our little resurrection baby. Becky and I rejoiced!

Kelsey has grown to be a beautiful and intelligent young woman, and on every Easter morning, I remember the joy I felt the Easter morning she was born. She was not an April Fools’ baby. She was a resurrection baby!

Jesus died for our sins and was placed in a borrowed, cold, dark, and damp tomb, but the grave could not hold Him. Death could not keep its prey. Satan did not win. Up from the grave, He arose! Jesus defeated death, hell, and the grave. Jesus is the victor, and His victory is ours. Because He lives we can face the day, and whatever it brings, knowing that our victory is in Him.

Beloved, we can rejoice today and every day as we celebrate an empty tomb. It doesn’t have to be Easter for us to celebrate the resurrection of our Lord and Savior. Every day should be like Easter morning for the Christ-follower. We live in the joy of the resurrection.

“Now after the Sabbath, toward the dawn of the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went to see the tomb. And behold, there was a great earthquake, for an angel of the Lord descended from heaven and came and rolled back the stone and sat on it. His appearance was like lightning, and his clothing white as snow. And for fear of him the guards trembled and became like dead men. But the angel said to the women, ‘Do not be afraid, for I know that you seek Jesus who was crucified. He is not here, for he has risen, as he said. Come, see the place where he lay. Then go quickly and tell his disciples that he has risen from the dead, and behold, he is going before you to Galilee; there you will see him. See, I have told you.’ So they departed quickly from the tomb with fear and great joy, and ran to tell his disciples. And behold, Jesus met them and said, ‘Greetings!’ And they came up and took hold of his feet and worshiped him. Then Jesus said to them, ‘Do not be afraid; go and tell my brothers to go to Galilee, and there they will see me’” (Matthew 28:1-10).

Loving Father, I thank you for loving me so much that you sent Jesus to die for my sins. I thank you for His resurrection. I celebrate it. Flood my being with the joy of the resurrection. I don’t know what today holds, but I know that my victory is in your son, Jesus. Whatever comes my way, He will lead me through it. Even on the day that death comes knocking at my door, I will be victorious. To be absent from this world is to be present with Him. My life is found in Him. Help me to walk in the abundant life that He gives me today, and every day, both now and forevermore. Help me live in the joy of the resurrection. In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen.

Excerpted from the book, Be Encouraged: A Daily Devotional, Volume 3 by Gregory A. Johnson. Copyright © by Gregory A. Johnson. All rights reserved. 

Know that you are loved,