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God cares about remembrance. Chapters 23 and 25 of Leviticus are dedicated to God telling Israel how to remember what He has done for them. Each holiday and feast in those chapters has a specific and intentional meaning and purpose. God wanted His people to remember their deliverance from Egypt, the entrance into the Promised Land, and all His powerful acts toward His people. We may not observe the full Jewish calendar of holidays and feasts, but we do have distinct times of the year that we set aside for worshipping God and remembering His mighty acts. Namely, Christmas and Easter.
Easter has now passed. Many of us spent the weekend in remembrance of God's great love, Jesus' great sacrifice, and the blessed hope that we have through Christ's death, burial, and resurrection. But should we reserve this type of celebration for one weekend out of the year? How might an Easter-centric posture benefit us throughout the rest of the year?
The news that God came to earth, took on flesh, and absorbed the penalty of our sins on the cross is the Gospel. As believers, the Gospel is at the epicenter of our lives. If we are in God, we cannot avoid the Gospel, nor should we want to. Easter is a special time of observing the resurrection of Jesus Christ, the hope on which our faith is based. But we cannot and should not only observe the resurrection in the Spring of each year.
Our lives should revolve around the Gospel. Meaning, our lives should continually proclaim the Gospel message, that what was lost to sin and death has been found and made righteous by God Himself. Our actions and speech ought to always communicate to the lost and dying world that God mends the broken and offers healing, should we choose to accept it. The Gospel implicates how we live (that we should reflect Christlikeness), how we speak (that we should proclaim the Gospel), and how we think (that our convictions ought to be aligned with the Gospel and the Word of God.) Here are three ways that the Gospel impacts our everyday lives.
We suffer with Christ
Part of our observation during Easter is the acknowledgement of Jesus' suffering. He suffered for our sake. He physically (Matthew 27) and mentally (Mark 14) suffered so that we might have abundant life in Him. Because of this, our lives as believers are changed. Should we expect not to suffer in our lives? No! Because we are followers are Christ, we follow in His footsteps, being persecuted, maligned, and sought by the devil. We take up our crosses and we follow His footsteps, often right into suffering.
Each day we dwell on the privilege of suffering in the ways Jesus suffered. Yes, the privilege. We may not die sacrificially as Jesus did, but we will certainly face adversity. Because of our faith, the world hates us. Because we have been adopted as God's children through the blood of Christ we will drink from His cup of suffering. Because of our faith, we can expect persecution. In our daily lives we are called to take up the cross of Christ and follow Him, accepting and submitting amid suffering. This isn't a once-a-year remembrance. This is every moment.
We radically express love
During Easter, it is hard not to be focused on the love of God. God shows us His love for us in making a way for us to have a relationship with Him. He shows us the depths of His love by sending His Son, Jesus, to die a painful death on our behalf. He shows us the relentlessness of His love by sending Christ while we were still sinners. We did nothing to deserve such mighty love, yet God gave it freely for us. Through the sacrifice of Jesus, we take up and drink gulp after gulp of the precious, steadfast, lovingkindness of the Lord.
Day by day, moment by moment, we remember and intentionally mimic this type of love. We forgive when we are wronged. We yield to others, deferring our preferences for their own. We care for others, we encourage others, we think of ourselves lower and others higher. The love of Christ exemplified on the cross demands that we overflow in that same love. God's love transforms us into people who are able and willing to radically love others. And we don't simply remember God's love on Easter–we marvel at it every single day.
We share the Gospel
Easter is typically the time of year when it is easiest to convince friends and family to come and visit church with you. Even if people are unbelievers, they tend to be ok with going to church once or twice a year, especially if it is important to their loved ones. But we cannot live our lives in obedience to The Great Commission if we are only speaking to others about the Gospel once or twice out of the year.
Matthew 28: 16-20 is known as The Great Commission, where Jesus tells His followers to go out and make disciples throughout the earth. It is a crucial point in our faith to tell others about the good news of Jesus Christ, thereby growing the church in number and depth. It is easy for us to be shy about sharing the Gospel, though. What if others don't respond well? What if they think poorly of me? What if I don't have answers to their questions? But we can have confidence in sharing the Gospel because our part is only obedience–the rest is the work of God. So, we share the Gospel indiscriminately and every day, knowing that God is working in hearts and minds to reveal Himself as Lord.
The Gospel isn't only for one weekend out of the year. It is a daily remembrance, and constant preaching. When we remember and meditate upon the Gospel on a regular basis, we are obligated to share the news with others that has changed our lives. We are compelled to love others the way Christ has loved us. We are called to suffer as Christ did. Yes, all of these things culminate in a celebration on Easter Sunday, and we should still specifically and intentionally celebrate Easter–but our lives should and must be impacted by the Easter story every moment of every day.