Several years ago, I read a book that to me, even though I wasn’t a Christian at the time, had a profound Christian message that has stuck vividly in my memory through the years. In the book, the author writes about an encounter between a priest and a vampire. The priest was holding up a cross, which was glowing, radiating power up the priest’s arm and he felt comforted knowing that while he held up the cross the vampire was cowered in front of him. The vampire had a hostage though and was threatening to do harm to the hostage. The vampire tells the priest that he will let this boy go if the priest will put the cross down and fight him ‘your religion against mine.’ The priest hesitantly agrees and the vampire lets the boy go. Then the priest starts to think and he thinks that as long as he has the cross he is safe and now that the boy is safe, why should he put down the cross. As he thinks this, the cross starts losing its glow, then the vampire walks up to him, takes the cross and breaks it in pieces. The vampire then tells the priest that if he had put his cross down, he would have won the battle, and he went on to tell him that he forgot what his religion was about; the cross and the other symbols the priest held dear were just symbols and, without faith in the God behind them, they were meaningless.
This Easter, we need to rejoice in the fact that we serve a living and mighty God and not an idol or an empty symbol. Sometimes when we are confronted with the evil, the horrors, the pains and sufferings of this world, it’s easy to forget that our God is in control. It is easy to start trusting in things, in symbols, in status and in our actions to get us through. We start putting our faith in what we can do (even the good we can do, like Bible study, prayer, etc.)
Are you so foolish? Having begun by the Spirit are you now being perfected by the flesh? Gal. 3:3 For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, that no one should boast. Eph. 2:8&9
or in what we have (riches, success, accomplishments, reputation)
Though the fig tree should not blossom, and there be no fruit on the vines, Though the yield of the olive should fail, and the fields produce no food, thought the flock should be cut off from the fold, and there be no cattle in the stalls, Yet I will exult in the Lord, I will rejoice in the God of my salvation. Hab. 3:17&18
and forget that our religion is not about what we can do or what we have been blessed with but about a living and true God and what He has done and what He has accomplished for us.
Lord, Thou wilt establish peace for us, since Thou hast also performed for us all our work. O Lord our God, other masters besides Thee have ruled us, but through Thee alone we confess Thy name. Isaiah 26: 12&13
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ, just as He chose us in Him before the foundations of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before Him. In love He predestined us to the adoption as sons through Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the kind intention of His will, to the praise of the glory of His grace, which He freely bestowed on us in the Beloved. In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of His grace, which He lavished upon us in all wisdom and insight. Eph. 1:3-8
This Easter, we celebrate the victory of our God, a God who became flesh and blood to dwell among His flock. One who died upon a cross to pay the penalty for our sins, to fulfill His covenant with us, and to set us free from the bonds of death. The true and living God who has called us by name and has loved us first so that we might love Him. This Easter, as we think of the cross, remember it is a symbol of hope, power and strength, not because of what it is, but because of what it represents to us who have Faith in the One who died on it. So let us remember the cross, but let us worship the resurrected Savior and let us not forget that one day soon He is coming back to take us home. …and He shall dwell among them and they shall be His people, and God Himself shall wipe away every tear from their eyes; and there shall no longer be any death; there shall no longer be any mourning, or crying, or pain; the first things have passed away.” And He who sits on the throne said, “Behold, I am making all things new.” Rev. 21:3-5