Sunday, 22 April 2018

C Columns

Consider This: 'The Miracle Meaning of Easter'

By Dan Woodworth

I invite you to explore the idea of “The Miracle Meaning of Easter.”

When you hear the word Easter, what do you feel? Do you feel springtime and hope? Do you feel excitement and fun with Easter egg hunts? Do you feel the resurrection of Christ? Do you believe He was resurrected from the dead about 2,000 years ago?

I feel all of those things. You may feel some or all of those things or none of them. The word Easter evokes many different ideas and feelings in all of us.

Traditionally, we as Americans recognize and celebrate Easter the Sunday after Palm Sunday each spring. We also observe Good Friday and Easter Sunday on the same weekend.

The crucifixion, death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ are all interconnected. Many times we say that Jesus died for us so we can be forgiven of our sins and go to heaven. Other times we say that He rose from the dead without any connection to His death.

Let’s look at the Word of God and we will see what it says about Jesus' death and resurrection in Romans 4:25 in the Greek:

[Jesus] was delivered over to death for our transgressions and raised for our justification.

Jesus did die to take away our sins. Have you ever thought of why Jesus was raised from the dead? He was raised from the dead for our justification. What does justification mean?

The Greek word “dikaiosis” is the word we translate into English as “justification.” The root meaning is the act of “pronouncing righteous,” or acceptance or acquittal or justice. In other words, God has accepted us. He has made us righteous just like Jesus is.

Because of Jesus' resurrection, you and I experience divine approval. When I hear that, I feel a miracle! It is difficult to explain that miracle in words.

Let’s explore this truth to experience it in a greater dimension. What do I feel when He declares that because He rose from the dead for me, I experience His divine approval?

I feel loved. I feel accepted. I feel valued. I feel worthy. I feel peace. I feel joy.

What do you feel? Do you feel that you aren’t worthy? Do you feel like there has to be some kind of catch? Do you feel that you really can’t be that good? After all, we have been taught in our Western Christian culture that we have a heart of depravity. We have been taught that we are no good. We have been taught that we are just lowly sinners saved by grace. We have been taught that our hearts are desperately wicked and we are totally unworthy.

The question I am asking is: What is The Miracle Meaning of Easter?

Why have we believed the tradition we have been taught? Let me suggest to you that we have looked at the death and resurrection from a “sin consciousness” instead of a “righteousness consciousness” mindset. In other words, are we looking at His death and resurrection from our own human point of view, or are we looking at it from His point of view?

Many people quote part of Jeremiah 17:9, “The heart is deceitful above all things,” without including verses 5-­10 in the context of what Our Loving Lord is speaking. Look at verses 5­-10 in The Message:

5­-8 – Cursed is the strong one who depends on mere humans, who thinks he can make it on muscle alone and sets God aside as dead weight. He’s like a tumbleweed on the prairie, out of touch with the good earth. He lives rootless and aimless in a land where nothing grows. But blessed is the man who trusts me, God, the woman who sticks with God. They’re like trees replanted in Eden, putting down roots near the rivers — never a worry through the hottest of summers, never dropping a leaf, serene and calm through droughts, bearing fresh fruit every season.

9-­10 – The heart is hopelessly dark and deceitful, a puzzle that no one can figure out. But I, God, search the heart and examine the mind. I get to the heart of the human. I get to the root of things. I treat them as they really are, not as they pretend to be.

Let’s listen to Jesus reveal the truth that He tells us related to the condition of the good heart of people in Luke 8:15 in the Greek:

But as for that in the good soil — these are the ones, who having heard with an honest and good heart, hold firmly onto the word and bear fruit through patient endurance.

The Greek word for “good heart” is “agathos.” That word means “generous, upright and virtuous.”

The heart of a person is revealed through his or her actions. A wicked and deceitful heart reveals wicked and deceitful behavior. A good and generous heart reveals good and generous behavior.

Let me share a point of view from the Hebrew culture that I heard from my good friend, David Edery, who was one of my class members in my Doctor of Ministry experience.

David was a rabbi in a very wealthy synagogue in Hollywood. When he asked Christ to come into his life, he was kicked out with no job and no home. Our Dean of Doctoral Studies, Dr. Wess Pinkham, invited David to live with him.

David told me one day that he did not understand the Western Christian viewpoint of salvation. He told me that we see salvation as (just) a ticket to go to heaven. He said in the Hebrew culture they see God as good and the earth as good. They see that the gift of God is His love to people, and they enjoy loving relationships with people.

Let’s look at Our Loving Lord speaking to us in Romans 8:1 in the Greek:

There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. Period. No if’s, and’s or but’s.

Look at the perspective from our Loving Lord. Jesus was raised from the dead by our Father in heaven through the power of the Spirit. Why was He resurrected? Because He loves us and wants us to live in His life!

Let’s look at the Living Word written through the Apostle Paul in 1 Corinthians 15:17 in the Greek:

And if Christ has not been raised from the dead, your faith is useless; you are still in your sins.

Let’s see what our Loving Lord speaks in 1 Corinthians 15:56­-57 in the Greek:

The sting of death is sin and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.

Victory over what? Victory over sin and death!

We also see His love and grace in action when He speaks through Paul in Romans 6:14in the Greek:

For sin will not have mastery over you, since you are not under the law, but under grace!

No resurrection, no grace!

Listen to His Voice in Acts 4:33:

And with great power the apostles continued to give the testimony of the “Resurrection” of the Lord Jesus and great “grace” was upon them all!

I believe our Loving Lord deeply desires for us to experience the day ­to­day reality of the application of the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus Christ in our lives. Through the crucifixion of Jesus Christ we can live though Christ now. Our Loving Lord wants to encourage all of us together with His words in Colossians 3:1­-3:

Therefore if you have been raised with Christ, seek the things above, where Christ sits at the right hand of God. Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth, for you died and your life is hidden with Christ in God.

If Christ lives in us, we have an opportunity to live in the newness of life with Christ.  We can live the way He created us to live — from above!

Dr. Dan Woodworth earned his Doctor of Ministry (DMin) degree from the King's University in Los Angeles in 2009. His passion is to encourage and empower people with the transforming power of hope and healing to become all they are created to be. He and his beautiful bride, Irene, have planted three churches. They are in the process of creating a cross/cultural, cross/generational healing community solving pressing problems in Boise and beyond. He may be reached at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

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