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March 31—Lent Devotional 2013

March 31—Lent Devotional 2013

As you read and reflect on today’s beatitude, please listen to this track from contemporary Estonian composer Arvo Pärt. We will feature this track throughout Lent.

The Beatitudes

“After the Sabbath, as the first day of the week was dawning, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went to the tomb. And suddenly there was a great earthquake; for an angel of the Lord, descending from heaven, came and rolled back the stone and sat on it. His appearance was like lightning, and his clothing white as snow. For fear of him the guards shook and became like dead men. But the angel said to the women, ‘Do not be afraid; I know that you are looking for Jesus who was crucified. He is not here; for he has been raised.’”
Matthew 28:1-6

 

“Christ is risen! He is risen indeed!”

No day is more important for Christians than this day, Easter. Our faith and very lives rest on the news that Jesus has been raised. It is as the Apostle Paul reminds: “If Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile and you are still in your sins” (I Corinthians 15:17). The Resurrection means that God wins, and we win with Him! In the long battle between good and evil, between the kingdom of light and the kingdom of darkness, the crucified Jesus wins!

Theologian N. T. Wright affirms the momentous significance of this Resurrection Sunday:

The Resurrection completes Jesus’ bold announcement of the inauguration of God’s kingdom NOW in and through Jesus. It is the decisive event demonstrating that God’s kingdom really has been launched on earth as it is in heaven. The message of Easter is that God’s new world has been unveiled in His Son, Jesus Christ, and that you’re now invited to belong to it (Surprised by Hope).

The Resurrection means that the kingdom of God is launched on earth. We must take seriously, then, all that Jesus has said to us in the beatitudes. They are the words of the Victor over sin and death. He tells us the truth about this world, the blessed life, and the world to come. The meek will inherit the earth! Those who suffer for His sake will receive great reward! Those who know their spiritual bankruptcy will inherit the kingdom of God!

All across Europe, from the eleventh through the sixteenth century, people celebrated Easter as the New Year. While today marks the completion of our Lenten retreats with Jesus, it can also mark our New Year, our new beginning with Christ. Through the power of His resurrection Jesus gives new life to all who will follow Him. Because He lives we can come alive to the beatitudes (John 14:19).

As we live into this New Year we can live each day in the power of Jesus’ resurrection. So why not continue each day to meet with Jesus, spending time with Him in prayer, reflecting on His Word, and living the Blessed life!

PONDER AND PRAY

I pray that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give you a spirit of wisdom and revelation as you come to know him, so that, with the eyes of your heart enlightened, you may know…what is the immeasurable greatness of his power for us who believe, according to the working of his great power. God put this power to work in Christ when he raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly places, far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and above every name that is named, not only in this age but also in the age to come.”—Ephesians 1:17-21

  • Note in the prayer above how the Apostle Paul describes “the immeasurable greatness of his power for us who believe”; it is the same power which raised Jesus “from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly places…” Why not pray today that the Holy Spirit open the “eyes of your heart” to see and experience the Resurrection power in you.
  • What do you want to say to God about the Resurrection power that is in you to live the beatitudes, the blessed life?

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