Resurrection Sunday – Easter 2020
This is the final post (#27) of a series entitled RELIGION OR RELATIONSHIP: Five Days that Define Our Call in Christ. We hope you’ve enjoyed this series of 27 podcasts and blogs that focuses a bit deeper on the first five days of what we now call Holy Week. Using the Gospel text found in Matthew 21 through 25, we explore the major differences between organized religion and true relationship with Christ. Practical sessions that give us Jesus’ view of spirituality as compared to the religiousness found in so many people today. Here’s the homepage for the entire series.
Click here to listen to the podcast version of this blog!
Today’s Lectio Divina: During the (Passover) meal, Jesus took and blessed the bread, broke it, and gave it to His disciples: “Take, eat. This is my body.”Taking the cup and thanking God, He gave it to them: “Drink this, all of you. This is My blood, God’s new covenant poured out for many people for the forgiveness of sins. I’ll not be drinking wine from this cup again until that new day when I’ll drink with you in the Kingdom of my Father.” They sang a hymn and went directly to Mount Olives. Matthew 26: 26-30 (MsgB)
If you’ve been reading along with us on this Lenten journey, you know that today is Easter Sunday. Resurrection Day.
Jesus is risen! He is risen, indeed!
This 27-session blog/podcast series has taken us through some of the most intriguing texts found in the New Testament. Matthew 21-25. The first five days of what we, in the Church, call Holy Week. From His joyous entry into Jerusalem on Sunday afternoon through the beginnings of the Thursday evening Passover meal with His disciples, Jesus fought through one battle after another, facing contentious, hard-hearted religious leaders who were convinced that they knew God and His ways better than anyone else. And along the way, Jesus gave us one good lesson after another on how those who truly desire to follow God must keep a good lookout for the ugly yeast of religion as it attempts to insert itself into our loving relationship with the Divine.
You see, if there’s one thing we must learn from watching this five-day interaction between Jesus and the religious leaders of His Day, it’s the sad fact that unless you and I pay very close attention to our day-to-day walk with Christ, it will be very easy for us to be overcome by the same attitudes of ugliness we find working in the lives of the Pharisees and the Sadducees of Jesus’ time.
As I see it, for those of us who want to live for the glory of God, it’s not just Jesus who stands at the door and knocks (see Revelation 3:20). But religion, my dear friend, is knocking on our door as well, and sadly, it seems that many of our comrades here at the beginning of the 21st century have not only answered the door but have cozied up with the ugly beast.
So, this begs the question.
How do you and I remain on course with God, living in these very contentious times, and keep our wits about us when being tempted to allow our living relationship with the Son of God to deteriorate into a dry, crusty religion, full of dead tradition and life-sucking activity?
It seems to me that Jesus gives us the best answer to that question when we turn the pages of the Bible over to the book of Revelation. Here, at the very end of God’s Word, we find Jesus making this exclusive invitation one last time (Revelation 22: 12-17 MsgB)…
“Yes, I’m on My way! I’ll be there soon! I’m bringing My payroll with Me. I’ll pay all people in full for their life’s work. I’m A to Z, the First and the Final, Beginning and Conclusion. How blessed are those who wash their robes! The Tree of Life is theirs for good, and they’ll walk through the gates to the City. But outside for good are the filthy curs: sorcerers, fornicators, murderers, idolaters—all who love and live lies. I, Jesus, sent My Angel to testify to these things for the churches. I’m the Root and Branch of David, the Bright Morning Star.”
“Come!” say the Spirit and the Bride.
Whoever hears, echo, “Come!”
Is anyone thirsty? Come!
All who will, come and drink,
Drink freely of the Water of Life!
You see, Christianity is really only about one thing…
Relationship with Jesus.
And living the Christian life (discipleship) is best defined this way…
Responding to Jesus invitation, “Come!”
As I see it, anything more we add to these two central truths endangers the purity of our faith and opens the door for our relationship with Jesus to turn into a religion about Christ.
So, on this Easter Sunday, this Resurrection Day, let’s commit to doing one thing only going forward…
Let’s keep our eyes on the Master and follow Him wherever He may go.
For the greater glory of God.
My Prayer: Jesus of Nazareth. On this Resurrection Day, I once again recommit my life to You, the Risen Christ. You, alone, are the Way, the Truth, and the Life. And going forward, keep me in a place of humility and grace, where You lead and I follow; You speak and I listen, and You knock and I open the door. For Your Name’s sake. Amen.
My Questions to Ponder: On this Resurrection Sunday, as I reflect upon my faith in Christ, am I living a simple life of loving Jesus and following Him where He may lead? Or have I complicated my faith by adding in additional religious requirements or piling on extra responsibilities for myself and others? If so, what might it look like to simplify my faith in Christ, focusing more on my loving relationship with Jesus vs. the rightness of my religion?
So, what are you hearing from Jesus as we take this journey into the first 5 Days of Holy Week?
Religion or Relationship: Five Days that Define Our Call in Christ.
A 27-session Lenten blog series from Matthew’s Holy Week Gospel.
Thank you for joining us on this Lenten journey as we took a deeper look at Matthew 21-25. In order to keep all the blog sessions organized, and for future reference, we suggest you bookmark our blog series home page for ease of use.
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