Prepare for Easter: Daily Devotions from Billy Graham
Easter is a time when we celebrate God's love and sacrifice for us. These meditations for the remaining days leading to Easter Sunday include reflections on Jesus' death and resurrection. As you prepare your heart for Easter, find renewed meaning in these verses and insight from Billy Graham:
Read: 1 Corinthians 15:35-43
As we approach the celebration of Good Friday, I'm reminded of the seven sayings of Jesus from the cross and the glory and the power in each saying.
Jesus was alone. He had come to His own, and His own did not receive Him. When He was being arrested in the garden of Gethsemane, we are told that "all the disciples deserted him and fled" (Matthew 26:56). The crowds who had so recently shouted, "Hosanna!" would soon shout, "Crucify him! ... Crucify him!" (Matthew 21:9, 27:22-23).
Now even His loyal Twelve had left. And at last we hear Him cry out, "My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?" (Mark 15:34). Not only had He been forsaken by His human companions, but now in that desperate and lonely hour, He-because He was bearing our sins in His own body on the cross-had been forsaken by God. Jesus was enduring the suffering and judgment of Hell for you and for me.
How can you show your gratitude to God for allowing His Son to endure the shame and suffering of the cross?
Read: 1 Corinthians 15:44-49
Good Friday celebrates the day our Lord died for our sins on the cross. I have often sat by the hour and tried to imagine the agony and suffering He went through because of our sins. At one point He said from the cross, "It is finished" (John 19:30). He meant that God had accepted His work on the cross as the penalty for our sins.
Christ's death on our behalf is the reason God can forgive us and still be just. And His death teaches us the depth and breadth that there should be in our forgiveness of one another.
While that holy Friday was tremendous, it was only a prelude to Sunday morning when He was raised from the dead. Godly women had come to see His tomb, but angels made the glorious announcement, "He has risen!" (Luke 24:6). His resurrection guaranteed that we, too, will be raised, if we are believers and obeyers of His Word.
As you celebrate the truth that Jesus came from Heaven to redeem you, are you reflecting His likeness to those around you?
Read: 1 Corinthians 15:50-54
From Genesis to Revelation, we are warned that "it is later than you think." Paul writes to Christians in Romans 13:11-12: "The hour has already come for you to wake up from your slumber, because our salvation is nearer now than when we first believed. The night is nearly over; the day is almost here. So let us put aside the deeds of darkness and put on the armor of light."
There are millions of people around the world who do not have peace at this moment because they have never found the secret of peace. Some of them may have riches today as a result of greed and covetousness; but their souls are lean, their hearts are cold toward God, their consciences are dulled, and their minds are blinded.
They need to know that there is a God of marvelous love who sent His Son Jesus Christ to this world. And as a demonstration of His mercy, Christ-who is the Prince of Peace-went to the cross to make a way for peace between God and mankind.
Are you living in the reality of Jesus' victory over death? In what tangible ways can you share that victory with others so that they, too, can have life?
Read: 1 Corinthians 15:55-58
Easter is a season of great gladness for those who know Christ. But for those who are without "the light of the knowledge of God's glory" (2 Corinthians 4:6), there is nothing to rejoice over.
Jesus left us with the great hope and certainty that He is going to return to bring a new Heaven and a new earth where, we are told, there will be no more sorrow, trouble, or death for those who have believed and followed Him. There will be trouble, sorrow, and suffering for those who have neglected or rejected Him.
As Christians, our great task is to obey the command to tell the whole world about Christ crucified, buried, yet risen again. My prayer for you during this season of the year, when we meditate on our Savior's great sacrifice for us on the cross, is that you will be filled with great peace and hope, because "He is risen!" That is the Good News.
As you follow Christ, are you obeying His command to tell others that He is risen indeed?
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(c) Billy Graham Evangelistic Association www.billygraham.org