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Good Morning MVC - April 27thby Joe Phenisee on April 27, 2020
Every Wednesday, Matt Hengl and I co-lead a group of 6th and 7th grade boys. And yes, at times it can be challenging. During our zoom discussions we have had a student perform magic tricks, another likes to show and tell his pets regardless of the question that is asked, and one student even has finger puppet of Larry the cucumber that he likes to light on fire.
They are the wildest, strangest, and kindest kids we know. Their antics make us laugh, their energy keeps us young, their joys and concerns author our prayers, and some nights, their insight leave us feeling convicted.
This month we have been discussing the meaning of Easter, and what it was that Jesus accomplished for us through his death and resurrection. One thing that I try to stress to our middle school students (and they may be tired of hearing) is that Jesus did not die just to give then a ticket to heaven.
Instead, the cross needs to be understood for everything that it is. It is where the sins of the world are punished and forgiven. It is where the powers of darkness and evil are defeated. And it is where Jesus finishes the work of reconciling all of creation back to God.
Simply put, because of Jesus, your failure doesn’t define you, death has no power over you, and new life is possible because the reign of God has broken in.
While discussing these implications, one of our students asked a question that had Matt and I stumped.
“If Jesus did all these things for us, shouldn’t we be more excited? Why am I not more excited?”
And the more I think about it, he’s asking the right question! Jesus once compared his coming rule as being like a treasure hidden in a field. When a man found it, he hid it again, and in his joy he sold all that he had and bought the field.
And yet so often, my response to Jesus, by comparison to this man, is lackluster. There are days when the fact that “Jesus died for me and lives in me,” is less noteworthy than Jordan Love being drafted by the Green Bay Packers. I mean the latter is crazy don’t get me wrong, but the former, should be earth shattering every time I hear it.
Sometimes the Easter story become so familiar to our ears, that we fail to respond appropriately to it. Especially for those of us who have been in the church for a while, we become accustomed to the Gospel, so much so that at times it just becomes one more story we flip through, one more post we scan over, one more thing in our lives that we make time to consider in our busy schedules.
But perhaps today, let us take a moment to consider what the CM team has been teaching our little ones this month. “Jesus is Alive.” And the same spirit that worked great deeds through him, the same spirit that raised him from the grave, the same spirit that created the world out of nothing, is the same spirit that guides you, comforts you, empowers you, and lives in you today.
We need to remind ourselves that this is not just one more fact! This is not old news, but good news, powerful news, and just a relevant now as it was 2000 years ago. My prayer is that if the good news of Jesus Christ has lost some of its luster, then may Holy Spirit reopen your eyes and hearts to the radical and paradigm shifting news that God loves you, died for you, and his goodness, justice, and glory will soon cover the earth as the waters cover the sea.
May we all rediscover the joy and excitement of knowing Jesus and being known by him.