Echoes From the Campfire

Was it through such a silence as this that one could hear the voice of God?”
              –Zane Grey (Captive of the Desert)

    “This is the day the LORD has made; We will rejoice and be glad in it.”
              –Psalm 118:24 (NKJV)
Here’s a question to ponder:  If Easter is to be associated predominately with one emotion what would it be?  The key word to ponder is emotion.  Perhaps you said love.  That would be yes, and not, depending on whether you think love is an emotion.  I think if we choose to believe that love is an emotion we are in trouble.  However, love does give way to other emotions.
    Let’s try this one–joy.  Mary was grieving when she went to the tomb that morning.  Her heart was sick, and when she came upon the “Gardener” she told Him that they had taken the body of her Lord away.  Until!  Until she recognized the voice of Jesus and all of a sudden to despair and grief turned to joy.  Jesus had told them that their sorrow would be turned to joy (John 16:20).  Christians who walk about stepping on their lower lip need to understand the fullness and reality of Easter — joy!
    Yes, it is true, the world will know we are Christians by our love, but also by our joy.  Friday was a day of God’s wrath, it was doom and gloom, there seemed to be no hope.  The disciples had forgotten, in the words of the old preacher, that “Sunday’s coming!”  It is because of the sacrifice on the cross and the empty tomb that we should be singing, “I’ve got the joy, joy, joy, down in my heart…”  Because of Easter our heaviness with the woes and worries of this life has been turned into joy.  
    Why should we be joyful?  First of all simply because He died and is alive.  We are well assured that He is alive, that He is reigning on His throne in heaven, but also that He lives within our hearts.  He triumphed over the grave.  Satan tried his best and is wasn’t enough.  I think it is interesting that Jesus never feared the grave.  He knew for certain that He would rise again.  He said I will rise again the third day.  It was that cross that loomed in front on Him, and even more so, sin.  He would become sin.  All the sin the world has known or will know would be placed on Him.  That is why He wanted the cup removed.  Because of His victory over the grave and death our heaviness is turned into joy.  Because He is risen we can sing the old chorus, “It is joy unspeakable and full of glory…Oh, the half has never yet been told.” (B.E. Warren)
    I like the way the Amplified puts the second part of Hebrews 12:2, “who for the joy [of accomplishing the goal] set before Him endured the cross, disregarding the shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God [revealing His deity, His authority, and the completion of His work].”  Jesus was going to accomplish the goal of our salvation.  He received joy in that knowledge.  How much more should we be able to express joy in our lives because of His enduring the cross and His enduring work that resulted from it.  That’s why it’s called “Good Friday.”  Mankind has received the opportunity to live eternally with God because endured the cross and rose again.
    Let me leave you with the words of Henry Parry Liddon, It is of the triumph of Christ we should have joy.  “…they buffeted and spat upon, and mocked and derided, and nailed to the wood, and laid in the sepulcher.  It is all over now; His enemies have done their best or their worst; and He has swept it all aside, since, now that He is risen.  And we, as we kneel before Him, think, first of all, of Him.  It is His joy which inspires ours; it turns our heaviness into joy, and puts off our sorrow and girds us with gladness.”
(Take the time to go to YouTube, or my FaceBook page and listen to Rev. S.M. Lockridge’s sermon, “It’s Friday but Sunday’s Comin'”.)