Editor’s note: Today’s free devotion is a ministry message taken from CTA’s Easter theme, Christ is Risen. This product line offers bookmarks and other small tokens of celebration that you may wish to hand out at your ministry’s Easter celebrations. Along with this ministry message, you are welcome to download other free resources like theme-related invitations, flyers, and bulletin covers to expand the impact of these gifts.
Have you noticed? Some words can make your day.
*The coach says to the Little Leaguer, “You pitch today.”
*The boss says, “It’s your birthday. Take tomorrow off.”
*Mom says to the family, “Bacon for breakfast!”
Some words can do more; some words can change a life. Words like these:
*Will you marry me?
*It’s a girl!
*I love you!
Some words can rock the world, words like these: The Lord is risen! Those life-changing, world-rocking words first fell from the lips of the angels at Jesus’ empty tomb early on Resurrection morning. Listen! (Read Luke 24:1–11.) The world has never been the same.
The women repeated the angels’ words to the disciples as they huddled in fear in the Upper Room. The news was so good, so unbelievably good, that the disciples refused at first to believe. But later that same day, the risen Lord appeared to Peter. Then, toward evening, Jesus walked and talked with Cleopas and another disciple on the road to Emmaus. At supper, the truth finally dawned on them. (Read Luke 24:28–35.) Cleopas and his friend had already walked the seven miles from Jerusalem to Emmaus. Now they ran those same seven miles back to Jerusalem, carrying the message that had rocked their world: The Lord is risen!
Those words changed everything. They changed everything for the women. They changed everything for Cleopas and his friend. They changed everything for Peter. They changed everything for all the apostles. They changed everything for you and for me. “The Lord is risen indeed!” (Luke 24:34 KJV). Those words still rock the world today. They still change lives—our lives. The Lord is risen—and our guilt is gone.
We have all done the wicked things our holy Judge forbids. We have all failed to do good, helpful things our holy Judge commands. No matter how hard we run, we cannot escape. No matter how hard we try, we cannot hide. On Judgment Day, many will try. (Read Luke 23:30.) That gossip you repeated. That hatred you are nursing in your heart. That self-righteousness that leads you to think God owes you something for all you give or all you do for the church. That secret addiction. That failure to do what you can about the needs of the poor. That refusal to learn how to become a better caretaker of the resources God has entrusted to you. That stubborn insistence that you are right and everyone else is wrong.
Whether we feel guilty or not, the Bible says we are guilty, and one day we must give an account. (As time will allow, read one or more of these texts: Romans 3:23; Romans 14:12; Hebrews 4:13; Matthew 5:21–22; Matthew 12:36.)
The New Testament includes more than 80 specific references to the Day of Judgment. Sometimes here on earth, defendants fool the authorities. No one will fool the Judge on that Day. But because the Lord is risen, we won’t have to! Heaven has already rendered our verdict: It is finished! The debt you owed, the debt I owed, is paid in full! The Lord has risen! Our guilt is gone. Our lives are changed forever. The Lord is risen—and Satan has no hold on us.
The name Satan means “adversary” or “accuser.” (Read Revelation 12:10–11.) Because Jesus died, because Jesus rose from death, because Jesus lives, Satan’s accusations have been thrown out of court. Our Judge will no longer listen to them. The Lord is risen—and Satan’s power over us is broken.
The Lord is risen! So don’t allow Satan to keep you in “debtors prison,” locked up behind walls of shame. Don’t let him tempt you to fall back into those sins that hurt you and those around you. That’s not the person you are any more. By faith in Christ, the old you is gone. A new you has sprung to life. Don’t let Satan torture you with your past! The Lord is risen—and death has died.
Listen to the way the Bible describes this. (Read 1 Corinthians 15:51–58.) Death has been swallowed up by Jesus’ victory. Imagine a hornet that has lost its stinger. Imagine a snake that has lost its venom. Imagine a lion that has lost its teeth and claws. For Christians, death is now simply the doorway through which we will pass into our eternal inheritance. All the treasures of heaven belong to us—even now—as heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ (Romans 8:16–18), our crucified, victorious, risen Lord.
These words make our day—each and every day. These words change our life—our entire life—forever. These words change the world—for us and all who believe.
The Lord is risen, indeed (Luke 24:34 KJV). Alleluia!