Getting A Grip on Easter

"I am the resurrection and the life; he who believes in Me will live even if he dies, and everyone who lives and believes in Me will never die. Do you believe this?" John 11:25-26

When I was a student at Baylor University, 1968-1972, we suffered through four dismal football seasons, and two different coaches. Just before I left the campus, a third sacrificial lamb was being offered on the altar. With the arrival of Coach Grant Teaff the Baylor faithful were asked once again to put their trust in the ancient mantra, "Wait 'til next year!" Bumper stickers and billboards began to announce the simple phrase, "I Believe!"

In the fall of 1972, I didn't get to stay in town and witness the resurrection of the program. I was serving in Tukuyu, Tanzania on a remote station in the Southern Highlands of East Africa. When word did arrive about Baylor's early success, one of the missionaries, David Whitson, commented wryly, "Oh, look! Baylor won its game early this year!" Heretic! Obviously, he was not a true believer.

When I returned to the States in the fall of 1974, Baylor's resurrection of their football program had produced a great deal more confidence. Under Teaff's coaching and quarterback Neal Jeffrey, they represented the Southwest Conference as champions and played Penn State in the 1975 Cotton Bowl. Good times!

Within two years, the Bears had moved from a perennial conference door mat to conference champions. The "I Believe!" bumper sticker campaign did not have any power in and of itself to win ball games, but it did raise a significant issue. Before the transformation could begin, someone had to believe it could be done.

Belief is powerful, especially when it is placed in the truth of the Word of God. It means more than intellectual acknowledgement or the accumulation of information. It involves trust, and the act of the will to place confidence in something or someone. With one statement and one question, Jesus settles the issue once and for all. Belief in the resurrection of Jesus Christ is the key to unlocking the door to new life. Belief in Jesus as a good man, great teacher, or ancient prophet all fall short of the answer to the question, "Do you believe this?"

How do you get a grip on the reality of Easter? Does your hand glide over the Scriptural account, and give you have a slight touch on this timeless truth? Do you have a white knuckled grip on Easter, or do you drop it as soon as the service is over and the eggs are in the basket?

Use the five fingers of your hand as a reminder of how important it is for you to get hold of the truth of Easter, and never let go of the power of the resurrection.

1. "I am the resurrection and the life." Jn 11:25-26
This is the thumb of belief. Without the resurrection of Jesus, there is no promise to believe, a person to trust, and or power to transform.

2. "I go to prepare a place for you!" Jn 14:2-3
This in the index finger that points us to Heaven. Remember, this world is not our home.

3. "In this world you have tribulations, but take courage. I have overcome the world." Jn 16:33
We are in the middle of a battle. The victory has already been won, but expect resistance.

4. "I am with you always, even to the end of the age." Matt. 28:20
The ring finger symbolizes the never ending relationship between the Bridegroom and His Church.

5. "I am sending forth the promise of My Father upon you." Luke 24:49
This is the final finger, but this is not the finale of Easter. It is the prelude to praying for Pentecost. The power of God is available to people who admit their weakness.

Get a real grip on Easter, and let your belief in the resurrection transform your life today.