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I Know

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Posted 04-24-2011 at 07:54 AM by Jeff Westover
Tags easter

While my Christmas celebrations are public in a way that few are my Easter celebrations are quite the opposite.

I consider Christmas to be a sacred event, as much as Easter, but for whatever reason Easter is just more personal.

I suppose it is because I think in my heart that while I can help the world understand Christmas I just cannot begin to adequately express my love and understanding of Easter.

It is difficult enough for me to fathom the depth of what really happened that Easter morning. Perhaps the words of the old hymn "I Know That My Redeemer Lives" begins to explain:

I know that my Redeemer lives,
What comfort this sweet sentence gives?
He lives, he lives who once was dead,
He lives, my ever living head!

I know. Two powerful words.

I have here on these pages explained the very human story surrounding those individuals involved in Jesus' birth.

It is my belief, in fact, that the brief mission of Savior features incredible characters surrounding Him who were fascinating and oh-so-human. They were there His whole life and their story is nearly as important to us as His.

Peter, for example, is one of the most enthusiastic, impulsive and reactive characters in the entire New Testament. I could identify with him in so many ways not for his strength but for his weaknesses. Time and again he was taught and forgiven. And yet he was loved of the Savior as no man was.

Consider for a moment the pure wonderment of that Easter morning amongst those who knew the Christ.

Like Joseph and Mary, they knew that Jesus wouldn't be in that garden tomb.

He told them.

The Savior told those who favored Him and those who opposed Him many times that he would rise up on the third day.

They had to believe Him. After all they had witnessed at the feet of the Savior they had to know it would happen.

They knew.

And yet when that Easter morning came and He was not there, they were astonished.

Their reaction was much the same as Mary's when she found out she would be the earthly mother of the Messiah.

What do you suppose they were feeling?

Our modern world tends to get the message of Easter wrong, much as they do the message of Christmas.

Years ago, as a young missionary serving in Puerto Rico, I awoke to a Good Friday procession re-enacting the death march of Jesus, complete with a man carrying a cross through town, bleeding and being mocked and whipped while on his way. It was horrifying.

This is the image many focus on at Easter.

And to me it is the wrong image.

At Easter we should look again into the empty tomb and ponder its message.

I love the New Testament not only for the telling of the mission of Jesus but also for the heroic stories of the apostles after the death and resurrection of the Savior.

They were, ultimately and like the Savior, rejected in their glad message. What was their glad message?

Their message was that God lives. That Jesus was, in fact, the Messiah. Their message was that He loves us and that this life is part of a grand plan for our own eternal progression. We are God's children, part of a divine heritage filled with hope and purpose.

They knew.

After all, they witnessed the whole thing. They were there when the water was changed to wine. They saw the blind see, the lame walk and the dead rise. They were taught by the Master and saw the change in their lives as a result of His presence.

He lives to bless me with his love,
He lives to plead for me above,
He lives my hungry soul to feed,
He lives to bless in time of need.

My life, too, has been changed as a result of His presence. I know that is difficult -- impossible, even -- for some people to understand and accept.

But I cannot begin to say well enough the impact of His hand in my life.

When I say I know what I'm saying is that I cannot deny Him. It is a statement of fact, not faith. It is set in stone, written in the stars, unchangeable, unmovable, undeniable.

I know.

He lives to grant me rich supply,
He lives to guide me with his eye,
He lives to comfort me when faint,
He lives to hear my soul's complaint:

I've arrived at this knowledge so unlike Zacharias, who couldn't believe it even when told by an angel.

I arrived at this knowledge unlike Peter or John the Beloved or any of the other apostles. I haven't walked with Him and personally witnessed His good works.

I arrived at this knowledge simply as Jeremiah described: through faith, prayer and promptings in my heart I feel but lack the ability to describe.

He lives to silence all my fears,
He lives to stop and wipe my tears,
He lives to calm my troubled heart,
He lives all blessings to impart:

Through times of trial, and through seasons of blessing and abundance, He has been there. In my weakness, my moments of glaring shame even, I feel Him near. As I have learned to pray -- and prayer is a form of work, as the Bible defines it -- I have found sweet confirmation of Him.

I know.

He lives my kind, wise, heav'nly friend,
He lives and loves me to the end,
He lives, and while he lives I'll sing,
He lives, my Prophet, Priest, and King:

As I have attempted to teach my children, to help heal their sometimes broken hearts, I've tried to turn to Him. He makes the unexplainable possible, the impossible attainable, and the hopeless hopeful.

He lives and grants me daily breath,
He lives, and I shall conquer death,
He lives my mansion to prepare,
He lives to bring me safely there:

While the world, who sadly defines Christmas with toys, focuses on crosses and nails and scourging this Easter morning, I cannot help but contemplate things a little differently.

The Greatest Story Ever Told is not a story of death. It is a story of overcoming death. It is a story of everlasting life. It is a story of hope, redemption, purpose and life eternal.

He lives, all glory to his name!
He lives, my Jesus, still the same:
O the sweet joy this sentence gives,
"I know that my Redeemer lives."

These things can only be known in a personal way.

Jesus made a remarkable statement in a prayer just before the events of Good Friday:

And this is life eternal, that they know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent. I have glorified thee on the earth: I have finished the work thou gavest me to do. And now, O Father, glorify me with thine ownself with the glory I had with thee before the world was.

There is much to be learned from that statement. The world makes little note of it. But for me it has been a powerful teacher of not only truth but of how far the world, even the traditional Christian world, has wandered from the real message of the mission of the Savior, of who He was and is.

But these things I know. And I celebrate them today.

May your Easter be a blessed day of peace, love and hope. And may all your Christmases be bright.
Total Comments 2


  1. Old Comment
    [B]Amen Jeff !!! Thank you for your heartfelt and warm message. I myself have been driving EVERYONE nuts on MMC mentioning Jesus the last few days ...but you know what...?! I would do it all over every day if I thought the importance of Easter would shine through and to heck with what folks think of me !![/B]

    [B]God Bless You Jeff.......May the Peace of our Risen Lord be with you and yours (((((HUGS))))))) xo[/B]
    Posted 04-24-2011 at 01:08 PM by caninemom3 caninemom3 is offline
  2. Old Comment
    Storeytime's Avatar
    This gave me goosebumps Jeff. Excellent descriptions of things that I feel in my heart but have trouble expressing in words. I just know. . . . . . . . I just know.
    Posted 03-01-2012 at 10:25 PM by Storeytime Storeytime is offline
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