During my time at Saddleback, I preached 43 Easter messages. I never repeated one. I never needed to because there’s so much to teach about the resurrection.
The resurrection of Jesus Christ is the most important event—and the most important message—in the world’s history. Every Easter, billions of people worldwide remember Jesus’ death on the cross for their sins and celebrate the resurrection that proved Jesus was who he said he was.
But the story of Jesus didn’t end with the resurrection or even his ascension into heaven. Jesus hasn’t been idle for 2,000 years. He has been hard at work.
What has he been doing?
- Jesus is building a family to love forever.
God has planned this since he created the universe. If he didn’t want a family, the universe wouldn’t even exist.
Ephesians 1:5 says, “God decided in advance to adopt us into his own family by bringing us to himself through Jesus Christ. This is what he wanted to do, and it gave him great pleasure” (NLT).
Building God’s family makes him happy! God’s love is unconditional, continuous, and extravagant. Our capacity to give and receive love stems from being made in God’s image. He wants us to develop his characteristics, learning to love others as he does.
God’s family—the one he is building as you read these words—isn’t like any other family on Earth. Every other family is temporary. God’s family is not. It lasts forever.
- Jesus is keeping God’s family safe and secure.
Evil forces in the world will attempt to harm God’s children, believing that will also hurt God. But just like any other loving father, God doesn’t want to lose any of his children.
You’ve probably counseled people like I have who have put their faith in Jesus but doubt whether they can “keep themselves saved.” Often, temptations lead to these doubts. It’s important that we help people understand that, just like they can’t save themselves from sin, they can’t keep themselves saved either. That’s Jesus’ job!
Jesus told us in John 10:27-28: “My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they will never die, and no one can steal them out of my hand” (NCV).
Jesus has been securing our salvation for 2,000 years. I can lose my family, my health, and even my sanity, but I can’t lose my salvation.
- Jesus is praying for every need we have.
The Bible is clear on this: Jesus is God, but he is also praying to God the Father on our behalf. In fact, he did that even just before he died on the cross. (Remember Jesus’ prayer in John 17:9?)
Hebrews 7:24-25 says, “Because Jesus lives forever, his priesthood lasts forever. Therefore he is able, once and forever, to save those who come to God through him. He lives forever to intercede with God on their behalf” (NLT).
Pastor, Jesus is interceding for you and for the people you serve. He knows what’s on your heart. He knows the concerns that weigh you down. He certainly knows that Easter is coming and you are under stress. He is praying for whatever concerns you—even if you don’t know the concern!
But he is also praying for your church family. Think of all those times someone has asked you to pray for them and you’ve felt so inadequate. You didn’t have the words. Guess what? Jesus was already taking those requests straight to God.
- Jesus is preparing a home for us in heaven.
For the last 2,000 years, Jesus has been hard at work preparing a home for us. God brought the entire universe into existence just by speaking. Can you imagine what he’s done in 2,000 years of preparing heaven for you? It’s no wonder that 1 Corinthians 2:9 says, “No eye has seen, no ear has heard, and no mind has imagined what God has prepared for those who love him” (NLT).
I’ve been to 165 countries, and I’ve seen some incredibly beautiful sights—sunsets and sunrises, waterfalls, mountains, and jungles. But this world is broken. Yet even in its brokenness, it’s beautiful. If this broken world is that beautiful, imagine what a perfect place like heaven will be like.
This Easter, God will use you to invite people to that amazing place through a relationship with Jesus. What an incredible opportunity!
- Jesus is waiting for us to finish our assignment.
As a pastor, I’ve witnessed many people’s last moments. I’ve learned that last words are important. Jesus’ last words, known as the Great Commission, are instructions for all believers, not just pastors and missionaries.
Jesus said, “I have been given all authority in heaven and on earth. Therefore, go and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. Teach these new disciples to obey all the commands I have given you. And be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age” (Matthew 28:18-20 NLT).
If there was anything more important to Jesus than the Great Commission, he would have said it in those last words. Instead, Jesus gives his followers a huge assignment: Tell everybody how much I love them before I return. That’s still our mission today, 2,000 years later.
In Revelation 7:9-10, we’re given a picture of what heaven will look like when we’ve completed Jesus’ assignment: “After this I saw a vast crowd, too great to count, from every nation and tribe and people and language, standing in front of the throne and before the Lamb. They were clothed in white robes and held palm branches in their hands. And they were shouting with a great roar, ‘Salvation comes from our God who sits on the throne and from the Lamb!’” (NLT).
As you prepare to share the Good News this Easter, I pray you keep that picture in your mind. Every person who hears your voice needs to know that Jesus alone can save them. Let’s pray together that they will one day stand before the throne of Jesus and praise him for all eternity.