April 15, 2022

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I'm having sort of flashbacks of some very special Easters past; often at a sunrise service. Like the Easter in Miami, with the sun rising over Biscayne Bay as I spoke about Jesus rising from the dead. Or celebrating Jesus with Native Americans in a public park. And the... Oh, yeah, there was the one on the mountaintop near New York City.

And then there was that sunny, but cold, Easter on an Ozark mountainside, with the backdrop of the massive white statue of Jesus known as "The Christ of the Ozarks." He stands there, night and day, with His arms open wide. You know, that's my Jesus - arms open wide.

I'm Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A Word With You today about "Easter - Up Close and Personal."

That's why there's a personal invitation woven into the accounts of Jesus' resurrection. The women who had stuck with Jesus when everyone else ran away had come with spices to properly care for Jesus' hastily buried body. What they found rocked their world; the huge stone rolled away from the tomb and a powerful angel sitting on it! Then the shocker of all shockers. We find it in our word for today from the Word of God, Matthew 28:5-6. "I know that you are looking for Jesus who was crucified. He is not here; He is risen, just as He said."

Then, the invitation, "Come and see."

I remember the morning I "came and saw" for myself what Jesus did for me. My life has never been the same. That invitation, by the way, is still open this Easter. Come, see for yourself. You can miss the game-changing impact of Jesus' Easter triumph if you only look at it as a historical event; which, of course it is, but it's so much more than that. You can even miss it if it's just a religious event. It's so much more personal than that, because Jesus died on that cross to take my hell for my sin, so I can go to His heaven. And because Jesus blew away death that Easter dawn, I don't ever have to fear death again. He said to those who belong to Him, "Because I live, you will live also" (John 14:19). Jesus, and Jesus alone, proved He can give eternal life because He's got eternal life!

There's a lot on the line in that "come and see." Like eternity! Because just knowing about Jesus, liking Jesus, agreeing with Jesus is still missing Jesus. See, He's the gift you have to take to make it yours. He's the Rescuer you have to grab onto in order to be saved. You can be in church, celebrating Easter, but never really have a personal relationship with Him. He can be in your head, but not in your heart. And that's the difference between forever with Him and forever without Him.

And because everyone deserves a chance at Jesus, He won't let us just sit there and say, "Oh, it's so nice to be here with all the folks who know Jesus." No, His Easter invitation is followed by His Easter orders. "Go and tell" (Matthew 28:10).

When you've come and seen what Jesus can do, then go and tell those who haven't. To know the love of a crucified Savior and the power of a risen Savior, and not to tell others about Him? That's a crime against Him and a crime against them. And what should I tell them? It says, "Mary Magdalene went...with the news: 'I have seen the Lord'" (John 20:18). That's it! You tell them your Hope Story of your firsthand experience with Jesus and the difference He's made.

And, look, if you've never come and seen for yourself, if you've never personalized what Jesus did on the cross when He died to pay for every wrong thing you've ever done. If you've never taken Him into your life, let this be the day. What a wonderful time to do that! Just tell Him, "Jesus, I'm Yours." And go to our website. Because I think you'll find there the information that will help you be sure you belong to Him.

I'm so glad the arms of Jesus are still open wide this Easter, to send those who know Him to "go and tell" those who don't, and to welcome someone who's been searching for a long time - maybe you - to "come and see" His love and His power.

Yeah, Jesus walked out of His grave that first Easter. He's ready to walk into your life this Easter.