Posted by: everynation | April 5, 2007

Easter Winds

by Garry Senna

Garry SennaI love Easter week and what it represents. Easter is an intersection of hope and resurrection. Easter leads us to the intersection of newness and invites us to dream again in a fresh way empowered by God’s abiding presence.

Life can be a cruel taskmaster can’t it? Maybe life, maybe discouragement, maybe circumstances have robbed you of an Easter hope in some areas of your life. I call those areas “intersections” where God wants to blow a fresh wind of hope into our sails. My hope is as you reflect upon these three vignettes that they would do the same for you. If you get real intrigued you can always download the podcast for the full version. Have a wonderful Easter week!

I. The Intersection of Physical Need

Soon another Feast came around and Jesus was back in Jerusalem. Near the Sheep Gate in Jerusalem there was a pool, in Hebrew called Bethesda, with five alcoves. Hundreds of sick people—blind, crippled, paralyzed—were in these alcoves. One man had been an invalid there for thirty-eight years. When Jesus saw him stretched out by the pool and knew how long he had been there, he said, “Do you want to get well?” The sick man said, “Sir, when the water is stirred, I don’t have anybody to put me in the pool. By the time I get there, somebody else is already in.” Jesus said, “Get up, take your bedroll, start walking.” The man was healed on the spot. He picked up his bedroll and walked off. That day happened to be the Sabbath. The Jews stopped the healed man and said, “It’s the Sabbath. You can’t carry your bedroll around. It’s against the rules.” (John 5:1-10)

Can you imagine 38 years of being stuck in a circumstance like this? Years of hope and having it dashed, 38 years of excitement only to come in last again, year after year of looking at something he perceives will bring healing to him – the wind blows the water, the breeze stirs it up — perhaps this now will be my moment! Yet nothing, again and again, time and time again.

An Easter hope believes that God can intersect years of pain and suffering and, in a moment, change our physical circumstances.

II. The Intersection of Promise

When everything was hopeless, Abraham believed anyway, deciding to live not on the basis of what he saw he couldn’t do but on what God said he would do. And so he was made father of a multitude of peoples. God himself said to him, “You’re going to have a big family, Abraham!” Abraham didn’t focus on his own impotence and say, “It’s hopeless. This hundred-year-old body could never father a child.” Nor did he survey Sarah’s decades of infertility and give up. He didn’t tiptoe around God’s promise asking cautiously skeptical questions. He plunged into the promise and came up strong, ready for God, sure that God would make good on what he had said. (Romans 4:18-21)

Ever been promised something and have that promise dashed? Of course we all have. Abraham had a promise from God for a natural family. God’s promise was not on his time frame but Abraham held on to what God had spoken and allowed a fresh “Easter Wind” to intersect his doubt and time-inspired unbelief.

III. The Intersection of Purpose

They arrived on the other side of the sea in the country of the Gerasenes. As Jesus got out of the boat, a madman from the cemetery came up to him. He lived there among the tombs and graves. No one could restrain him—he couldn’t be chained, couldn’t be tied down. He had been tied up many times with chains and ropes, but he broke the chains, snapped the ropes. No one was strong enough to tame him. Night and day he roamed through the graves and the hills, screaming out and slashing himself with sharp stones….. As Jesus was getting into the boat, the demon-delivered man begged to go along, but he wouldn’t let him. Jesus said, “Go home to your own people. Tell them your story—what the Master did, how he had mercy on you.” (Mark 5)

You talk about a messed up life. Living in a cemetery with the entire community around you unable to confine you. Jesus leaves the crowd and comes and interacts with this one individual. Jesus sets the man free from his demonic influence and puts his life on track. What I find so intriguing about this story is that after his deliverance Jesus sends him back to the community he once was a part of. Jesus could have used him as a poster child for his ministry but instead choose to restore him to community — a purpose that I am sure was unexpected for this man. Easter reminds us that God has a purpose for out lives that may be very different than what we had expected or anticipated.

Garry Senna is an avid mountain biker and the senior pastor of Harvest Valley Christian Church in Pleasanton, California.

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