Firstfruit of new life

If only for this life we have hope in Christ, we are of all people most to be pitied. But Christ has indeed been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep. For since death came though a man, the resurrection of the dead comes also through a Man. For as in Adam all die, so in Christ all will be made alive. (1 Corinthians 15:18-22)

Christ has conquered the last enemy, and that enemy is death. Death has lost its sting, its pain. Death is no longer the final battle. When Christ rose from the dead, He demonstrated there is life after death. Jesus became the first to come to new life. Because He lives, we will also live. For us, Easter is not death but resurrection; I want you to live and celebrate this new life everyday.

Jesus got into a boat, crossed over, and came to His own city. Then behold, they brought to Him a paralytic lying on a bed. When Jesus saw their faith, He said to the paralytic, “Son, be of good cheer; your sins are forgiven you.” And at once some of the scribes said within themselves, “This man blasphemes!” But Jesus, knowing their thoughts, said, “Why do you think evil in your hearts? For which is easier, to say, ‘Your sins are forgiven you,’ or to say, ‘Arise and walk’? But that you may know that the Son of Man has power on earth to forgive sins” - then He said to the paralytic, “Arise, take up your bed, and go to your house.” And He arose and departed to His house. Now, when the multitudes saw it, they marvelled and glorified God, who had given such power to men.’ (Matthew 9:1-8)

Why are you so miserable?

This is an unusual story: everybody by this time in His ministry knew that Jesus could heal the sick. The place where Jesus was, was absolutely crowded because people expected Him to heal the sick. In another version of this story, the house where Jesus was preaching was so crowded that the man’s friends had to open up the roof to get the sick man to Jesus.

Here is a man who desperately needed Jesus. Just imagine seeing this man lying on the ground in front of Jesus. He is only there for one reason, not because he loves Jesus, not because he knows who Jesus is, but because the doctors can’t cure his critical condition. Only Jesus can help. As he lies on the floor, his life is in the hands of this Man called Jesus. How does Jesus respond? He looks at him, smiles for a moment, and asks this question: “Why are you so miserable?” The man could have responded because I am dying. He had every reason to be miserable. This man had a good excuse: he was dying. Yet Jesus looks at him and says, “Son, your sin is forgiven, now stop being miserable, cheer up and rejoice!”

Stop worrying - be of good cheer

If there is one message I want to give you today, it is this: Stop worrying about your problems - today is a day of rejoicing - this is the happiest day of our lives, we are alive, hallelujah! If you want to look twenty years younger, just laugh regularly; cast your cares on Jesus, forget your problems; rejoice, and you’ll immediately look more youthful. Proverbs 17:22 teaches us, ‘A cheerful heart does good like medicine, but a broken spirit makes one sick.’

For all of us there are enough problems in our lives to overwhelm us. Jesus gave us a very important message: Stop worrying about tomorrow. Jesus literally said, “Don’t be anxious about tomorrow. God will take care of your tomorrow too. Live one day at a time.” (Matthew 6:34, TLB.) In effect, that is what He said to the man on lying on the floor. Stop worrying. Stop being miserable. Rejoice! Why? The most important thing has already happened, every sin is forgiven. Hallelujah! What joy, what glory: sin is gone, the curse and the power of death is gone forever.

What happiness for those whose guilt has been forgiven! What joys when sins are covered over! What relief for those who have confessed their sins and God has cleared their record. (Psalm 32:1-2, TLB)