Women of Hope Blog
Read stories from listeners of TWR Women of Hope.
Mar30FriMarch 30, 2018 By the TWR Canada Women's Ministry Team
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Christ is risen!
What comes to mind when you hear those words? If you grew up in the church, you may burst into song. Or you may automatically respond with, “He is risen indeed.” For many, the words sum up the message of Easter: Christ has risen, and we are redeemed! We understand that Christ came as the light of the world and defeated death and darkness. Because of his death on the cross and his resurrection, we are seen as righteous before a holy God. We are loved and accepted as his children.
But sometimes that’s not the message we hear. Perhaps you were raised in the church and were reminded often of how far we are from perfection. Maybe you were reminded of how holy God is and that we’ll never measure up. Some raised in that tradition find it hard to reconcile that Christ loves them and accepts them as they are.
Or maybe you were raised outside the church. You watched people in their Sunday best walking into the church building, and you believed they had it all together. Maybe you wanted to know more about God, but you were sure you wouldn’t fit in at church. You might have believed that you had to clean yourself up in order to present yourself to God and be accepted.
Maybe you fall somewhere outside of or in between these scenarios.
Here’s the beauty of Easter—we can come to Jesus as we are.
Let’s look at one man who came to Jesus that fateful day when the veil was torn from top to bottom.
Simon of Cyrene was pulled from the crowd to help Jesus carry his cross (Mark 15:21). He didn’t have time to prepare mentally, emotionally or spiritually for the task he was given that day. Scripture says he was “compelled” to carry the cross, so he would have just come as he was. The Romans didn’t inquire or care about his gifting, education, character or strengths. He was called, and he stepped up as he was. And he met Jesus.
We don’t know much about Simon, but we can imagine that this brief encounter with Jesus was life-changing and faith-building! From Mark, we know that he had two sons: Alexander and Rufus. A great many traditions connect Simon’s son Rufus to the Rufus Paul mentions as a man of great faith in Romans 16:13: “Greet Rufus, chosen in the Lord; also his mother, who has been a mother to me as well” (ESV). If this is the same Rufus who knew Paul, imagine the history he witnessed and the stories he heard from both Paul and his father Simon! Both the influence of Paul and the impact of Simon’s story would have affected both he and his mother, convincing them of the truth of the gospel and motivating them to be openly known for their faith in a city hostile to Christians at the time.
We can learn two things from Simon’s brief encounter with Jesus: we can come as we are to Jesus, and there is power in sharing our encounter with others.
The day Simon carried Christ’s cross was one of great darkness … in some ways. For those who were walking with him that day, it was a day of great uncertainty, fear and confusion. Was he really the Christ? What had just happened? However, from our vantage point, we know Christ rose again and defeated the darkness. We know that through his death on the cross, Christ took on the sins of the world and became our sacrifice to satisfy the wrath of God. We know that those who come to Christ and put their faith in him are seen by God as being righteous.
Scripture tells us, "Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead..." 1 Peter 1:3 (ESV)
Not only has Christ’s death and resurrection brought us redemption, it has given us living hope! Because of the darkness of Good Friday and the Light of Easter, we are offered the gift of salvation. Not because of what we’ve done; not because of what we deserve. Yet, because of the message of Easter – Christ is risen – we have a living hope!
What an incredible truth! Christ died and rose … for us. For me. For you. That we could be free and live in the light and hope of Christ.
This is the same message that is foundational to TWR Women of Hope’s ministry. Just as you and I have found living hope in the death and resurrection of Christ, we long for women all around the world to share in that gift! Let’s continue to proclaim this message of hope and continue to pray for those who have yet to come as they are to Christ.
Celebrate this Easter! Remember what Christ has done for us; celebrate this truth, and tell others this good news!