Are you looking forward to celebrating the resurrection of Jesus Christ? You. Should. Be. In John 20:20, the Bible describes the truly hot take of those whose breath is taken away by the realization that their Savior has unmistakably come back from the grave: “And when he had so said, he shewed unto them his hands and his side. Then were the disciples GLAD, when they saw the Lord.” The word “glad” carries the following ideas: “to rejoice EXCEEDINGLY, to be well, to thrive.” Is this the prominent vibe of your heart or is it more than a bit ho hum this spring? The best way-I am discovering-to fight this frequent, apathetic tendency is to disentangle our thoughts and feelings through a pen tip prayerfully sanctified/directed toward God Himself.
I am truly excited about and being deeply moved by a special project that our church is entering into this year for the Easter season. We are calling it “Thank You, Jesus Project,” an initiative to have every member/attendee in our church write a sealed thank you card directly and personally to the Risen Savior and then post it on our stage cross for Good Friday/Easter Sunday. I must admit that it took me, as someone who has grown accustomed to/almost too familiar, some time to get in the right frame of mind to generate this post. What can I say to the One who is everything to me?! Here’s my feeble attempt, a note that frequently brought unworthy, overwhelmed me to tears as I penned it:
Truly your gospel is not only so incredibly rich and sweet but also so gloriously sufficient and complete. The only thing left to do for yours truly is say, “Thank you.” On the brink of yet another Easter-my 37th as a believer, I wanted to take a few moments and list for you why I am grateful to have personal relationship with you, the only risen Savior.
- Thank you for directly taking on death, hell, and the grave so that a little, lost, five-year-old boy named Harley could receive you as Lord and Savior with his brother Travis beside his bunkbed on muggy summer night in 1985!
- Thank you for a grave the empties my heart of overwhelming, persistent guilt and shame that loudly tries to convince me I don’t have access to your love and favor!
- Thank you for making your living presence unmistakably seen and felt in my life on a daily basis to confront my doubts and worries!
- Thank you for placing your birth, life, death, and resurrection in real time and space in a way that dares the most hardened skeptic to prove you and your teachings a fraud (a oft-attempted approach that has yet to succeed after two thousand years)!
- Thank for the living realities of your salvation that are for every generation including my children and their generation who can also know you as their personal Savior! (Thank you that both my sons are believers in your grace.)
- Thank you for freeing my soul from the fear of death itself and the otherwise unknowns beyond the grave!
- Thank you for giving me a secure, abiding rest in your life than cannot be compromised by the far-too-often weaknesses and shortcomings in my own life!
- Thank you for undergirding your authority, power, and clarity of the Word (A book all about you) with the foundational, reassuring footnote of your verified resurrection.
- Thank you for enabling me to distinctly grieve with hope and anticipated reunion the loss of love ones who I wish I could share one more earthly Easter dinner and yet have preceded me in physical death.
- Thank you for validating your deity and the efficacy of your substitutionary death upon the cross for my sins by conquering the grave!
- Thank you depositing your epically-powerful Spirit inside me, the same Spirit who brought you out of the borrowed tomb!
- Thank you for the daily opportunity to leave behind the old man with all of his habits and ruts and to walk in the newness of life you have given to my new man in you!
- Thank you for, as the possessor of all power, commissioning me with spiritual gifts to be a part of reaching, teaching, and baptizing others in your name through the local church…especially on Easter Sunday!
- Thank you for continuing to live to make intercession for me before your Father in Heaven-a place, in your name, that I can come to find grace and mercy to help me in seasons of great need!
- Thank you for a secure, real future in which I can anticipate worshipping, serving, and just being face to face with the one who loved me and gave Himself for me!
In Your Living, Reigning, Eternally Gracious Name,
Harley R. Snode
As Cicero so wisely concluded, “Gratitude is not only the greatest of the virtues, but the parent of all of the others.” What could be renewed or inaugurated in your heart, home, church, community…if you would but choose to enter this spring season with a fresh, healthy dose of gratitude to the God who has or is willing to rescue you from death itself? Let’s join Paul in says, “Thanks be to God for his unspeakable gift” (2 Co. 9:15)!
Would you join me in writing a “thank you” note to Jesus this Easter? (Feel free to post it in the comments below.)