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Christian Living

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Grin and Grow with Kathy 03/24/21

Resurrection is Christ’s Peace Offering

The empty cross is a Christian

STORY: Resurrected Winter

I remember one of my early childhood Easter Sundays. Well—to be honest—I’m not sure if I remember it or if my mind has connected the dots based on looking at the photos over the years. I remember how proud I was of my Easter outfit. A beautiful spring dress, white anklets, new shoes, an Easter hat and white gloves. I couldn’t wait for the day to wear this princess-like outfit. We set it out the night before. I think I anticipated dressing for Easter as much as I did the basket of eggs and candies.

But then morning came. A late winter front moved through and it was freezing cold. We posed for photos outdoors without our coats so we could see our adorable outfits. I’m pretty sure I had goosebumps on my goosebumps. There was no fighting it, I’d have to wear my commonplace winter coat, worn all winter long and no longer new, over my springtime outfit. I was so disappointed!

The day was saved because we had church and family time and in the end, my outfit didn’t determine my outlook or my outcome!

I remember how innocent I was and how much unbridled peace I enjoyed. Sadly, not long after, while still a young child I learned about family dysfunction and friend-bullies. I didn’t have to have very many Easters before peace wasn’t an automatic emotion.

During this study, we’ll look at how the resurrection delivers peace back to a people who no longer lived in the naivety of innocence. Peace with God. Peace with others. And peace within self.

STUDY: The Empty Cross—a Christian’s Peace Sign

Suddenly, Jesus was standing there among them! “Peace be with you,” he said ... They were filled with joy when they saw the Lord! Again he said, “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, so I am sending you.” (John 20:19-21 NLT)
  • These words were spoken after Jesus resurrected. He could have told his disciples anything, but he chose a common greeting, “Peace be with you.” This would be similar to our “hello.”
  • While the words were common, they were not simple. If the disciples needed anything after seeing Jesus crucified, they needed peace. During this Easter season, could you use a little more peace? How does knowing the gospel and the power of the resurrection give you peace?
  • Easter removes all the roadblocks in knowing peace. The disciples were filled with joy when they saw the Lord. Describe a time when you had a burst of joy because you saw Jesus at work in your life.

Peace with God

Therefore, since we have been made right in God’s sight by faith, we have peace with God because of what Jesus Christ our Lord has done for us. (Romans 5:1 NLT)
  • Because of the cross and resurrection, we have peace with God. What does it mean to have peace with God?
  • How are we made right in God’s sight and what is the significance of it? This process is called justification.

Peace with Others

For Christ himself has brought peace to us. He united Jews and Gentiles into one people when, in his own body on the cross, he broke down the wall of hostility that separated us...Together as one body, Christ reconciled both groups to God by means of his death on the cross, and our hostility toward each other was put to death. (Ephesians 2:14, 16 NLT)
  • Because of Easter, we can have peace with others. We learn a whole new way of reconciliation. First reconciled to God, we have a pattern for reconciliation with others. What have you learned about having peace with others through the account of Good Friday and Easter?
  • Christ is the supplier of our peace. How does something as awful as the cross introduce a new kind of peace to the human race?
  • In this age of hostility, this passage means even more. Rather than focusing on what divides us, how can we put to death the hostility we might hold personally toward a people group?

Peace within Self

Let everyone see that you are considerate in all you do. Remember, the Lord is coming soon. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus. Keep putting into practice all you learned and received from me—everything you heard from me and saw me doing. Then the God of peace will be with you. (Philippians 4:5, 7, 9 NLT)
  • How do these words bring you internal peace?
  • Which is harder for you, finding peace with God, peace with others, or peace within yourself?

Ultimate Peace

For God in all his fullness was pleased to live in Christ, and through him God reconciled everything to himself. He made peace with everything in heaven and on earth by means of Christ’s blood on the cross. (Colossians 1:19-20 NLT)
  • Throughout today’s devo-study, we have seen that reconciliation is a part of the peace process. What happens to peace when there is conflict? This is why it’s important to call a “cease fire” to any divisiveness, and bring people together with each other, and to God.
  • Let’s also focus on how God (being fully God) was pleased to live in Christ. It is because of this that Jesus did not stay dead, but had the power to arise. We have much to celebrate this Easter! What did Christ’s blood on the cross do for heaven and earth? For you?

STEPS: What to do with this peace offering?

  1. Peace with God. When life gets quiet enough to spend time in introspection, what are your prayers like? Is there an area that needs more peace with God?
  2. Peace with others. When you evaluate your stress level, how many of your triggers are caused by personal relationship issues (with co-workers, family, friends, or church family)? Or the political/racial unrest of our time? What determined step will you take toward reconciliation?
  3. Peace within self. When it all gets boiled down, if there is turmoil within yourself, peace vanishes. Your soul wrestles with truth versus falsehoods. What is one step you can take to solidify your identity in Christ, so that your faith displays the peace you have inside?
  4. Ultimate peace. Jesus paid the price on the cross and declared victory through the resurrection so that we might have this unhumanlike peace. Let’s receive it (again) today!
I am leaving you with a gift—peace of mind and heart. And the peace I give is a gift the world cannot give. So don’t be troubled or afraid. (John 14:27 NLT)

Copyright © 2021 Kathy Carlton Willis, used with permission.

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