Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which comes through faith in Christ, the righteousness from God that depends on faith--that I may know him and the power of his resurrection, and may share his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, that by any means possible I may attain the resurrection from the dead. Not that I have already obtained this or am already perfect, but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me his own. Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.
In many ways it doesn't feel like the typical Easter for us. We didn't make it to a worship service or celebrate it with anyone else. Nevertheless, we have certainly been experiencing the Resurrection of Christ over the last twelve days. We really have experienced the Risen Lord more this Easter than we have on any other Easter of our life.
As I have thought about Easter this year, I have thought about the life of Christ in its entirety. As I have sat and watched Pierce, I have pondered that the God of the universe was once the same size as Pierce. Granted He was still in Mary's womb when He was Pierce's size, but when He was born He was in just a fragile state. Jesus was born in a stable where animals did their business and their were no RN's to monitor His vitals. And to fully understand the Gospel and the Resurrection, we have to rightly understand Jesus' earthly life from the beginning to end. Scripture attests to this (Philippians 2:5-11, 1 John 4:2-3, Romans 10:8-10).
Chreaster is the most important day for us as Christians. That is a little tongue and cheek, but what I am trying to say is that Christmas and Easter are equally crucial for us. Most people I know will say Easter is the most important day for Christians and some will say Christmas. But both are essential to the Gospel. Without Christmas, Easter would not be possible. Furthermore, the coming of Christ presents a beautiful picture of grace just as the Cross of Christ does. Prior to being born of Mary, who at the time was a virgin when she gave birth to Jesus, Jesus was God; invisible, eternal, without a physical being just as God the Father and God the Holy Spirit are now. But approx. 2000 years ago, the second person of the Trinity took on an alien or foreign nature. And that nature was not the nature of an angel, chimpanzee, or what have you. God took on the form of a human being. And He will be in that form for eternity. Jesus will always be fully-God and fully-man. And He did that for us; not angels, not any other creature in the universe. There are fallen angels that need redemption but He did not become an angel. What is even more awe-inspiring is that in the New Heavens and the New Earth, while we will have perfect, glorified bodies without blemish, Scripture seems to dictate that Christ will still have the nail holes is His hands and feet and the mark in His side for all eternity. That is grace. And this in and of itself is an incredible testimony of God's love toward us. God could have left us here to perish, but instead He became one of us.
But as if that was not enough, while on earth Christ went on to live the perfect life before God that no other human being had the chance to since Adam. God in Christ came and fulfilled the law of God for us. And what did He get for it? The punishment we deserve. He was humiliated on the Cross. But really the wooden cross itself was only a part of the punishment and a relatively small part compared to God's wrath that was poured out on Christ. When Jesus was in the Garden of Gethsemane, He wasn't sweating blood simply because of his execution on the cross (Don't get me wrong, death by the cross was extremely painful for Jesus. Death on a cross is where we get the word excruciating from, which means "from the cross." What I am saying is that there was a spiritual punishment poured out on Christ that goes beyond the cross). There are numerous accounts of Christian martyrs laughing and singing as they are being killed in some of the most painful, horrific ways. Jesus was sweating blood because for the first time in eternity He was about to be separated from God the Father ("My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?" (Mark 15:34)) and was going to experience the infinite wrath we deserved for offending the infinite person of God. And since the punishment was infinite, only the infinite could fully suffer the punishment. Only God could pay the price. And that God was the second part of the Trinity, Jesus. He had to be fully-God to be able to withstand the punishment of justice that had to be served, but He had to be fully-human to suffer and face the consequence we deserved on our behalf. And the early Church Father Gregory Nazianzen was right when he said, "what is unassumed, is unredeemed." Thus, God became a human being, lived a perfect life, was killed by those He came to redeem on the Cross, and suffered the wrath of God on our behalf in order to redeem us. But wait, death cannot hold sway of the Author of Life. And because He rules over all things, He cheated sin, death, and Satan by rising from the dead on our behalf. The debt has been paid! We are forgiven!
And you, who were dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made alive together with him, having forgiven us all our trespasses, by canceling the record of debt that stood against us with its legal demands. This he set aside, nailing it to the cross. He disarmed the rulers and authorities and put them to open shame, by triumphing over them in him.
And the Resurrection of Christ is being played out everyday throughout the entire world. The reason that we can know Christ and say that the things of this world are "rubbish" is because of Jesus' life, death, and resurrection. This life is only the beginning, death is not dying for those in Christ. The reason why Pierce will rise, is because Christ has risen. As Pierce becomes healthier in this life, it is only because of God's love through Jesus, not our deserving of it. As Pierce is raised up on that Day when Christ makes all things new, it is because of God's love through Jesus. That is what we are celebrating today. "It is finished" John 19:30. The resurrection has transformed, is transforming, and will transform the entire universe. We believe that. That is why the last twelve days have been the best and worst time of mine and Lindsay's life.
The Resurrection is a way of life. And as we celebrate Easter today, we are grateful that we have experienced the Resurrection in ways we never have before over the last twelve days. By no means have we fully obtained it, but we press on to make it our own, because Christ Jesus has made us His own.
We snapped these picture of Pierce (see below) yesterday. Nurses have been commenting that Pierce is the cutest preemie they have ever seen. We are a little partial, but we have to agree :). We managed to snag one when he didn't have his hip "sunglasses" on. There is also one of Lindsay changing is teeny-tiny diaper. Please continue to pray to the God of all grace for our little man. We are asking for stability in his lungs and heart, as well as healing in his brain. God is working and we thank Him for that. God loves to communicate with His children. God is using your prayers to heal Pierce physically, but He is also using Pierce to strengthen you spiritually. The more you commune with God, the more you know Him. The more you know Him, the more truly alive you become. Let us thank God for His unsearchable wisdom.