Editor’s note: It’s here - Holy Week. We are just days away from Easter, but what exactly does that mean for Christ-followers? Find out with this devotion. It is slightly adapted from the FREE sermon outlines that accompany This Is Love, one of CTA’s themes for the Easter season.
How was your week? Outstanding? Exceptional? A standout? Or would you describe it as more mundane? Routine? Ordinary?
How about the week ahead? Will it be routine, ordinary? Or do you expect it to be exceptional, outstanding?
If you are a Christ-follower, the week ahead will be anything but ordinary. It is Holy Week. Day by day, we will remember what our Lord Jesus, in love, did for us. We will recall all he endured for us. We will remember that even though we follow a routine, no week is ordinary. No day is ordinary. No week or life is ordinary.
In fact, no life, lived by faith in Jesus is ordinary.
Whether you believe that or not, I invite you think about this idea along with me for a few minutes. Let’s see if we can discover what our Lord Jesus might be saying to us as we reflect on the significance of our lives in preparing to celebrate his victory over sin and death.
In the Book of Acts, we encounter many seemingly ordinary people. There’s Lydia, the entrepreneur and business woman. There’s Peter, the fisherman. There’s Dorcas, the seamstress. There’s Dr. Luke, the physician. There are the tentmakers, Aquila and Priscilla.
Notice that none of these people worked at occupations you and I might consider especially impressive or prestigious. Most of the early believers were people just like you and me. In one of his letters, Paul even comments on this. (Read 1 Corinthians 1:25–27.)
As we read in Acts, we meet a disciple named Ananias. We don’t know what Ananias did for a living, but we do know that when God sent him to baptize Paul, Ananias almost didn’t go. Why? He was afraid. Anxiety. It’s an ordinary emotion. One we readily recognize today.
We also see that at times Paul struggled with discouragement. The Book of Acts and the letters Paul wrote hint at that. Gloom. The mighty apostle understood this ordinary emotion. You and I recognize it, too, don’t we?
It is so easy to think that the Kingdom of God advances on the shoulders of “God’s men of great power” and “God’s women of great faith.” In contrast to these supposed heroes, we think of ourselves as “just a’s”: I’m just a manager. I’m just a farmer. I’m just a retired person. I’m just a nurse.
But when God, by grace, adopted you into his very own eternal family, your ordinary, “just a” life ceased to exist! As you were adopted, you were also called, called to service in the Kingdom of our Savior, the family of our God! There are no ordinary people here! That’s the message of Holy Week. That’s the message of Good Friday and of Easter. Paul writes:
If Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile and you are still in your sins (1 Corinthians 15:17 [emphasis added]).
If Christ Jesus did not suffer, die, and rise again, you stand condemned - in life and in death. Your life here on earth is meaningless, purposeless. It is a life pockmarked by trivial pursuits and damnable rebellion against a holy God. Then, you die. And the worst - the very worst - happens.
If Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile and you are still in your sins. . . . But in fact Christ has been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep (1 Corinthians 15:17, 20 ESV).
But in fact, Christ did suffer - for you! Christ did die - for you! Christ is risen and now lives - for you! This is love! And those facts change everything!
Because of what happened on that Holy Week so many centuries ago, you are by faith God’s child. You are his servant, his ambassador, his witness. You represent the King of the universe! You are called to a life of service, of witness, of meaning.
You are that just as surely as Dorcas, just as surely as Aquila, just as surely as Lydia, just as surely as Paul and Peter and Priscilla and all the others.
“Hosanna!” we pray as we enter Holy Week through the door marked “Palm Sunday.” It means, “Lord, save!” And he has! He has saved us from our sins. He has saved us from emptiness and self-focus. All of us - presidents and factory workers, clerks and judges, teachers and vet assistants - all of us stand on level ground beneath the cross of our Savior and we are so very thankful that . . .
We will be saved through the grace of the Lord Jesus (Acts 15:11 ESV).
Jesus lived, died and rose again - for us! That means no Christian life is ordinary. No Christian is a “just a.” We live lives of significance and purpose. Our life stories are part of God’s much larger story, the story of salvation!
Listen! God is calling! You don’t need to get a passport and move to Indonesia or Nepal as a missionary, either. How does a shoemaker honor God? By making excellent shoes. How does a farmer glorify God? By taking excellent care of God’s creation and growing food for hungry people. How does an entrepreneur honor God? By fully engaging each day’s tasks to the best of his or her ability. The Bible reminds us:
Whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God (1 Corinthians 10:31 ESV).
That is your ultimate purpose: the glory of God. Whatever the details of your daily life, whatever the tasks you carry out day to day, week to week, you can live for the one who died for you! Yours is no ordinary calling. Yours is no ordinary life.
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