Monday, April 14, 2014


So, yes, here we are at the beginning of Easter week.

And I am sitting in front of my laptop wondering what I can say about these most miraculous events.

What can I say that might be new and fresh and exciting?

And then I realize something – what on earth has happened to make me think the story needs a facelift?


But really, isn't this part of the enemy's grand plan?  If he wasn't able to stop the crucifixion in the first place, then let's just spend the next 2,000 years trying to minimize it.

Let's face it, there's not much room in our culture for a Savior anymore.  Most people are too busy chasing the almighty dollar, or seeking their 15 minutes of fame, or doing their best to run faster than old age…

Most people don't have time for Easter week.

I'm not trying to point fingers here – because I know that sometimes I am guilty of this mindset, too.

I can be guilty of sidelining Jesus because He just doesn’t *fit in* sometimes.

This year is different, though.

This year I am pondering it all in a different light.  And I've come up with three lessons, and some questions I want you to ponder along with me.

The first thing that fascinates me about Easter week is how quickly Jesus went from being a hero to a zero.

Today (Palm Sunday) Jerusalem is feting Him as the King.  There is noise and praise and oh-so-much-attention.

And yet, in less than a week, Jesus will spend a lonely vigil in a garden, sobbing with soul-wrenched tears, frightened and exhausted and humbled to death.

What happened?

Well, Jesus became unpopular.  Jesus offended the "powers that be."  Jesus acted like Jesus, instead of conforming to the expectations of the crowd.

Lesson One:

Jesus does not fit into a neat little package.  He doesn't "perform."  He will not be at our beck and call to execute our wishes.  He is no genie.  No, He is the great I AM – and that one fact, that He is God, makes Him unpredictable.

So this is my first question:

Are we guilty of re-making Jesus into our own image – of wanting a comfortable God? 

OK, so here's the second thing that fascinates me about Easter week.  

Jesus didn't have to die.

Oh sure, our sins would not have been forgiven if He didn't.  But think about it – in reality, our sins didn't need to be forgiven.  Oh sure, if our sins weren't forgiven, we could never be reconciled to God and have a relationship with Him.  But think about it – in reality, God didn't need a relationship with us.  He wasn't incomplete without us.

Do you see the theme?

Yes, God did set up a system of sacrifice in the Old Testament – a way to atone for sins.  But, He didn't have to follow that up with a Savior.  Not really.

The plain fact of the matter is that Jesus didn't HAVE to die…

He wanted to.

And God chose to have Him die.

This is what stops me – there is an almighty choice in this matter of the crucifixion.  God didn't have to do anything to restore the relationship that we broke in the Garden of Eden.  He wasn't obligated to clean up our mess.

He wanted to.

Because of a love that we can barely conceive of – a love that wants relationship.  A love that cost Jesus His very life.

You know, if I never do anything else in my entire life except sit at the feet of the Lord and thank Him for this unspeakable gift, I would be complete.

Lesson Two:

Jesus didn't have to die, but He chose to because of His tremendous love for us.  His love cost Him His life.  It was a choice that He made.  Though He could have stopped it at any point by calling down a host of angels, He didn't.  Why?  Because He wanted a relationship with us, though we didn't deserve it.

So these are my second questions:

Why do we lose sight of the tremendous, all-fulfilling love of God? Why do we look for anything else to fill us up?

Finally, this Easter week is holding a new meaning for me as I contemplate it in view of my dad's recent death.

How many years have I gone through all the Easter services and been tremendously blessed by what I hear?   (Don't answer that – you might need a calculator).

But this year, as I look forward to Easter Sunday, I am thinking about the Resurrection in a new light.

The simple statement that resounds in my mind is this:

Jesus didn't STAY dead!

Actually, Jesus tells us that we never really die if we believe in Him.   Our bodies, these paltry earthly tents, will cease – but the real person, the whatever-it-is that makes us *us* – well, that never dies.

My dad died in January.  And after we received the call from the rehab facility that he had passed away, my brother went over.  He said that he got one last look at Dad's face.

I asked him what it was like.  Words like "surreal" and "eerie" came to mind. But he also said something to the effect that though Dad's face looked peaceful, you could tell that he was gone.

That's it, isn't it?  HE was gone – the spirit that was the real Dad was with Jesus.

Does this make sense?

Let me tell you, the whole experience with my dad was, indeed, surreal and eerie.  It's the closest death I've ever known.  And I've spent a lot of time trying desperately to comprehend it all.  But here's the conclusion that I've come to…

Death cannot be understood.

And that is why it's scary – it's the biggest unknown we'll ever face.

But, is it really??

This Easter, I'm finally beginning to understand that it isn't unknown – it's just un-experienced by me.

Jesus told the thief on the cross, "Today you will be with Me."

And I truly believe that is what He says to me, right now, on this side of eternity –

"Sharon, don't be afraid.  I died and I am alive!  One day, the same thing will happen to you.  One moment you will be in your body, and the next moment you will be with Me.  There will be no limbo, no black unconsciousness, no moment that I will EVER leave you alone.  

And because My life-giving Spirit lives within you, you are now living a resurrected life.  You, the real you, will never, ever die.  In life, in death, you are held by Me."

Lesson Three:

Jesus didn't really die, and neither will we.  Dying might be surreal and eerie because we don't understand it.  But it doesn't have to be the big and feared unknown.  Death is only the doorway that will transport us to the Lord's Presence.  

So these are my last questions:

Why do we let our enemy fool us into thinking that death is an ending?  Why do we allow him to torture us with fear about the moment we meet Jesus face-to-face?

Friends, as I enter this week of Easter, I am more fascinated than ever by the person of Jesus Christ.  He is a gold mine of wonder than can never be fully explored.  But oh, the joy in the journey of getting to know Him more and more!

Jesus, the King who doesn't conform to our expectations.  The One who is always an unpredictable surprise.  

Jesus, the Savior who didn't have to die, but chose this way because of Love.  The One who sacrificed everything because He wanted a relationship with us.  

Jesus, the Victor who didn't stay dead.  The One who proved that death isn't a scary ending, but a thrilling beginning to eternity in His presence!

Jesus, the Risen Lord.

Jesus, Only You!

 "Why are you looking among the dead for someone who is alive?
He isn’t here! He is risen from the dead!" 

"But very early on Sunday morning the women went to the tomb, taking the spices they had prepared. They found that the stone had been rolled away from the entrance.  So they went in, but they didn't find the body of the Lord Jesus."  (Luke 24:1-3, NLT)

"They said to each other, 'Didn't our hearts burn within us as he talked with us on the road and explained the Scriptures to us?'" (Luke 24:32, NLT) 

"And just as they were telling about it, Jesus himself was suddenly standing there among them.  'Peace be with you,' he said.  But the whole group was startled and frightened, thinking they were seeing a ghost!  'Why are you frightened?' he asked.  'Why are your hearts filled with doubt?  Look at my hands. Look at my feet.  You can see that it's really me.  Touch me and make sure that I am not a ghost, because ghosts don't have bodies, as you see that I do.'  As he spoke, he showed them his hands and his feet." 
(Luke 24:36-40, NLT)

"And he said, 'Yes, it was written long ago that the Messiah would suffer and die and rise from the dead on the third day.  It was also written that this message would be proclaimed in the authority of his name to all the nations, beginning in Jerusalem: 'There is forgiveness of sins for all who repent.'  You are witnesses of all these things.'" (Luke 24:46-48, NLT)

"'Don't let your hearts be troubled.  Trust in God, and trust also in me.  There is more than enough room in my Father's home.  If this were not so, would I have told you that I am going to prepare a place for you?  When everything is ready, I will come and get you, so that you will always be with me where I am. And you know the way to where I am going.'

'No, we don't know, Lord,' Thomas said.  'We have no idea where you are going, so how can we know the way?'

Jesus told him, 'I am the way, the truth, and the life.'" (John 14:1-6, NLT)

As you begin Easter week - what is one new thing you can ponder this year?

Linked today with:

Jen at UNITE

BLOG = "Blessedly Leaning On God!"


  1. "Jesus didn't stay dead", lol, love this! And love the fact that the real story does not need a facelift! Amen! Beautiful today, Sharon. God bless.

  2. You've left me pretty much speechless with this one. God has given you the tremendous ability (a gift) of putting this into perspective. Thank you, Sharon. I pray your Holy Week is blessed beyond measure :)

  3. This is one of your best writings/thoughts/devotionals, Sharon, and all of them are very good; this is the cream of the cream. Absolutely wonderful words you shared with us, lots of contemplating about it this week and lots of soul searching to come up with the answers to the questions you posed here. I'm going to be pondering about this over the next week!


  4. Hi Sharon! What a hugely encouraging post for me today. I love all your insights, especially as you point out how evil twists the loving facts of Christ's life, just to try and make us miserable. How often do I let him win?
    So much better to see that God has the plan, and I don't have to 'drive' all the time.
    I pray for so many blessings to fall on you this Easter, as you remember your dear Father. Both in his dying and rising. We are not held down! Our spirits will rise and live in Paradise. So wonderful.
    Thank you for this great post!

  5. Grand thoughts. Great questions. I will keep these rolling about in my spirit this week. I grew up in a church where Jesus was "crucified" every week and his passion and death rehearsed. Statues of his dead body on a cross hung centrally for all to see and meditate upon. When I got saved at age 24, I "got" the point - it was the Resurrection. His death and our salvation would be for naught were it not for the Resurrection. My thoughts turn to that this week - daily, in fact - seeking His new life lived in me - not just during "Holy Week" but 52 weeks of the year. The dying part is my job - dying to self so I might live in Him and His resurrected life. So thankful today as I mull over these things. Thanks for sharing - and especially your intimate thoughts about your dad. Take joy, my friend . . .

  6. JESUS Only YOU!

    Awesome ... I too am left speechless and pondering your questions and insights as JESUS is REVEALED to you and shared with us! But deeply touched by how you share about your dear dad in respect to all this and of course, the ULTIMATE---the Resurrection!!! Jesus, the Way, the Truth and the Life! Amen, sis and so beautifully penned the lessons in this week-a holy week, "that does not need a facelift" or any lift, other than the glorious One of our King Jesus!

    Looking into His face for an eternity filled with the Hope and the message of the Cross with hopes that more come to Him and His saving grace and love (that He did not have to die) continues to aMaze me so beautifully written with your words that "HE WANTED TO ..." May we (e.v.e.r.y.o.n.e. of us) want Him as much and celebrate the glorious power in Jesus Resurrection, each day as we reflect on Jesus and the Hope of His Resurrection in us and for us! Have a blessed Resurrection SONday, my specially gifted friend and sister! I love you Sharon and every word, lesson, insight and thought you share (keeps me growing and amazed, and so very thankful our paths crossed and cross at the foot of Jesus' Cross and "the doorway ... " Glory! Hallelujah! He is Risen and lives!

    Many blessings, thoughts and prayers (((hugs))),

    1. sorry, that I only slighted touched on the question you asked us:
      "As you begin Easter week - what is one new thing you can ponder this year?"

      the depth of HOPE in the Resurrection (ours and His)

  7. Excellent thought provoking post. I have pondered today, that maybe in the lead up to Good Friday, we experience just a very tiny bit of the suffering, a very tiny bit of what Jesus suffered and He did it for us. But on the third day He Rose Again, Praise His Name - have a wonderful Easter Day Sharon

  8. Okay I want to tell you something - the last lesson - the word YET - just meant so much to me. I really got a lot of out it. Love, sandie

  9. Those are great lessons to learn, not in our mind, but in our soul; the only place we can grasp it because He dwells there, ALIVE! The world was looking for a weak human king, they didn't know He was the God that created the cosmos! His perfect love is what He spent on us... Blessings to you this season of celebration!

  10. He didn't have to die for us - and He didn't stay dead - it never ceases to move me, fill me with awe! I am so glad you are turning your mourning to joy - finding the hope in the loss of your father! Wishing you blessing-filled quiet time with our Father and Savior this week!

  11. So much here that I am truly going to have to read it again and maybe again to wrap my head around all the goodness. I loved it from the first lesson and cheered at the last.

    I loved what you said about death and dying and so much else. I loved what you said at the beginning about trying to somehow "improve" on the greatest story ever told. Bingo. I'm stand convicted.

    I loved what you said here:

    " Jesus acted like Jesus, instead of conforming to the expectations of the crowd."

    I'm struggling with something in my own life that has done a wallop on me bigger than anything I've experienced lately. When I read that, I thought two things about my own experience.

    1. How much of it is because I have tried to act like JESUS and not conform to the pattern of the world? (A lot, when I think about it so I should glory in it instead of wallow in it, if I am true to the faith.)

    2. How I REACT to the turning crowd must be like Jesus too.

    I'm truly trying with that one.

    Write thoughts as usual. Only sorry that it took me so long to get here.

    I'm working on that, too.

  12. The death and resurrection of Jesus was planned before the foundation of the world and yet in the garden, Jesus had second thoughts. Finally he understood that the plan of Salvation was up to Him and he fore-knew each and everyone of us and said, "Thy will be done." Your thoughts on Easter are amazing. Thank you for sharing with us here at "Tell Me a Story."

  13. Thank you for sharing this. It's a powerful post and spoke to me in many ways.
    One way I will share with you is it brought back memories of my own dad passing. This Oct he will have been gone 6 years. Some times it feel like just yesterday he was here. God keeps my dad alive in my heart and memory and I have the assurance I will see him again in heaven.
    God is the God of the living! Matt 22:32

    There are times I find I'm still learning from my dad even though he's gone. It's God reminding me that my dad's not really gone.

  14. Lovely as always Sharon! What great words to reflect on during this beautiful Holy Week. In walking through the "Journey Of The Cross" this week, I am amazed (as always!) by the day to day changes from "hero to zero". But what a blessed ending to a long journey as we are blessed by His unconditional love and grace! ♥

    Blessings and love to you and your family as we reflect on the beauty and love of this Easter week celebration! ♥

  15. Always beautiful, though-provoking and just so very good. I truly love how you write and share your heart with us. So much to really meditate on here. Thank you so much. Wishing you a wonderful Easter. Much love.

  16. " Jesus acted like Jesus, instead of conforming to the expectations of the crowd."
    This was the sentence that spoke to me as I read. How often we conform to others and not Him who alone has the power to transform us into His image. Good thoughts.

  17. What a beautiful reflection on what the death and resurrection means to all of us as a believer! I think you nailed this one because you really reflected on so many things we often gloss over in thinking about what this days means to us as believers in Jesus Christ. It is the very foundation of our beliefs. If this one event never took place, we would simply be just like all the rest, but we are not. Jesus came and did what He promised to do. He is the only one who died unconditionally for us, to save us, from all our sins, past, present and future once and for all, but more than that, He rose from the dead and defeated death. So that we can also live again with Him that believe He is the ONLY WAY!

    Wishing you a beautiful and truly blessed Resurrection Sonday!

    He is Risen INDEED!

    Love and Hugs ~ Kat

  18. Hi Sharon! I know I commented already but just wanted to come here and thank you for your sweet comment on my post about messing up MY comments! You just bless my heart so much with your kind words and whether or not you ever saw them or not, I always responded back. Have a most blessed Easter weekend, sweet friend!

  19. I'm sorry that you have experienced the death of your Father. Yet was blessed in considering your thoughts about resurrection. How much sweeter will heaven be when we see our loved ones again. I bet they anticipate our arrival and the magnificent look of our faces bathed in the glory of our Savior as we finally see Him face to face. Stopped in from the Faith Jam. Happy Easter.

  20. What a glorious blessing that Jesus didn't stay dead! And because He lives, your dad and someday we may live with Him forever. Precious thought. Have a beautiful Easter celebrating a Risen Savior, Sharon!

  21. I've been here once already, lol, but I found another thought from you! A comfortable God...yikes!! So many thoughts going through my could write another post on that alone Sharon! Blessed Easter to you and your family friend. ♥

  22. "Why are you looking among the dead for someone who is alive?
    He isn’t here! He is risen from the dead!" Hallelujah!

  23. What an amazing story...He is risen indeed!

  24. Hi Sharon...we're on the road but I wanted to pop in and wish you and your family a very happy Easter.

  25. Oh what amazing details we rediscover when come looking with fresh eyes. Wishing you a blessed Easter Sharon.

  26. Hi Sharon. That is a powerful statement, "Jesus did not have to die, He choose to." I will have to ponder that for awhile. I pray that you and yours have a blessed Easter Sunday. Ken

  27. Lots of things to ponder about here, but my takeway is this: "Because of a love that we can barely conceive of – a love that wants relationship. A love that cost Jesus His very life." Yes God wants a relationship, and our sins and imperfections doesn't stop Him from choosing us! Have a great Resurrection Sunday! Patsy from

  28. Well, Sharon, I'm at the end of Easter week, and after reading your thoughts, I'm struck by the fact that Jesus started the week out a hero and ended it by being hated. I'm somewhat stuck in that same place. The week started out with a glorious Palm Sunday only to end in one of the worst emotionally tumultuously upsetting Easter I've had in a long time. The loss, the rejection, the disappointment. But when you meditate on the fact that Jesus did not need to die for us and yet He chose to, it makes me wonder if I am ready to die to all I want so that life can be produced. Emotionally, I'm not ready to do that and my head and heart are revolting against it.
    I like your lesson on Jesus never leaving us. He is with us all through life here and when this body evaporates, He is still with the real us. Although, I can say I'm not so sure I like that real me I see, and maybe I'm shrinking back from His gentle hand in my life. That would take away the comfort of Him being with me. But to know we are just gone and He is with us the whole time is a great comfort.
    I'm writing from a hard place right now and I'm not sure I have any encouragement other than the truth that Jesus died for my sins and truly rose from the day. The Hope of Easter.

  29. So thankful you linked up! Praying you had a blessed Easter!


"So [I] have been greatly encouraged in the midst of [my] troubles and suffering, dear brothers and sisters, because you have remained strong in your faith. It gives [me] new life to know that you are standing firm in the Lord. How [I] thank God for you!" (1 Thessalonians 3:7-9)

Thanks for your comments - it is such a joy to be sharing my journey with friends like YOU!

(NOTE: Anonymous comments will be removed. Thank you for understanding.)