DayBreaks for 3/28/16 – The Barrier
It is now the day after Easter and it can be a bit of a downer for us as Christians because we love Easter so much. We may need to be reminded that the good news didn’t stop at sundown on Easter Sunday, but it continues to roll onward like an immense, powerful, irresistible ocean. Consider this devotion from one of the staff at our church:
And they were saying to one another, ‘Who will roll away the stone for us from the entrance of the tomb?’ And looking up, they saw that the stone had been rolled back—it was very large. And entering the tomb, they saw a young man sitting on the right side, dressed in a white robe, and they were alarmed. And he said to them: Do not be alarmed. You seek Jesus of Nazareth, who was crucified. He has risen, he is not here.
RELIGIONS OF THE WORLD share one common characteristic, performance. “What must I do to gain access to my God?” This the fundamental question that every religion seeks to answer.
Notice the question that the women asked as they were drawing near to the tomb of Jesus to anoint his body with customary burial spices (you can read the entire passage contextually in Mark 16:1-8). They asked, “Who will roll away the stone for us from the entrance of the tomb?” It’s a logical question. There’s a large and heavy barrier between the women and where Jesus was assumed to be; it needed to be moved, but they did not possess the power to move it.
They rightly recognized that there was a problem—a barrier—between where they were and where they wanted to be. However, they assumed that the work that had to be done in order to remove the barrier would have to be done by human hands. This is the approach of religion…this is the default of the human heart…this is the way of performance…and this is terrible news!
Christianity is entirely different.
What the women never expected to happen, happened. God did what the women were powerless to do. And in so doing, He gave us a picture of what He does for all of us who trust in Christ. We have an immovable barrier between a holy God and us: sin. The default of our hearts is to assume that we can do enough acts of service, say enough prayers, attend enough church, care for enough orphans, share enough food, help enough people, give enough money…perform enough good to remove the barrier. Here’s the bad news: your performance will never be enough. Here’s the good news: Christ’s performance in your place will always be enough. He did what you cannot do. He rolled away the barrier of our sin by defeating the penalty of sin, death.
Our hope for access into the presence of God does not depend on our ability to move the stone of our sin. Our hope for access into the presence of God is to trust in the one who moved it for us. This is the approach of Christ…this is contrary to the human heart…this is the way of grace…and this is good news!
PRAYER: Lord give me strength to rest in your finished and resurrected work in my place. In Jesus’ name, Amen.