Today’s Reading: John 20:20 (NIV)
20 After He said this, [Jesus] showed them His hands and side. The disciples were overjoyed when they saw the Lord.
What is it like to be overjoyed? I’ve felt that way a few times in my life, and I think you probably have too. I remember the joy I felt when I completed my senior piano recital and prepared for high school graduation. That sense of accomplishment brought great joy to my life. I was definitely joyful the day I walked down the aisle with Jeff after we said “I do.” The delight we shared at the birth of our three children were milestone moments of great joy. I didn’t think having babies could possibly get any better until we experienced the births of our five grandchildren. Overjoyed and overwhelmed are very good words to describe God’s great gift of new life.
The disciples were overjoyed when they saw their Master and friend standing before them. He who had died was now alive and the proof was there, right in front of them! Their hopelessness became true hope. Fear and failure, the guilt of the “what ifs” were obsolete in the proof of Christ’s rising. Everything He had said was true! Sin and death had been conquered on the cross once and for all and the gates of hell would never be the same again.
Do you remember how you felt the first time you realized that Jesus had died just to save you? I have a distinct recollection of a prayer I prayed one day all by myself in the sanctuary of my church. I was thirteen years old; mother was at a meeting and I was spending time waiting for her to finish. As long as I can remember, I’ve always been drawn into the sanctuary; it is such a great place to spend quiet time, thinking and praying. Of course, the sanctuary had a piano and organ that I had permission to play, and sometimes, I would go there just to sing and play love songs for my Lord.
From the time I was a little girl, I knew that Jesus loved me. Yet, on that incredibly wonderful day, I realized that Jesus loved me enough to die for me, and if I had been the only person in the world needing salvation, He would have come back just to save me. It is hard to understand the depth of the Father’s love; how He would give His Only begotten Son to die on a cross of sin and shame to save us from ourselves. Overwhelmed might be a better word to describe what I felt in the sanctuary that day. I remember laughing and crying; grieving and rejoicing all at the same time. There were waves of sheer delight, followed with moments of deep sorrow. It was as if I reached out and touched the scars on Jesus’ hands. I could see the life giving blood of the Lamb pouring down from the cross, covering my sin and cleansing me from all unrighteousness. In that holy moment, I was overjoyed and overwhelmed with God’s gift of love.
I have discovered that the mercies of the Lord are new every day. I remember that first time; yet, I experience His resurrection over my life every morning. I still become overjoyed and overwhelmed with Christ’s love. I do not deserve His mercy and yet, I’m just so thankful for it! When I come into the Lord’s presence in prayer and praise, Jesus meets me there with open arms. Christ will meet you too, wherever you are. He knows you by name. Jesus carried every single sin you’ve ever committed to the cross so that you would not have to live today, tomorrow, or forever in total separation from Him. Jesus knows you and He loves you, and He waits for you to open your heart and experience the overwhelming joy that comes with an intimate relationship with your Savior.
Feeling a little overjoyed this morning? It is a great way to start the day. Come, and let us worship the Lord together.
Grace and peace,
Faith UMC - St. Charles, MO
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