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I've always thought that going through Holy Week is like being on an emotional roller coaster ride.  It begins with the joy of Palm Sunday's triumphal entry, is followed by the somber mood of Maundy Thursday's observance of the Last Supper, dips into the sorrow surrounding the Savior's suffering and crucifixion on Good Friday, and then ends on Easter Sunday morning with the exuberantly joyful celebration of the resurrection where millions gather around the globe to cheer: "He is Risen! He is risen indeed!  Hallelujah!"
      With that theme in mind I send you this "Thought for the Week" written by James Stewart (not the actor, but the former Professor of New Testament at the University of Edinburgh and once chaplain to the Queen of England).  His writings are some of my favorite. Enjoy.
     "To isolate the death of Christ from His resurrection, as some have done, is very unbiblical. Too often there has been a tendency to regard the cross in itself as the assurance of salvation, altogether apart from the earthly ministry that went before it and the resurrection that came after.  This is not the point of view of the New Testament.  Everything depends on a man's union with a living, present Saviour.  In the absence of that union, even the Gospel of the cross loses its saving efficacy.  'If Christ be not raised,' says Paul, 'your faith is vain and you are still in your sins.' (I Cor. 15:17).  Atonement remains impersonal and largely irrelevant until we make contact with the One who atones, and contact of a vital kind is possible only if Jesus is risen and living now. 
   This is why the New Testament writers refuse to treat either the death or the resurrection of Christ in isolation.  When they speak of the cross, they see it ever in the light of the Easter glory; and when they speak of the resurrection, they set it against the dark background of the cross.  Paul's words are typical: 'If, when we were God's enemies, we were reconciled to Him by the death of His Son, how much more, having been reconciled, shall we be saved through His life'  (Rom. 5:10).  'Who is He that condemns? It is Christ Jesus who died, more than that, who was raised to life and is also interceding for us' (Rom. 8:34)."
     Never look at the cross apart from the resurrection lest a dark cloud remain hovering over your perception of the life you have in Christ.  In His death He paid the full and complete  penalty for all our sins, only to rise three days later for our justification!  Have a blessed Easter celebration!  He is risen - He is risen indeed! Hallelujah!
Dr. Jeffrey F. Evans

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