How Easter offers peace and help for anxiety

For some of us, anxiety is a stranger. 

Others know anxiety like the back of our hands, especially this last year. It's like a low-level uneasiness that never settles down.

Take a nap, take a walk, take a pill, it's still there. Sometimes we sense there's more to it than current events or relationships or family situations, but we can't quite figure out the cause. We just carry around a nagging sense that something "isn't right." 

Whether we realize it or not, the root cause of our unrest often is a matter of the soul.

Easter, when Jesus set things right between God and us 

Bog. Heart. Cross. 3.21Jesus, true God and true man, was born as a human infant. Remember the Christmas story and what the angels announced to the shepherds?

For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.   Luke 2:11

When Jesus was about thirty years old he began to teach and preach about God the Father and about the reason he was born.   

"For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life."   John 3:16

For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.   Romans 6:23

Jesus gave his life for you and me, to pay for all the ways we fail to live as God would have us live. He died so we could be free of God's penalty for sin. 

It cost Jesus everything, but all it costs us is to let go of our skepticism and investigate God's written word. It's easy to check the primary source material, the eyewitness accounts found in the Bible: Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. 

The record doesn't stop there

Several respected historians of the time also described the same events. One was Josephus, a Jewish historian, who lived from 37-100 AD., and wrote "Jewish Antiquities" in 93 AD. Here are some excerpts from that book. 

(Jesus) "a wise man ... who performed surprising deeds and was a teacher of such people as accept the truth gladly ... Pilate had condemned him to a cross ... He appeared to them spending a third day restored to life, for the prophets of God had foretold these things and a thousand other marvels about him ... And the tribe of the Christians, so called after him, has still to this day not disappeared."   --Book 18, Ch. 3, part 3.

Historians record facts, names and places. These historical accounts prove it's no myth that a man called Jesus lived and died on the cross, then three days later, he rose again to life.

After that the risen Jesus showed himself to believers (Acts 1:3). He wanted them to know for sure that he was not a spirit or a ghost, but truly a human being. They touched him and Jesus talked with them. He ate ordinary meals with them. Then after forty days he ascended to Heaven to sit at the Father's right hand.

The cross was God's way out for you and me

Our loving God knew human beings cannot live an absolutely holy life because we all fail, all the time, even with our best efforts. We can't even live up to our own good resolutions.

For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.  Romans 3:23

If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.  1 John 1:8-9

That's why Jesus, the Son of God, came to earth to willingly die in our place.

"God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.  2 Corinthians 5:21

Jesus died so we can live free from guilt and fear of punishment and hell.

He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. By his wounds you have been healed. 1 Peter 2:24

He did it all for us, so we could have life that never ends.

Jesus said to him, "I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me."   John 14:6 

What now?

Once again we find the answers in the Bible.

If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved.   Romans 6:23

When we confess our sin to God, we hand over all our failures and mistakes and uncertainties. All of it. And leave it there.

Because Jesus died in our place, our loving Father answers, "What sins? My only Son paid your debt in full. My dear child, I love you."

It's as if God looks at us through one of those lenses equipped with a filter and sees only his perfect Son.

We can swap anxiety for peace. For good

Jesus living within us means we are never left alone to fear what comes next. Not even death, because we know that's not the end of our story, either.

It's only the beginning of the good stuff.

So let go of the anxiety. Take a deep breath and relax. Let yourself believe in Jesus as your Savior, knowing he will not deny you. Feel the peace of being loved and accepted by God, without any ifs, ands or buts.  

And next time anxiety comes knocking, turn your mind to the chorus of the beautiful old hymn, "Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus."

Turn your eyes upon Jesus, Look full in His wonderful face,

And the things of earth will grow strangely dim, In the light of His glory and grace.

Happy Easter! May you know the lasting the deep-down peace and joy of knowing and trusting Jesus Christ as your forever friend and Savior.  

Lenore 


April 17, 2019

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