Today’s Bible passages are: Leviticus 2-3, John 21, Proverbs 18, and Colossians 1

Colossians 1By Hannah Anderson

“His becoming what we are enables us to become what He is.” — Irenaeus

I didn’t grow up in a church tradition that placed much emphasis on the Easter season. While Jesus’ birth merited a full six weeks of anticipation and busyness (and an additional week to come down from our sugar-cookie induced highs), the time surrounding His death and resurrection were strangely quiet. Perhaps it was due to the fluctuation of the calendar and never being quite sure when Easter would fall (was it early or late this year?); or perhaps it was because Jesus’ atonement for our sins was already an ever-present theme in our worship. But for whatever reason, Easter never seemed to require much more than a new dress and a basket of candy.

So I’ve been encouraged lately to see many of us embracing a more robust celebration of Easter as adults. Many of us are choosing to participate in Lent, dedicating that forty day period to prayer, repentance, and self-denial. Then during Holy Week, we celebrate Maundy Thursday and Good Friday with special services and the Stations of the Cross. And while I love the fuller emphasis on the Easter season (I myself have been known to print off Holy Week coloring sheets for my children and make hot cross buns), I think it’s vital that we don’t miss the big picture. While Lent and Holy Week teach us the miserable state of life apart from Christ, Easter morning teaches us the power of new life in Christ.

This theme of new life in Christ is central to the book of Colossians. In chapter 1, Paul introduces Jesus as the Creator of all things:

“He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created through him and for him. And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together.” (vs. 15-17)

That phrase—“the image of the invisible God”—reminds us of another phrase. In Genesis 1, the Scripture teaches us that when God first made man and woman, He made them in the “image of God.” He made them to reflect His nature, to live as He lives. This means that our core identity as human beings is not one of sinful brokenness but of glory and majesty. But you know the story. Those first image bearers turned traitor and in that moment, the entire creation fell under a curse. A curse that we groan under today. A curse that we often embrace for ourselves. A curse that can only be broken by the One who first made us in His image.

But Colossians continues:

“For in [Jesus] all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell, and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, making peace by the blood of his cross.” (verses 18-19)

This is what we celebrate on Good Friday. When we commemorate Jesus’ death, we commemorate the truth that the perfect Image Bearer died in our place in order to reconcile us to God. But it didn’t end there. Jesus is also “the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in everything He might be preeminent. (v.18)”

To co-opt C. S. Lewis, the “deeper magic” of Easter is not simply that Christ suffered under the curse but that He overcame the curse entirely! When He emerged from the tomb, He proved that His creation was not subject to death because her Creator was not subject to death. When He emerged from the tomb, He proved that there was nothing stronger, nothing more powerful, nothing greater than the One who is Life Himself.

The One in whose image we are made.

And suddenly the words of Charles Wesley’s famous Easter anthem make sense: “Made like Him, like Him we rise. Alleluia!” The beauty of the Easter is that the God, who at that first dawn cried out “Let there be light!” once again shines light into our darkness in the face of His Son. The beauty of Easter is that the God, who stooped down into the dust to form us in His image at creation, again stoops down into the mire of our lives to transform us into His image through Jesus Christ.

The beauty of Easter is that once more we can be made like Him.

image credit: Damian Gadal cc


Made for MoreEditor’s note: GIVEAWAY!

Today’s post happens to coincide perfectly with some fabulous news from its author. We’re happy to help spread the word that Hannah Anderson’s first book, Made for More: An Invitation to Live in God’s Image releases tomorrow! To celebrate, Hannah’s publisher is giving away a new copy of Made for More to two of our PYP readers. Enter the drawing in two ways: 1) by “liking” our Facebook page and sharing today’s Made for More giveaway post, 2) by commenting at the end of this blog post. If you like/share AND comment, you get two entries. Winners will be determined in a random drawing on Wednesday, April 2. Deadline for entry is the end of the day (PST) on April 1. Have fun!

Today’s Questions: Do you see yourself as someone whose core identity “is not one of sinful brokenness but of glory and majesty”? If not, how should Christ’s death make that possible?

Hannah AndersonHannah Anderson lives with her husband, Nathan, and their three young children in the haunting Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia. As a pastor’s wife in a rural setting, no two days are ever the same which suits her short-attention span perfectly. Hannah is passionate about helping women discover their God-given identity as His image bearers and is the author of Made for More: An Invitation to Live in God’s Image (Moody, 2014). She also contributes to a variety of Christian publications, and you can find her on her blog, SometimesALight.com, and on Twitter @sometimesalight.

Related posts:

Sorrowful, Yet Always Rejoicing - 2 Corinthians 6
What Lies in Darkness - Daniel 2
How is This Fair? - Matthew 20
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8 Comments

  1. I’m no longer positive the place you’re getting your information, however good
    topic. I needs to spend a while finding out much more or working out more.

    Thanks for fantastic information I used to be looking for this information for my mission.

  2. Pingback: Made Like Him... Like Him We Rise - Sometimes a Light

  3. This is why it is said that God does not look at earthly “death” as many people do. It does not have to be death at all, but LIFE continued in Heaven. Alleluia!

  4. I would really love to win this book. I’ve already heard great things about it.

    • Angela, congrats, you’re a winner! Go ahead and email your address to me at lisavelthouse (at) gmail (dot) com, and I’ll pass it on to the publisher who’ll send you your free copy. Enjoy! It’s a fabulous book.

  5. Annie Balzer · March 31, 2014 at 1:20 pm · Reply

    I already pre-ordered this book, but would love to have another copy to give away to a friend! I work in collegiate ministry discipling young women, and this could be an incredibly valuable resource for them, myself, and others on staff with me. Thank you for all of your courage and hard work to write this book!

  6. I love the wording of these two portions of Colossians 1 from the Message: “So spacious is he, so roomy, that everything of God finds its proper place in him without crowding. Not only that, but all the broken and dislocated pieces of the universe––people and things, animals and atoms––get properly fixed and fit together in vibrant harmonies, all because of his death, his blood that poured down from the Cross.”
    And
    “Christ is in you, therefore you can look forward to sharing in God’s glory. It’s that simple. That is the substance of our Message. We preach Christ, warning people not to add to the Message. We teach in a spirit of profound common sense so that we can bring each person to maturity. To be mature is to be basic.”

    Through Jesus’ death and resurrecting everything is made whole. The greater our understanding of this basic truth, the more mature we truly are. Profound. And simple.

    • Erin, thanks for your comment—you’re a winner too! Please email your address to me at lisavelthouse (at) gmail (dot) com, and I’ll pass it on to the publisher so you can receive your copy. Hope you enjoy it thoroughly! (I expect you will.)

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