Easter Eggstra Special

This past, Thursday, when our 3 year old beloved son, Ittai, came home from school, he had with him a beautifully painted egg and I asked him what it was. He said it was an Easter egg. So I asked him, do you know the meaning of Easter? His response was “Eggs and Baskets.” Well, I tried explaining to Ittai, what Easter truly meant – that it was a celebration of Jesus’ victory over sin and death and how he rose from the grave – but I felt extremely inadequate in explaining resurrection to a three year old. I was also a little disappointed and mad at the world system that tries to take out the true meaning of a celebration, replacing it with something that is politically correct (case in point, Happy holidays for Merry Christmas, XMas for Christmas and Easter eggs/bunnies for the Resurrection).

Then on Easter morning after the service at the Austin Christian Fellowship of India, in which Pastor Samuel Madhavaraj preached about how the tomb of Christ was not only open but empty as well, one of the church members pointed Ittai to an Easter egg that was under his chair. Excitedly Ittai ran and picked up the egg, but when he opened it, it was empty. It was probably the remnant of an Easter egg hunt that may have taken place earlier that weekend. I saw the look of disappointment on Ittai’s face and as a father, I melted. Then it struck me. I took the empty egg, picked Ittai up, sat him on my lap and explained – “Ittai, you know how I asked you what Easter is all about?”. He nodded. “See, Easter is like this empty egg. The candy that was within is not there anymore. It has probably been taken out and eaten by someone who must have tasted and experienced how good it was. They must have enjoyed it. As long as the candy was in the egg, nobody could enjoy it. Now that the egg shell is empty and the candy is out, it can be enjoyed.” I continued, “in the same manner, Easter is like an empty egg. The tomb when Jesus was buried is empty. If he remained in the tomb, no one could have enjoyed his sweetness. The Bible says, O taste and see that the Lord is good. We must take Jesus (like candy) and accept him and take him into our lives so that he comes into us and becomes one with us. We can then truly enjoy his presence as a child would enjoy candy. Infact, Easter eggs that are empty is a poignant picture of the empty tomb. This is what Easter is.” I couldn’t tell if he fully understood what I was trying to say, but atleast, I hope that he recognizes, Easter is not about eggs and basket … but about an empty tomb, because Jesus, who was placed in the tomb, is risen – He is risen indeed. Death could not hold him; the grave could not keep him – He is alive.

Points to ponder:
Have you tasted the sweetness of the grace of God? In other words, have you received and believed in Christ Jesus, taking him into your lives so that you can truly relish and enjoy his presence, or, are you leaving Christ in the tomb as a child would leave candy within and Easter egg.

1 Corinthians 15:12-14 (KJV)
12 Now if Christ be preached that he rose from the dead, how say some among you that there is no resurrection of the dead?
13 But if there be no resurrection of the dead, then is Christ not risen:
14 And if Christ be not risen, then is our preaching vain, and your faith is also vain.

Crave and Cry and Burp

As Reuben, our six year old son and I tended to the needs of my beloved wife, Sangeetha, and our two day old son, Ittai Aidan Paul, in the hospital, post delivery, I was observing how Ittai would cry without ceasing with a craving for milk whenever he was hungry and once he was fed, he would be uncomfortable until he was burped. Pondering deeper into such a simple yet natural phenomenon, revealed some deep spiritual insights that we can apply to our Christian walk as well.

Like a baby, we must crave with an unceasing desire for the word of God and not be satisfied till we have had our full until we need to feed on God’s word again (1 Peter 2:2). Jesus himself said, man does not live by bread alone but by every word (not just some words) that proceeds from the mouth of God (Matthew 4:4). We must be hungry for the word of God always.  Secondly, when the word of God has been taken into our lives, the unclean things of the world that are trapped in our hearts need to be burped out (James 4:8), for out of the heart comes the wellspring/issues of life (Proverbs 4:23) and Jesus told us that the greatest commandment is for us to love the Lord our God with all of our heart, soul, strength and mind (Luke 10:27).

Points to ponder:
We must not be satisfied until filled with the word of God, craving and crying for it unceasingly.
We must burp out of th things of the world that conflict with God’s ordinances found in his word.

1 Peter 2:2 (KJV)
As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby:

James 4:8 (KJV)
Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you. Cleanse your hands, ye sinners; and purify your hearts, ye double minded. 

Proverbs 4:23 (KJV)
23 Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life.

Cut the umbilical cord

As I sat in the operating room awaiting the birth of our second son, Ittai Aidan Paul, the similarilities of physical and spiritual birth dawned on me.

When a child is born in the physical sense, the umbilical cord that was the means of sustenance for the baby while the baby is in the womb needs to be cut once the baby is born.

This is not any different than how it ought to be when it comes to our spiritual birth; when one is born again by believing in the Lord Jesus Christ as the Savior of their soul. When one is born again, in Christ, they are a new creation (2 Corinthians 5:17). The old means of sustenance that is provided by the world needs to be cut and severed completely. Jesus himself said, that in order to be his disciples, we must forsake (cut) all that we have, take up the cross and follow him (Luke 14:33; Matthew 16:24).

Points to ponder:
Imagine this that as an adult, you still had your umbilical cord attached to your mother. That would be awkward and weird, isn’t it. Why is it then not weird to be tied to the world when we are born again in Christ? Have you/I cut the umbilical cord with the world and all the things that conflict with God? (Titus 2:12)

Titus 2:11-15 (KJV)
11 For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men,
12 Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world;
13 Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ;
14 Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works.
15 These things speak, and exhort, and rebuke with all authority. Let no man despise thee.

Quo Vadis, Ittai?

2 Samuel 15:19-22 talks about a man named Ittai. Ittai was a gentile; in fact, a Philistine from Gath (a Gittite). David questions Ittai, Quo Vadis, Ittai a.k.a. Where are you going. Ittai? David was fleeing for his life from Jerusalem to hide from his rebellion and murderous son, Absalom who was under the vile counsel of one of David’s smartest counselors, Ahitophel. David knew that he and his people that followed him, including his family was at risk of being murdered by Absalom, and David chose to take flight rather than fight his son. At this juncture, he questions, Ittai, whom he regards as a stranger and one exiled (verse 19), Quo Vadis. David was concerned for the safety of Ittai, who served him, because he instructs Ittai to go back to his place and his king and not put himself at risk.

Ittai response to David’s question is one that ranks with the response of Ruth (another gentile, a Moabite woman) or the Roman Centurion (another gentile, whom Jesus commended as having greater faith than anyone in all of Israel). This is akin to Ruth saying, “I will go where you will go and will lodge where you will lodge, your people will be my people and your God will be my God” (Ruth 1:16) or the Roman Centurion who said, “Lord, just speak your word and it will be so” (Matt 8:10).

Ittai’s response was simple, yet profound.

He said
As long as the Lord lives (which is forever),
As long as the king lives (which was questionable),
In life or in death,
Whereever the king (as his lord/master) is, there Ittai (the servant) will be also.

Paul writes in Philippians 1:21, in living or in dying, it is all about Christ (his LORD and King) when he said, “For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain”.
Ittai demonstrated Faith and Faithfulness. For to Ittai to live was in service to the king (eartly king, David), and to die would have been gain, AS LONG AS THE LORD LIVES.

Point(s) to ponder:
We are gentiles and are adopted into God’s family when we believe in Jesus as the one and only Savior and allow Jesus to be our LORD and MASTER, our King.
If the King is to ask us today, Quo Vadis, (insert your name here)

  1. What will our response be?
  2. Where does our allegiance lie in regards to our life or our death?