But then came Sunday...

Just a few weeks ago, I walked in those places where Jesus walked in the Holy Land. It dawned on me yet again that Jesus did almost everything differently than conventional wisdom would have dictated. I visited Capernaum and Galilee, where most of His three-year ministry took place -- a "hick town" ten days' journey from Jerusalem. Not the best location to start a movement that would change the world.

I also walked in the Garden of Gethsemane, where He prayed in agony that night -- and then on to Jerusalem, where He appeared before Caiaphas and Pilate, and where He was beaten and spit upon. Jesus was no conquering hero in the manner of Caesar or Alexander the Great. And then I followed His footsteps along the Via De la Rosa to Calvary, where He was brutally crucified. Not the best strategy to overthrow Rome and declare your new kingdom.

As a marketer, Jesus didn't seem to understand "ratings" and size of audience. As a political figure, Jesus had a penchant for telling people what they didn't want to hear -- take up your cross, lay down your life, the first will be last. And as a leader of the Jewish people itching to be freed from Rome's occupation and oppression, He commanded no army, brandished no weapons, and wielded no force.

Everything He stood for seemed to be lost that Good Friday afternoon as His disciples watched Him suffer and die. Peter denied Him, and the rest scattered. The lofty ideals had been crushed. The movement had failed. End of story.

But then came Easter Sunday...He is risen!

I sometimes feel the work World Vision does around the world is met by human suffering that never ends. Twenty-two thousand kids still die every day, 1 billion go to bed hungry, and more than a third of the planet lives on less than $2 a day.

So we work harder, raise more money, speak up to our government, stand up for justice, sharpen our programs, tell Americans that they can make a difference. What difference can our small actions possibly make? The poor are always with us. End of story.

But then came Easter Sunday...He is risen!

"Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me."

Easter reminds us that victory can be disguised as defeat. Easter reminds us that every act of kindness done in the name of the Risen One is significant. Easter reminds us Christ is the hope of the world and He will be with us even unto the end of the age.

As you celebrate Easter this week, whatever is going on in your work or in your personal life, do it with the confidence that you serve the One who has overcome the world. He is risen! He is risen indeed! And that makes all the difference.

Read more posts from Rich Stearns.

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    Comments

    Praise God for the work World Vision does for so many people. Thank you for this reminder of Jesus' example and how sometimes victory can be disquised as defeat. It's important to keep our focus and trust in the Lord. Regardless of our circumstances, we need to continue to serve God by loving and helping others around us. Your words above in the blog are such an encouragement to me..."As you celebrate Easter this week, whatever is going on in your work or personal life, do it with the confidence that you serve the One who has overcome the world.He is risen! He is risen indeed!" I have struggles going on my personal life that I need to surrender to the Father each morning and He is faithful to take it and help me each day...Praise God! Thank you for your words of encouragement today:)

    "In as much", World Vision.

    I have NEVER regretted my decision to sponsor a child or donate money to your cause.

    God bless. <3

    God bless you for this insight- it is timely. Just held a sponsorship campaign in our church that seemed less than successful. Good to have that notion reframed as a hopeful beginning rather than a defeat. Thanks for the reminder that it all matters when it's done in the name of Jesus.

    BEAUTIFULLY said, my dear friend in Christ.

    Helping the poor and unfortunate is never ending fight. Christians themselves actually have problems. I read Richard's book Hole in Gospel. It is so true that Christians don't do their job.

    We need Christ in our life to remind us that whatever we did to the poor, we did to Christ.

    Thanks so much for this. We have done the famine for 9 years now and the kids just keeping coming back for more. Our Kids have been on TV and Radio in the SF bay area and we make a video each year to show our congregation. There is a girl from our youth group that goes to George Fox in Oregon and she is really a step up type and is great on camera. Here name is Lauren Pena.
    Thanks again Mr. Stearns.
    John Casciani from Faith Lutheran Church Sonoma Valley.

    If we didn't believe that victory is hidden in failure, I can't imagine how we as Christians could keep going in a world ruled by the prince of darkness! But all of God's Word tells us that His thoughts and ways are not ours. Every day I thank Him for that! It is wonderful to know, too, that when Christ trod the Via Dolorosa with His cross, he knew what the outcome would be through His obedience. Every time I read Psalm 22 and Isaiah 53, it is wonderful to think that Christ knew that in spite of everything,He would win our freedom!

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