Right now, the world is a pretty dark place. Thus, it’s more important than ever to lean on the cross. But, even as Christians, this has become increasingly difficult. Divisions are everywhere—even in the church (there was divisions before, but now, my goodness). But, it’s God that signifies unity. He is the one who can unite us—despite our division.
At Christmas time, we celebrate the birth of king—our one and only Jesus Christ. The world celebrates Christmas (unfortunately, many leave the birthday boy out of the celebration). But, it’s Easter that has a greater impact. It’s Easter where Jesus died for our sins, so that we could live free lives.
To many, Easter is nothing more than a holiday filled with furry bunnies and delicious chocolate Easter eggs (hey, I’m not hating on chocolate). But, Easter is the celebration of Jesus’ death and, more importantly, His resurrection.
Easter celebrates the very backbone of the Christian movement, as outlined in John 3:16: “For God so loved the world that he gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life.”
Thanks to many of NRT’s elite, I’ve compiled a list of songs that celebrate Jesus’ sacrifice for us. ‘Tis the season to meditate and pray with gratitude on the free gift He’s given us—salvation. And, yes, celebrate with Easter eggs—chocolate only.
Kari Jobe “Amen (Simple Gospel)”
Kari Jobe’s and Elevation Worship’s “The Blessing” has been, without a doubt, a success. However, that’s not the only impactful song from Kari’s 2020 album, The Blessing (Live). “Amen (Simple Gospel)” lists the benefits of Jesus’ death on the cross. Sounds like another hit to me.
“The lost will come home/The bound will go free/The weak will be strong/The broken redeemed/The sick will be well/The hungry will feast/The mourning will dance/The blinded will see/The church will arise/With power and love/Our cities will know/The glory of God/Revival is now”
Elevation Worship “Rattle”
Elevation Worship musician Chris Brown says “Rattle!” was written while in quarantine. Chris says, “It felt like we had all been in quarantine and we're pent-up, on a roller coaster of emotions. It's like, the news is on and we're up and down with good news, bad news, fear, and anxiety. So, yes, this song just came out as a release of emotion and a call to arms.”
Chris mentions the news. How addictive has the news become since the pandemic began. The news is fuel to increase worry, fear, and anxiety. Plus, it distracts us from focusing on God. Confession, I obsess over the news. How many new cases? How many people have died? How many people have been vaccinated? I think I’ll try to avoid Apple News this Easter, and celebrate my freedom in Christ.
“Saturday was silent/Surely it was through/But since when has impossible/Ever stopped You/Friday’s disappointment/Is Sunday’s empty tomb/Since when has impossible/Ever stopped You”
Travis Greene (feat. Todd Dulaney) “Easter”
Gospel music hit maker Travis Greene recently released a new single, “Easter” featuring artist Todd Dulaney. A press release describes this song as, “the perfect illustration of God’s love through Jesus’ death, burial, and resurrection.” Travis starting penning the tune on Good Friday in 2020. Travis and Tod combined their efforts to create the new single. The press release says the duo “deliver an uplifting powerful performance with a mix of globally-inspired melodies and fresh vocals on their new collaboration.”
“What I could not pay/He handled for me/He took the bill and the receipt/It's signed in blood”
Hillsong Worship “Man Of Sorrows (Passion)”
Anyone who’s participated in worship at church will know Hillsong Worship’s popular singalong, “Man of Sorrows.” The very popular worship band recently released their At Easter EP, a five-song project of revamped Hillsong classics (“Man of Sorrows” is among these songs). About the EP, worship leader Brooke Ligertwood says, “At Easter is a collection of Calvary-centered songs, refreshed and reinvigorated for believers everywhere to use in worship this Easter as we give thanks for the death, resurrection, and extraordinary love of our Savior.”
“Silent as He stood accused/Beaten, mocked, and scorned/Bowing to the Father's will/He took a crown of thorns/Oh, that rugged cross, my salvation/Where Your love poured out over me/Now my soul cries out, ‘Hallelujah’/‘Praise and honour unto Thee’”
Circuit Rider Music “Oh The Cross”
The words sung in “Oh The Cross,” from Circuit Rider Music‘s latest album, Jesus People (Live), makes its message clear and concise: Jesus’ sacrifice changed the trajectory of humankind’s fate. I think it’s so easy to undermine His sacrifice, because, quite frankly, we weren’t there to see it happen. But, it did happen—and it’s impact is very great.
Jesus’ death moved us into an age of grace—meaning we get many second chances with God. Without Jesus, our hope would have been lost in the fire. With Jesus, we have a chance to move into a different direction—toward Him and toward salvation.
“A sacrifice that changed history/The nails in Your hands, the hands that saved me/The grave was sealed, but death lost its sting/When the Lion roared in victory/A sacrifice that changed history”
Demon Hunter “I Will Fail You (Resurrected)”
I’m a sucker for Demon Hunter’s haunting ballads, which is why I’m excited about their new album, Songs of Death and Resurrection, which features reimagined versions of their classic well-known ballads, like my album favorite, “I Will Fail You.”
This song reminds me of Romans 3:22-24: “This righteousness is given through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference between Jew and Gentile, for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and all are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus.”
To me, this song says that there’s nothing we can do to make right by God. Let me explain. Have you ever tried to be perfect? You know, not offend anyone? Not offend God? It doesn’t work, does it? In fact, it’s exhausting.
If we could all achieve perfection without hurting God, then Jesus wouldn’t have had to die for us? But, as the scripture says: all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. Jesus gave you a blank check to enter God’s kingdom. Just cash the check, believe in Him, repent, and enjoy the relationship.
Carrie Underwood “The Old Rugged Cross”
Reverend George Bennard penned this powerful hymn in the early 1900s. Since then, it’s been covered by multiple artists through the decades, including Brad Paisley, Kevin Max, Ella Fitzgerald, Vince Gill, Alan Jackson, Willie Nelson, and most recently, country hit maker Carrie Underwood. She included her rendition on her first gospel album, My Savior.
“So I'll cherish the old rugged cross/Til my trophies at last I lay down/I will cling to the old rugged cross/And exchange it some day for a crown”
Harry Connick, Jr. “Alone With My Faith”
Carrie Underwood is not the only mainstream artist to release a gospel album. Jazz legend Harry Connick, Jr. also released a gospel album with covers and original music. “Alone With My Faith,” also the name of the album, is a message of relying on God in an uncertain world. The song—and the album itself—is birthed out of the difficult circumstances stemming from the COVID-19 pandemic. Harry wanted to give people music that brings comfort. “Alone With My Faith” exemplifies a message of people running to God with faith—and not away from Him.
“Alone with my faith/What I know is true/What gives me assurance/When I don’t know what to do/I don’t have all the answers/But I have always known/I’m eternally faithful/So I am never alone.”
Inspired Easter Scriptures
Luke 24:2-3: They found the stone rolled away from the tomb, but when they entered, they did not find the body of the Lord Jesus
John 11:25-26: Jesus said to her, "I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die; and whoever lives by believing in me will never die. Do you believe this?"
Acts 4:33: With great power the apostles continued to testify to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus. And God's grace was so powerfully at work in them all.
1 Peter 1:3: Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.
Mark 15:46-47: So Joseph bought some linen cloth, took down the body, wrapped it in the linen, and placed it in a tomb cut out of rock. Then he rolled a stone against the entrance of the tomb. Mary Magdalene and Mary the mother of Joseph saw where he was laid.
Luke 24:6-7: He is not here; he has risen! Remember how he told you, while he was still with you in Galilee: ‘The Son of Man must be delivered over to the hands of sinners, be crucified and on the third day be raised again.
1 Corinthians 15:3-8: For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance. Or you at the first: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, and that he appeared to Cephas. That is, Peter and then to the Twelve. After that, he appeared to more than five hundred of the brothers and sisters at the same time, most of whom are still living, though some have fallen asleep. Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles, and last of all he appeared to me also, as to one abnormally born.
Mark 16:5-7: As they entered the tomb, they saw a young man dressed in a white robe sitting on the right side, and they were alarmed."Don't be alarmed," he said. "You are looking for Jesus the Nazarene, who was crucified. He has risen! He is not here. See the place where they laid him. But go, tell his disciples and Peter, ‘He is going ahead of you into Galilee. There you will see him, just as he told you.'
Luke 23:46-47: Jesus called out with a loud voice, "Father, into your hands I commit my spirit." When he had said this, he breathed his last. The centurion, seeing what had happened, praised God and said, "Surely this was a righteous man."
2 Corinthians 5:17: “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!”
Colossians 1:13-14: For he has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.
Paul Phillips is a Canadian journalist with over 10 years of experience writing and editing digital and print content. He specializes in health, fitness, nutrition, and travel. He loves music, movies, and, of course, living for Jesus.
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