Contemporary English Version (CEV)
Did you ever expect that your life would begin on a hill known as the Skull? Is that the place from which your life springs? When we kneel at the foot of the cross, do you recognize that life springs bursts forth, watered by the blood of the lamb and pouring forth, overflowing from one thirsty soul to the next, each one coming as broken and poor, miraculously rejuvenated and poured into by the Holy Spirit. On the hill known as the Skull, where death seemed to have the upper hand, Jesus ascends a cross and demonstrates that death's conquest is but a momentary triumph, soon to be smashed by the hand of life, disassembled and defeated, vanquish by the One who comes to snatch life from the jaws of death. You need not fear the place of the Skull, because Life Wins! You need not cower before the icy embrace of death, because our God Wins! You need not tremble at the uncertainty of the grave, because where execution was scheduled, a resurrection was beginning.
Think of yourself, standing before a cavern, about to enter a place of utter darkness, and walking in boldly, head held high, because you have complete confidence that deep within the grave is a place of life and light and new beginnings. The world may think we are foolish, and the Romans may have laughed at the sight of a King on a cross, but life courses through Him, and no spear can drain it from his veins, just as no tomb can hold his body, and no cross can take his life.
Whatever charges were filed to place him on the cross, they were powerless to convict an innocent man, just as the accusations Satan makes against you will ultimately falter when they are dashed against the awesome power of Christ. You are washed in the blood of the Lamb and you emerge white as snow, pure as the Christ who saves you from sin. It isn't fair, and it's wondrous. You are clean, saved from sin, destined for life, and no lie of the devil will snatch you from your loving Father's victorious right hand. You have been given life, and that life is eternal life, abundant life, wondrous life that flows from the throne of grace and into the hearts and souls of every one who accepts Christ as Lord, Savior and King.
We have been saved, friends, and so let us walk in the light of love, selflessly pouring ourselves out for the sake of the cross, unafraid of whatever uncertainty may lurk in the world, be it violence or political intrigue or interpersonal conflict. May we stand in the face of the maelstroms of the world and declare that we believe in the power of God's selfless love to transform the world and the people in it, and may we strive to use our lives to declare the abundant power and grace of Christ, who laid his life down so that others may live. May the same Spirit that led him selflessly to the cross lead us selflessly out into the world, declaring that our true life is not defined by dollars or status, but rather by the way that we give ourselves and let the love that saves us flow through us and tell a story of grace to all we meet.