Easter. A most important Christian holiday–the most important along with Christmas. Creation, the history of Israel and God’s promise to send the Messiah, Christ’s birth/incarnation (Christmas), perfect life, teachings and miracles, death on the cross, resurrection from the dead (Easter), appearances to many, ascension to heaven, and promise of His second coming to judge the world in righteousness–these are all encompassed in the true story of Easter as is told in the Bible. Each year at the holidays, especially at Christmas, Thanksgiving and Easter, I try to focus on not just all the necessary details to help my family celebrate each holiday, but to personally focus in on the spiritual meaning of each holiday. Amidst the egg decorating, Easter bunny decor, and preparing a good meal for my family to gather around, it is good to pause to remember again what Christ did for me. Do we ever grasp enough how great it is that God was willing to become human forever — the mysterious incarnation? Jesus was fully God and fully man — the only human qualified to perfectly and completely atone for human sin. Can we ever fully comprehend what happened on that cross when Jesus died and how agonizing and significant and fully sufficient this was? Reader, have you ever really considered this? If you know it well, are you remembering to share the good news with others?
The story of Jesus is told all through the Bible, and the life of Christ was told and recorded by four witnesses of the very early Christian church in the gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. They are easy to read and are easily accessible online.
There are also many good sermon messages readily available online on the Easter story. Unfortunately, there are also some very bad messages out there too, so be discerning in what you choose. Here is a link to my pastor’s teaching on The Death of Christ from Matthew 27:45-56 which is excellent and I highly recommend.
“Because of what Christ accomplished, because of the abandonment that He endured, we can know the nearness of the Father. When you’re tempted to feel abandoned, look to the abandonment of Christ. When you feel you are under the judgment of God, repent and look to Christ judged on your behalf so that you will never be abandoned, so that you will never be under God’s righteous judgment.” Pastor Jeff Lacine of Sellwood Church
Oh friend, reader, this is real. This is truth. Why should we ever doubt God’s love and care for us? Do we realize how heinous is the sin and evil we all have?
Sometimes I get discouraged–too often, too easily. My life example is far from perfect. But I have believed in Jesus, I do believe, and pray God will help me in my unbelief. Every day. The first time I heard the gospel/good news about Jesus dying on the cross for my sin I was as an eight year old in a Sunday School class. I have never forgotten how intensely the Holy Spirit called to my heart and showed me it was my sin that Jesus paid for on that cross. He took the judgment and wrath of God that I deserve. Oh how I wish I could sense and feel the sorrow and intense call on my heart that I felt as a small child again. But now I have a more mature, growing faith. Intellectually and in my heart I have a deeper adult understanding of Christ’s paying the price for my sin, but sometimes I feel numb to it or at least I am not as sensitive as I should be. But no matter how I “feel”, Christ’s perfect sacrifice is real and sufficient! Oh how I pray for God the Holy Spirit to soften hearts of unbelievers to understand and embrace the need for God and salvation from sin through Jesus Christ alone. And for those of us who have believed to have renewed commitment and faithfulness to Christ by grace–to realize how great is our salvation and how privileged and blessed we are!
For my friends who don’t believe the Bible or that God is real — oh how my heart breaks for you. The world’s lies are so deceptive! Presenting evidence for the validity and reliability of the Bible is another topic to discuss, but the information is also out there (for example Josh McDowell’s books). Then there is the witness of creation/nature itself. The incredible designs of nature show us we have a Creator! Once the deadline of death or Christ’s return are past, there will be no chance to believe in Christ after the fact. This present life is our testing ground to determine our eternal destiny. Today. Consider it today. At Easter, at Christmas, and every day. I’m praying.