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Friday, April 22, 2011

Happy Easter

Happy Easter
On Sunday, April 24th, Christians throughout the world will celebrate the most important day in history—the resurrection of Jesus, the long awaited Messiah, from death into life.  Just what was the essence of Jesus’ message to you and me, and why is Easter so important?

Forgiveness is the reason that Jesus came down from Heaven and was born as a baby in the manger in Bethlehem.  Forgiveness is the one thing that you and I and the whole world need.  It is Jesus’ forgiveness that is our ticket to Heaven when we leave this world and go to the next.

Forgiveness was needed by Adam and Eve after they disobeyed God in the Garden of Eden.  The devil deceived them into believing they could be like God if they only ate from the one single tree that God told them they could not eat from.  God drove Adam and Eve out of the Garden of Eden, but He sent them away with a promise that He would send His one and only Son to rescue them from their sins.  And then, for thousands of years, prophets described in minute detail the Messiah to come.  And finally, on God’s time schedule, Jesus came and He fulfilled every single prophesy made about Him over thousands of years.

His mission was simple and straightforward—an offer of complete and full forgiveness.  But what was the price for this forgiveness?  Jesus only asks one thing, to believe in Him as the long promised Savior of the world.  We call this forgiveness – grace.  Songs like Amazing Grace remind us of this incredible gift from a God who epitomizes love, the kind of love which you and I can strive after, but never fully achieve. 

Jesus forgives us for the many sins we commit each and every day.  What kind of sins?  Thinking mean thoughts about others, saying mean things, and doing mean things are just some of the sins we commit each day.  Our failures to be kind, generous, and loving to others are sins too.  Even our failure to forgive others when we are offended is a sin.  Our lack of being forgiving strains relationships, hurts friendships, and makes us miserable.  God forgives us, but we withhold forgiveness.  All we need to do is to ask for His forgiveness and put our trust in Him. 

Yes, forgiveness is the very essence of Christianity.  It is God’s forgiveness that allows us imperfect, sinful human beings to enter into a perfect place called Heaven.  And it’s free!  Free to us, that is, but it cost Jesus a terrible price.  He suffered and died in one of the cruelest and most painful ways ever devised so that you and I could leave this world and join Him in Heaven.  Just imagine the love of God the Father who was willing to sacrifice His own Son for you and me so that we could escape the punishment we deserve for our sins.  It’s impossible to comprehend.

And what we can’t do, live a perfect, sinless life, Jesus did.  And although He was perfect and sinless, He gave Himself up on the cross into death to wipe out our sins.  Finally, He rose triumphant from the grave to give us total and complete assurance that we, too, will not die, but simply move from this life into the next.
He invites us to love Him, trust in Him, and believe in Him.  As Paul the Apostle says in Romans 10:9, “If you declare that Jesus is Lord, and believe that God brought Him back to life, you will be saved.”  It’s as simple as that.

This coming Sunday, my wife, Kathi, and I and our family will be joyfully celebrating the most important event in the history of the world, the resurrection of Jesus, the Savior of the world.  That’s what we believe and put our hope in.  I hope you will share in that joy too.  We wish you a very happy and joyous Easter celebration.

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