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?
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.
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.
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.
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.