Thursday, April 17, 2014
This Sunday the entire world will celebrate Easter. Easter, of course, commemorates the resurrection of Jesus from the dead. Even in the most anti-Christian nations in the world, the followers of Jesus will commemorate with great joy Jesus’ return from the dead after three days in the grave. Easter is not just another holiday, a time to celebrate spring, or to enjoy the new clothing fashions, it is a celebration of the most important event in the history of the world, Jesus’ triumph over death. And, it is celebrated with such universal and exuberant joy because His victory over the grave guarantees to those that trust in Him that they will leave this world to live forever with God in total joy and happiness forever.
As the Bible puts it in Colossians 1:18b, “He is the beginning, the first to come back to life so that he would have first place in everything.” In other words, Jesus’ triumphal return to life is our guarantee that we too shall live again in perfect bliss and harmony.
And, according to the Bible, what do we have to do to be saved? When the jailer realized that Paul and Silas were servants of God after an angel came and released them from prison, he asked, “What must I do to be saved?” Paul and Silas responded, "Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you and your family will be saved."
The truth is that we all know that we are imperfect. We are flawed. We do things we regret. We say things we should not say. And, we think things that are downright evil. Those things we do, say and think make us sinners.
So the conundrum is, how do imperfect, sinful men and women enter into a perfect heaven? If God just lets us into his heaven covered with sin, then heaven is no longer perfect. It is full of people who are still sinners.
That’s why God created a plan and then inspired men to write down this plan in His book, called the Bible. From the Book of Genesis, all the way through Revelation, the last book of the Bible, God reveals his plan of salvation. It’s right there in the Bible, almost on every page.It’s clear, it’s consistent, and it is miraculous.
Our Father in heaven sent His one and only son, Jesus, to take the sins of the entire world on Him so that those who trust in Him would not have to suffer the consequences of their sin. It was the greatest act of love in history. Jesus bore our sins so that we do not have to.
Now, when we believe, God sees our sins no more. He sees us as cleansed, washed clean by the blood of Jesus. What an irony, washed clean by blood.But, that is exactly what God did through the death and resurrection of Jesus.
Those in the Old Testament who lived before Jesus came looked forward anxiously to His coming. They were encouraged by the oral recitation of the promise that God gave Adam and Eve after their sin forced them to leave the Garden of Eden. And, then, throughout the entire Old Testament, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and the prophets described in minute detail the suffering and death of Jesus that was to come so that those who follow Him might be saved. Those who lived before Jesus and trusted in the Messiah to come were saved through faith.
Those who trusted in Jesus after he came are also saved by faith. As it says in Ephesians 2:8-9, “For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, so that no one may boast.”
Eternal salvation is a free gift.You don’t contribute a thing.
All God asks is that you recognize your sins and confess Jesus as your savior.
That, my friends is the true and full meaning of the celebration of Easter. It’s the reason that Christians around the globe are so joyful and excited on Easter. It’s the reason that Christians sing with such joy the hymn, I know that my Redeemer Lives!
Kathi and I and our entire family wish you a joyous Easter celebration.