We shall be celebrating Easter next week. Christmas is cosy, nostalgic, very family. But Good Friday is blood and guts, and Easter Sunday is victory against the greatest odds. Two of mankind’s greatest enemies were conquered at Easter: on Good Friday God conquered sin, and on Easter Sunday God conquered death! How did this happen?
When Jesus Christ died on the Cross, he wasn’t a criminal getting what He deserved. He was the Son of God getting what WE deserved, because He died on the Cross in our place as our substitute. We should have been cursed and condemned by God for all the wrong things we have done and thought, but instead Jesus died in our place, taking our wrongs upon Himself so that we might be forgiven and delivered from bondage to sin.
The Bible says that if we believe that God carried out this marvellous exchange for us, we are forgiven and adopted into His spiritual family forever. “The wages of sin is death, but the free gift of eternal life is in Jesus Christ our Lord.” Rom 6.23. We deserve death, but God offers us eternal life! However we need to personally believe that God did this for us in order for it to be effective. For example, just knowing in your head that a COVID vaccination is effective does you no good until you receive the actual jab, so knowing that Jesus died for us isn’t effective until we personally receive this offer from God. It is not about head knowledge, but sincerely receiving this gift from our hearts. “To all who received him, who believed in his [Jesus’] Name, God gave the right to become children of God” (John 1.12). We are adopted into God’s Kingdom family forever.
But there’s more! Three days later, God did something totally unexpected: He raised His Son from the dead and by that miracle, proved that Jesus could not be held by death. On Easter Sunday, death was conquered for all to see! Jesus was not only seen after His death, He was also touched and spoken to therefore he was not a ghost. He even ate with his disciples after He cooked for them on the beach (John 21). One of his disciples named Thomas said “unless I see the nail marks in his hands and put my finger where the nails were, and put my hand into his side (where a spear punctured his abdomen), I will not believe it. Knowing Thomas’ doubt, Jesus graciously appeared to Thomas and said “Put your finger here; see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it into my side. Stop doubting and believe.” Thomas said, “My Lord and my God!” Jesus said, “I am the Resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies; and whoever lives and believes in me will never die. Do you believe this?” It was a question for His disciples and as well as for us.
This is the message of Easter: God has done something absolutely amazing for all people, of all cultures and all ages - everywhere. Do you believe this? Say “Yes God, I believe you did this for me!” When you do, you share in that marvellous victory over sin and death. Please say “Yes!”