“I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die; and whoever lives by believing in me will never die. Do you believe this?” Jesus Christ
Next week, all Australians will enjoy a few days off work. Many will not give a second thought to the event upon which this holiday is based. Good Friday and Easter Sunday are just names for days which help make up a four day long weekend.
But for many others, this holiday is the most holy of holidays, as we celebrate the most crucial event of the Christian faith, the apex of the Christian calendar – the annual remembrance of the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, the Son of God. The good news of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
Jesus Christ was not just a good man, great moral teacher or important historic figure
The truth is that Jesus Christ was not just a good man, great moral teacher or important historic figure. He was and is the Son of God incarnate – God become man to bear the ultimate debt of sin – death!
His birth was heralded as bringing peace to all people:
Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests. Luke 2:40
His eternal heritage was acknowledged and he was blessed by God himself at Jesus’ baptism:
… the Holy Spirit descended on him in bodily form like a dove. And a voice came from heaven: “You are my Son, whom I love; with you I am well pleased.” Luke 3:22
At his execution, even a Roman centurion charged with guarding him recognised him as the Son of God:
“Surely he was the Son of God!” Matthew 27:54
And just three days later, an angel declared he had risen:
“Do not be afraid, for I know that you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified. He is not here; he has risen, just as he said. Matthew 28:5-6
Jesus offers us forgiveness and mercy from the wrath of God.
By conquering death by his resurrection, Jesus offers us forgiveness and mercy from the wrath of God. This forgiveness and mercy results in us enjoying eternal peace and reconciliation with God and is freely offered to any and all those who choose to truly believe and trust in him.
All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting people’s sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation. We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God. God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God. 2 Corinthians 5:18-21
Jesus’ life, death and resurrection not only makes him the ultimate peacemaker giving us peace with God, it opens the way for us to be forgiven and forgive others here on earth, to make peace and be reconciled with other people – not just God!
The central question that really needs to be answered
Millions of people believe that Jesus Christ was and is who he said he was.
The central question that really needs to be answered by each one of us, not just this Easter but everyday is the question Jesus himself posed:
“I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die; and whoever lives by believing in me will never die. Do you believe this?” (John 11: 25-26)
If you do, then you are free to live life with the peace that comes from knowing Jesus and his promise that your eternal future is secure. And with this comes the call to share that peace with the people you know, to breathe grace and hope and love.
And at Easter, if you have the chance, to talk about what the holiday means for you and, perhaps, could mean for them too.