Chocolate eggs, Easter bunnies, a long weekend, decorating, gardening, time with family, a break between school terms and so on. These are some of the things which most people associate with Easter. For most the weekend passes with no thought to it’s significance and to what it truly represents; they are sadly unaware of the implications of not truly knowing it for themselves. The Easter story, despite the horror of the crucifixion, truly is good news to a broken world.
The Real Story:
“Behold, we are going up to Jerusalem; and the Son of Man will be delivered to the chief priests and scribes, and they will condemn Him to death, and will hand Him over to the Gentiles to mock and scourge and crucify Him, and on the third day He will be raised up.” (The words of Jesus, Matthew 20:18-20)
The death and resurrection of Jesus Christ is the centrepiece, not just for the Christian Faith and of the traditional Easter story, but also for making possible real hope.
“This hope we have as an anchor of the soul, a hope both sure and steadfast.” (Hebrews 6:19)
The Injustice of it…
A man who claimed to be God (and proved to be by His resurrection), innocent of all charges, was hung on a Cross at the behest of the Jewish religious leaders; a jealous and politically motivated move on their part.
What the Jews, along with the help of the Roman execution system achieved, was no less than God’s intended purpose: that through His death our reconciliation with God through the forgiveness of sins might be possible. These events were foretold many times over throughout the Bible over a period of several hundred years.
One such prophecy goes like this:
Isaiah 53:4-6 “Surely our griefs He Himself bore, And our sorrows He carried; Yet we ourselves esteemed Him stricken, Smitten of God, and afflicted. But He was pierced through for our transgressions, He was crushed for our iniquities; The chastening for our well-being fell upon Him, And by His scourging we are healed. All of us like sheep have gone astray, Each of us has turned to his own way; But the Lord has caused the iniquity of us all To fall on Him.”
Acquittal at the Cross!
Without the Cross, our sin would remain unpunished and we would still be responsible for it. The Son of God had to die; indeed Jesus, being God, was the only one able to bare it.
Jesus, being God, was also fully human. In His humanity Jesus could not have made Himself any more vulnerable and weak; and yet was still able to bare the sin of the world and endure separation from His Father in order to take our Sin upon Himself. Only God Himself could have done that.
Only God could be at His most powerful by being at His, seemingly, most vulnerable.
Isaiah 53:7 “He was oppressed and He was afflicted, Yet He did not open His mouth; Like a lamb that is led to slaughter, And like a sheep that is silent before its shearers, So He did not open His mouth.”
Now ‘by faith’ we can be reconciled to the Father, the Sin which separated us having been removed by the sacrificial death of Christ.
This really is good news isn’t it!
“He Himself bore our sins in His body on the cross, so that we might die to sin and live to righteousness; for by His wounds you were healed. For you were continually straying like sheep, but now you have returned to the Shepherd and Guardian of your souls.” (1 Peter 2:24-25)
Death Defeated by Life
But was His death baring our sins enough? Physical Death still separates us from God. We could live this life forgiven and free from the power of sin, but still die. That is possibly no better than any other religion that may serve to make you a better person until you die. Jesus is dead so how can He solve the problem of death now?
“He… was delivered over because of our transgressions (Sins), and was raised because of our justification.” (Romans 4:25)
But is He still dead? No, He is alive. He had the power within Himself to lay down His life and then to raise it again.
Jesus became the first human to rise from the dead* (having been actually dead). He was raised in a brand new incorruptible, resurrected body: His new body was now eternal, the first truly ‘born again’ human. Only God could have achieved this.
Now ‘by faith’ we too can look forward to the same kind of resurrection, receive the same kind of new body and look forward to eternity with God, after we have actually, physically died too. If Christ’s resurrection doesn’t bring us hope, I don’t know what will.
What is therefore the true meaning of Easter?
- A hope we can trust in to deal with our ‘Sin’.
- A hope we can trust in to carry us through to eternal life.
All of us are aware of what is right and wrong; God placed that awareness within us, it’s called our conscience. Many have successfully suppressed this awareness of the truth by creating their own reality of relative truth. They have been so successful at this that they no longer see things as they really are, but how they prefer. So now they can go on sinning, because, let’s face it; they quite like doing it. Admitting that these things are wrong means having to consider making changes. Because it means admitting that there is an objective, higher standard to live up to, one which must be above and outside of ourselves, therefore we have to admit that there must be a God. Uh oh!
“…it is appointed for men to die once and after this comes judgment” (Hebrews 9:27)
If there is a God, we must face Him someday to give an account for our lives. No matter how hard we try to improve ourselves, live up to God’s requirements or even live up to our own; we will always fall short. No matter what ideology we chose to live by, it will always be counterfeit as compared to a life in Jesus, which truly satisfies, makes sense of this world and carries us into the next. Only Jesus can clear our debt and put us on the right path. ‘By faith’, repent, believe and trust in His death on the cross for your sins, and ‘by faith’ trust for the hope of eternal life that only He can offer. Then experience the joy of a life in Christ and a hope that carries you through to eternity.
Some people say that Easter Eggs symbolise new life. I don’t buy it. I think it’s just an excuse to avoid the plain truth. Jesus Saves us from the consequences of sin by the ugliness of the Cross and the miracle of His resurrection.
Read here how and why I became a Christian…
*Lazarus who was raised from the dead (John 11:1-44), as it were ‘revived’ but not renewed as Jesus was, because Lazarus, would die again
Whether the death and resurrection took place is not really in question. The fact is there are more proofs using all the normal procedures and practices for determining historical corroboration than for any other historical event or manuscript of the period, by a very large margin.
Evidence for the Resurrection: