It’s Easter Sunday, 2014. And I did something this evening I rarely do – I changed the title of my post. Because a younger man I mentor just sent me an email referring to Easter as the best day of the year – and he is right. So I changed the title – not the story, mind you – as you can’t improve on the perfection of God. Today was a day of quiet; with family and some inner reflection on my part.
I thought about the Good Friday sermon I preached several years ago for the combined Hamilton County effort in Noblesville. It was not too long after Janet and I were fearful that our son, Andrew, had cancer and we had been awaiting the results – not knowing if he would have a real struggle ahead of him. Of course, I thought about Andrew’s possible death – and it was probably the first time that I came close to even beginning to fathom the depth of the feelings that God the Father had when He sent His Son, Jesus, on a mission to earth – to die on the cross for the sins of all of us. I thought about the willingness of both Father and Son to make the sacrifice – because here we were, unable to bear the burden for Andrew and there was nothing we could do about it.
Good Friday took on a whole new dimension that year – one that I had never really thought of prior to Andrew’s health scare. Fortunately, all the lab results from the biopsy were negative, thank God, but for two weeks we lived on the edge of our seats – knowing that there was nothing that we could do except pray that he would be alright.
And then I thought about all the books that have been written and the movies that have been made about the journey to the cross and the crucifixion of Jesus. The only sinless man who ever lived, fully God and yet fully human, who took on the ultimate humiliation, death on a Roman cross, so that we, and I mean all of us, could be reunited with God through the blood atonement of Jesus – once and for all. In virtually every one of these depictions, we see that Jesus paid the ultimate price – it athletic terms, we would say that “He left it all on the field…” Nothing was held back. Jesus gave everything He had for us – so that he could carry the sins of the world on His shoulders – defeating death in the process.
But the death of Jesus isn’t the real story here. Because if Jesus had stayed dead, Christianity would be just another footnote in the annals of the religions of the world. The key to the whole story is that He rose from the dead – and that made all the difference in the world. Because what separates Christianity from other religions is the fact that Jesus lives – the living God, who walked among people on earth some 2000 years ago. Let’s also not forget that the resurrection of Jesus also opened the minds of the people to the possibility of eternal life – of defeat over death and being with Jesus forever.
We all know the Easter story – so I won’t repeat it here, but it all comes down to John 3:16, our verse for the evening. We are told, by the apostle John, “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son; that whosoever believeth in Him shall never die, but have eternal life.” My encouragement this evening is that Jesus died for all of us, that we may have a chance to be united eternally with God. My prayer is that you will contemplate the magnitude of the sacrifice for us – because that just begins to illustrate the love that Jesus and God the Father demonstrate to us each and every day. Have a great day in the Lord, grace and peace this Easter day…