Easter - A Time of Renewal
EASTER A TIME OF RENEWAL!
The usual Christian emphasis at Easter is the death, burial and resurrection of Christ. Christians celebrate Easter because it reveals the heart of Christianity—the story of a God determined to rescue a planet that is out of control.
We hardly need to be reminded that we live in a troubled world. You only have to watch the nightly television news to get a dose of the world’s woes. And so Easter speaks to us of rescue, of renewal and of the way to peace.
The Easter story tells of a God who made the world, saw it crumble and so proceeds to put it back in shape.
Christians believe that the ultimate result of sin is death and because we all have an inherent sinful nature, we have a pretty bleak ending. However, God is passionate about His creation and hatched a rescue plan to end sin and not destroy sinners—at an enormous cost to Himself. Someone with the highest position and greatest authority in the universe could pay the ransom for everyone else. So God sent a member of His own family—His Son, Jesus—to pay that price. We are reminded in the famous words of the gospel of John: “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” (3:16)
For the Christian world, Easter is a time to celebrate the love of God, as well as to acknowledge the debt that we owe to Jesus Christ. It calls us to revisit the scenes of Jesus’ crucifixion on that first “Good” Friday.
It calls us to recall the early morning stillness of the Sunday morning broken by the pounding of hobnail sandals on the cold, cobbled stones of the streets of Jerusalem, as the soldiers who guarded the dead body in the tomb rushed into the city with the unbelievable cry on their lips, “He’s alive! He’s alive!”
An angel of the Lord had come down in the darkness of that Sunday morning and tossed away the great stone in front of the tomb as if it were a pebble. Jesus walked out and nothing could stop Him.
So we have the vision of a risen Christ who is alive today, who is interested, who seeks His own and who wants to restore the broken relationship between God and humankind.
“But Christ has indeed been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep. For since death came through a man, the resurrection of the dead comes also through a man. For as in Adam all die, so in Christ all will be made alive,” (1 Corinthians 15:20-22).
God had accomplished His rescue mission, but it was through brokenness and suffering. And this is what Easter is all about—God has settled the score.
It was J Wilbur Chapman who penned the hymn:
One day they led Him up Calvary's mountain
One day they nailed Him to die on a tree
Suffering anguish, despised and rejected
Bearing our sins, my Redeemer is He
Hands that healed nations, stretched out on a tree
And took the nails for me
Oh glorious day, oh glorious day
One day the grave could conceal Him no longer
One day the stone rolled away from the door
Then He arose, over death He had conquered
Now is ascended, my Lord evermore
Death could not hold Him, the grave could not keep Him
From rising again
Living, He loved me
Dying, He saved me
Buried, He carried my sins far away
Rising, He justified freely forever
One day He's coming