Easter - The Greatest Gift

the empty tomb

Growing up, even though I went to church, I never understood what Easter was really all about. I knew it was a time to dress up and have egg hunts and get chocolate candy. Sadly, it wasn’t until my early 30s that I began to understand what Easter was all about. Sure, I had an intellectual knowledge that it was a time to celebrate Jesus’ resurrection from the dead. But, what did that really mean, and how did that relate to my life? I didn’t get it.

Thanks to a faithful and patient counselor who challenged me to read God’s word for myself, I’ve had an awakening to the reality and life transforming message of Easter!

The message of Easter is the gospel of Jesus Christ – The death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ.

People may ask, “What’s the big deal about the gospel?” It is the biggest deal ever! The gospel is God’s plan to redeem mankind to himself. What does it mean to be redeemed? It means to buy back, to exchange, or make acceptable.

One may ask, “Why do I need to be redeemed?” or “bought back from what?”

The answer is from being a slave to sin. God sent his son Jesus to earth to redeem us from sin and God’s wrath against sin. We are all sinners. Romans 3:23 says that we have all sinned and fall short of the glory of God. Falling short of God’s glory is falling short of perfection, because God is perfect. In the past I was guilty of thinking I was a good person and that I didn’t really commit a lot of sins. But, Romans 3:10 says there is no one who is righteous, not even one. Isaiah 64:6 says all our good works are like filthy rags in God’s eyes. In the Hebrew, filthy rags are women’s menstrual cloths. Many, many people believe they are accepted by God and will go to heaven based on their good deeds, from living a good life or even based on the fact that they go to church. They are deceived!

You see, if we are accepted by God based on what we do, then that gives all glory to ourselves. And how many good deeds are enough? Sin is anything that is out of character with God. It is not just lying, cheating, adultery, murder…all of the things that are obvious. Sin is also lust, wrong attitudes, wrong motives, gossip, etc. When we are born, we bear the image of Adam. After Adam sinned against God in the Garden of Eden in Genesis 3, the stain of sin was passed to all who came after him. Because sin is in our very DNA (who we are), we therefore commit sins. The bible says in Romans 6:23 that the wages of sin is death. A wage is something we earn. Our sin earns us death. That death is eternal separation from God. We are all in need of a savior, a redeemer.

God loves us so much! So, so much. He demonstrated His love for us in that while we were sinners, He sent his son Jesus to die in our place … Romans 5:8. JESUS is God’s plan of redemption. All of our sin was placed onto Jesus when He died, and God poured out His wrath on Jesus instead of us.

But the story doesn’t end there. The proof we have that Jesus overcame sin and death is that God raised him from the dead three days later. Jesus’ two friends, Mary and Martha, went to visit his tomb after he died. When they got there the tomb was empty. The angel said to the women, “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)

When we receive Jesus by faith we receive His very life. Jesus never intended us to try hard to live the Christian life. He intends for us to receive His life, so He can live His life through us. Jesus is the only person who can live the Christian life. He wants us to choose to daily depend on Him. He has already equipped us with everything we will ever need for the rest of our lives. His divine power has given us everything we need for a godly life through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness. (2 Peter 1:3) He has given us a new identity. In Christ we are loved, accepted, full of worth and completely secure. As we daily live out of our new identity, Christ’s life in us will become manifest through us.

This Easter, be reminded of the great gift we have in Jesus, our risen Savior. If you do not have a relationship with Jesus, I implore you to consider the wonderful gift He is offering to you. Will you accept Him by faith?

Do you have questions about who Jesus is or would you like to grow in deeper intimacy with Jesus? At Crossway we love helping people develop a greater intimacy with Jesus. Please give us a call!