As we have just completed the celebration of Easter weekend, I am reflecting on why this is one of the most important events in history. For me, this one event – Jesus dying on a cross, and being raised to life 3 days later forms the core of my faith and hope in the future. Yes, for me it’s a faith issue, regardless of the deny-ers and sceptics – their opinions don’t matter to me because this is a personal thing. While the world has secularised this weekend with bunny rabbits and chickens and chocolate eggs, it is so much more than that!
If Jesus Christ did not offer himself as the perfect atoning sacrifice, then I would have no faith, no hope, no reason for existence. Scripture tells us that the SIN of the world was laid on Him – here described in Isaiah 53.6 (Amplified version)
All of us like sheep have gone astray,
We have turned, each one, to his own way;
But the Lord has caused the wickedness of us all [our sin, our injustice, our wrongdoing]
To fall on Him [instead of us].
As a Christian, this is central to my faith – I believe that Jesus paid the price for my sin, for your sin, for the sin of the world – and offers us/me the most amazing gift of grace! There is nothing I can do to earn it, it’s a gift… I just need to accept it. It makes no difference what I have done, how I have sinned – the perceived really bad ones (like murder, hate, jealousy) or the perceived minor ones (like pride, selfishness) – forgiven is forgiven, price is paid, reconciliation is complete. And that applies to everyone… from the worst offender or mass murderer to the most lovely person I know – they are all offered this same gift and if they accept it, then God accepts them into His family. Of course, in accepting His gift, we commit to trying to live in a way that reflects Him and His kingdom. But our success or failure in this does not affect the gift – it is given with no strings other than we accept it – that we acknowledge that, in our unworthiness, Jesus paid the price for us, that He is raised with God, the Father, in Heaven and has given us His Holy Spirit to help us live out our lives. Because of this, I believe that life will go on beyond the grave – He has promised a most wonderful reunion with all the saints who have gone before (and by saints I mean all those who have accepted this wonderful gift). I have a hope and a future, I can look forward to a new world without sickness, pain, suffering and war. I can look forward to one day being in the presence of this most amazing God who loves me enough that he gave His Son to take my punishment.
I know that many have different faiths and beliefs or non-faiths – I am not trying to argue those things. I am just expressing my own views here and how this flavours how I live my life. I want to be “Christ-like” as much as I can – to be loving and forgiving; to offer compassion and hope; to be generous with my time and with my possessions; to reflect on a wonderful loving God; to offer hope to others; to look beyond the situation and see the need. I know that one day I will see God’s kingdom come “on earth as it is in heaven” and in the meantime I will continue to have faith and do what I can to be a part of His kingdom outworking here and now.