Why Easter?

Posted: 24/04/2011 in God
Tags: , , ,

I was watching the 7pm project on Friday night as they randomly interviewed everyday Aussies on their perception of Good Friday. It surprised me that many of those interviewed were not aware of why we, in Australia, actually celebrate Good Friday. How can it be that a society with so much accessible information through the internet and media not be aware of Jesus? It should concern the Church that her voice is not being heard, or more so that perhaps that she has become silent. It took only one generation of Israelites to forget God (Judges 2:10) . One generation! And this was after the astounding chain of events that led to their escape from slavery in Egypt, miraculous crossing of the red sea and entry into the promised land. This should do more than concern us and naturally it has caused me to reflect on why I believe what I believe. Why is Easter now so much more precious to me than it ever has been? Why did Jesus have to die, was there no other way?

1st Peter says to always be prepared to give an answer when people ask us about our faith (1 Peter 3:15) and I struggle in doing this, not because I feel unable to give a standard theological response to a question about my faith but because it is exactly that; faith. How do you explain that which requires certainty of the unseen. It comes back to what I wrote about recently; that we have an ache in our souls for the God who created us whether we are aware of it or not. God pursues us relentlessly and only He can satisfy our desire for purpose and meaning in this mad world. I just know in the depths of my being that God is who He says He is and if that is true then I have to take Him at His word. Faith, as described in the bible, is being “…sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see…” (Hebrews 11:1). Have  you ever played the trust game where someone stands behind you and you fall backwards trusting them to catch you? This is faith, it’s saying to Jesus  that even though you don’t understand much about who he is or what being a Christian is all about you’ll trust your life into his hands and follow him. It is from this point onwards that the mysteries of God are revealed over time (Ephesians 1:17-18, Colossians 2:2-3). It’s as if our faith is rewarded with a knowledge and assurance of who God is.

But why Easter, why did Jesus have to die? What kind of God punishes people for not believing in Him? Sin exists, not one of us can say that we’ve done nothing wrong and God who is so Holy and so perfect cannot tolerate sin. No amount of good works or morals can get us right with God. For generations people had to go through all kinds of rituals and sacrifices to be able to be right before God. Even then only certain religious leaders could go into the temple to perform these sacrifices and that was a ritual in itself entering through various courts and past the temple curtain. Jesus came to make us right with God once and for all – no more rituals, no more sacrifices; all we need to do is to believe in Jesus. God is not giving humanity a death sentence, we are already dead, but through Jesus, God offers us freedom from that death sentence. Jesus explains it so beautifully in John 3:16-18 MSG.  

This is how much God loved the world: He gave his Son, his one and only Son. And this is why: so that no one need be destroyed; by believing in him, anyone can have a whole and lasting life. God didn’t go to all the trouble of sending his Son merely to point an accusing finger, telling the world how bad it was. He came to help, to put the world right again. Anyone who trusts in him is acquitted; anyone who refuses to trust him has long since been under the death sentence without knowing it. And why? Because of that person’s failure to believe in the one-of-a-kind Son of God when introduced to him“.

If there was another way God would have found it. In fact Jesus, fully aware of what was coming, pleaded with God, acknowledging that nothing is impossible for Him; that if there was another way to do it, let it be done (Mark 14:36). Surely this means that if there was another way it would have been done! Of course that doesn’t mean I fully understand it but His ways and thoughts are not mine (Isaiah 55:8) so there are some things I just wont completely comprehend. Jesus did die and in that moment he became sin to God; your sin, my sin, the sin of everyone who had ever or will ever exist. Jesus who had from the beginning of time known relationship with Father God was suddenly separated from him as God could not look or have relationship with one who was sin. And when Jesus died that curtain, the one that separated God from people (except for the few religious leaders) was torn. This is so amazing! suddenly we have complete and unhindered access to God. No rituals, no religious practices just relationship (Hebrews 4:16). But it’s all meaningless without the resurrection. If Jesus remained dead then there would be no eternity with God, death would be permanent for us. But because Jesus rose again, those of us who believe in him will also rise again after death, never to die again. We will know an eternity in the presence of the God who has relentlessly pursued us.  

Jesus did not die so that God could love us, God loved (and does) us so much that Jesus had to die so that we could be with Him forever! It’s all about love,  when will we get that?

The birdcage – skit guys

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