“Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved” Acts 16:31 .
If you are becoming a regular reader here at Walk Worthy, then I think it’s probably pretty safe to say that you are familiar with Christianity and the Bible. You may not know (or feel like you don’t know) a ton about the doctrines and the nitty gritty of God’s Word, but you aren’t a stranger to the Christian faith.
However, I also know that God will bring seeking people across these digital pages and it has been deeply on my heart to share the gospel of Jesus Christ with whomever you may be and wherever you may be coming from.
What is Easter?
You may know Easter as that springtime holiday that gets you a day off of work and a reason to get together with people you care about. There are adorable kids’ outfits for us parents to splurge on and a million opportunities for the sweetest moments to capture on camera. Some of us love the Easter egg hunts and the anticipation of that dinner at Grandma’s or wherever you gather. And then others just want the long weekend for peace and quiet or a fun adventure.
That’s not what Easter really means, though. Easter is so much more than a date on the calendar and an excuse to gorge ourselves on chocolate and candy, or buy cute outfits to take posed photos of our kids, or get together with family.
Easter is Jesus, and Jesus is Easter.
Around the year 700 BC, there was a prophet called Isaiah, and God gave him a message – judgment was coming. God chose the Hebrew people to carry His name and to be a light to the world so that all people could know the true God, Jehovah. However, as so often is the case, God’s people failed in their calling. They started worshipping idols, statues and figurines that they had made themselves from wood and stone and precious metals. Their hearts didn’t really love God anymore. So, God had to chasten them, to discipline them so they would come back to Him.
But even in the midst of this declaration of coming judgment, God gave them hope.
There would be a Redeemer, a Messiah Who would come one day to make all things right and to change their hearts to love God once again. He would be God incarnate, fully man and fully God, sinlessly perfect. We know from the New Testament that the Redeemer’s name was going to be Jesus.
One of the things that Isaiah said about Jesus was that He would have all the sins of all humanity laid on His shoulders and that He would be put to death. Isaiah talks about the pain and suffering that Jesus would endure – He would be oppressed and afflicted, taken to be slaughtered like a lamb to be sacrificed.
His torture would be so severe that He would be unrecognizable as a man, crucified between two criminals despite His innocence. His life would be traded for that of an insurrectionist murderer.
God Himself would turn His back on Jesus for a time, unable to look at the sinlessly perfect One being broken by the sins of everyone else (Isaiah 53).
“He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not. Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted. But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed” (Isaiah 53:3-5).
The Jews had no interest in this broken, sacrificial Lamb. They were only waiting to see the Messiah Who would free them from the oppression of their enemies.
Jesus wanted to free them from the heavy weight of sin, not the oppression of Rome.
Jesus wanted to bring the Kingdom to their hearts, but they just wanted Him to restore the Jewish kingdom of old. They wanted earthly glory, not spiritual redemption.
So, they crucified Him. They mocked, beat, scourged, and murdered Him. They publicly humiliated and debased Him.
“Likewise also the chief priests mocking him, with the scribes and elders, said, He saved others; himself he cannot save. If he be the King of Israel, let him now come down from the cross, and we will believe him. He trusted in God; let him deliver him now, if he will have him…” (Matthew 27:41-43).
They had become so accustomed to gods they could make with their own hands that the idea that the true God would not do as they demanded was unthinkable. They didn’t want Him to heal their soul deep sin-wounds. They just wanted Him to make their lives easier right then.
It was not enough for Jesus just to come to us. He had to die for us, taking our place. This is what we commemorate on Good Friday every year.
He died the death that we should have died so we could be free to live forever with Him in heaven, never separated from the One Who loved us more than His own life. He died our death so we would never have to face the prospect of eternity apart from Him.
You see, when God made you, He made you with a God-sized hole in the very core of your being.
Do you find that nothing quite fills your cup? Do you feel that even with all you do from day to day, when you lay your head down at night there’s no real peace? When you consider what comes after this life, do you find yourself hoping that you’ve been “good enough” to earn the favour or at least the tolerance of God?
If you do, you’re not alone. Those questions and anxieties are in all of us. They are what spur us on to find answers and to seek God for ourselves.
Jesus loves you, this I know.
Friend, Jesus died for you before you were ever even a thought in anyone else’s mind. He loved you when you hated Him, and He will meet you wherever you are right now. You’ve never done anything He can’t forgive, and you are not beyond the reach of those nail-scarred hands.
God doesn’t love you because of anything you are or are not, or anything you do or don’t do. He doesn’t love you because you’re worthy – you are worthy because He loves you.
Easter tells us that even in the darkest moments in the history of human kind, the day that God Himself laid down His life to save ours, it was such an outpouring of incomprehensible love that not even death or hell or Satan could stand up against it.
“But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” – Romans 5:8
Easter tells us that Jesus does not turn anyone away.
“And him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out.” – John 6:37
Easter tells us that Jesus is for everyone and anyone who wants Him.
“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” – John 3:16
Easter tells us that Jesus came to make us free.
“And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” – John 8:32
And Easter tells us that there is hope and forgiveness for us, because we were forgiven first.
“Then said Jesus, Father, forgive them; for they know what they do.” – Luke 23:34
Because of Easter, we must only acknowledge our sinfulness and helplessness to meet God’s requirement for holiness, confess our sins to God and ask for His forgiveness. If we will accept the sacrifice Jesus made for us, we will be saved from being separated from God for eternity. He’ll make us new and we can have a relationship with Him, forever.
We may not know one another in real life, but I do care deeply about you and I pray that the words here will point you to Jesus. He is the only One Who can meet whatever the spiritual need is in your life right now, intimately and fully.