Ever notice how we build up to Christmas for months, but give maybe one week to thinking about Easter? But Easter is the most significant celebration of the entire year for Christ-followers. The whole point of Christmas is Easter.
The crux of the matter is the cross. The baby born in a manger came for one reason: to die for you and me. And then to shatter death and sin by rising from the empty tomb.
C.S. Lewis wrote: “In the Christian story God descends to re-ascend. . . One may think of a diver, first reducing himself to nakedness, then glancing in mid-air, then gone with a splash, vanished, rushing down through green and warm water into black and cold water, down through increasing pressure into the death-like region of ooze and slime and old decay; then up again, back to colour and light, his lungs almost bursting, till suddenly he breaks surface again, holding in his hand the dripping, precious thing that he went down to recover. He and it are both coloured now that they have come up into the light: down below, where it lay colourless in the dark, he lost his colour too.
“The Christian story is precisely the story of one grand miracle, the Christian assertion being that what is beyond all space and time, what is uncreated, eternal, came into nature, into human nature, descended into his own universe, and gave up his life and rose again, bringing nature up with Him. It is precisely one great miracle.”
Recently, I’ve posted a series on eternity. That subject matter has become more poignant the past few months as I’ve grieved with friends far away who’ve lost loved ones – to what the world considers untimely deaths. Just today I heard the tragic news of another friend’s death, and I’m still in shock. And full of questions.
But there’s one thing I do know. We were all created for eternity. Our souls are eternal beings which will never die, housed in temporary physical bodies which will give out one day. The question is whether our souls will spend eternity with God, in the relationship we were created to enjoy forever, or apart from him.
My friends chose Jesus. Today they are rejoicing in the presence of the Living Christ! And that makes all the difference.
The Apostle Paul gives us the crux of the gospel in I Cor. 15:3-6: “For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received, that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, and that He appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve. After that He appeared to more than five hundred brethren at one time.”
He willingly chose to lay down His life for us. It wasn’t a gigantic cosmic surprise. It was all part of the plan. The plan from eternity.
My friends are alive because He is alive! This is cause for rejoicing. We have hope. This short life is not all there is. There’s more. So much more that no imagination can even come close to conceiving of its absolute beauty and brilliance, peace and joy.
Oswald Chambers wrote: “Never tolerate the idea of martyrdom about the Cross of Jesus Christ. The Cross was a superb triumph in which the foundations of hell were shaken. There is nothing more certain in Time or Eternity than what Jesus Christ did on the Cross. . . The Cross did not happen to Jesus: He came on purpose for it. He is ‘the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world.’”
Jesus is alive today! Truly, He’s alive!