Christ is risen! These are
three of the most significant words in the Christian faith.
How can one really describe a day like today? After all,
Easter is an extraordinary victory of God, experienced in the
midst of the ordinariness of life. Words don't seem to do
justice to the importance and impact of Jesus' resurrection
from the dead, and what his resurrection now means to each of
us, and to all humanity. There is no doubt that the most
important thing to happen to this world since its creation by
God almighty is the resurrection of Jesus Christ.
Through Jesus, God was on a
mission. That mission was to save humanity by restoring all of
us to a right relationship with God. God's mission wasn't
about domination or condemnation. God's mission was about
redemption and liberation. And God's mission was ultimately
accomplished by grace through, the resurrection of Jesus.
Because Jesus is alive, there is now hope for this broken
world, a hope that is infinite for all who believe.
But the resurrection event
itself doesn't tell the whole story. "The wage of sin is
death." Such death not only means the end of physical life,
but separation from God for all eternity.
How was God to deal with this
The answer was that God came
among us as Jesus to show us a better way, to take upon
himself the sin of humanity, and then to die for those sins.
His death was in no way the result of any sin of his own,
because Jesus had no sin. But in a humble and mysterious way,
Jesus suffered for you and me.
This man, the Son of God, who
had no sin, was made to be sin for us. God laid on him the sin
of us all, what a burden that must have been. He was our
substitute, so that God's law might be fulfilled, which is
"the soul that sins shall die."
This man whom his disciples
hoped to be the Messiah was brutally seized, tried, tortured,
and left to die on a cross. And after the horrible
crucifixion, for three days the lifeless body of Jesus lay
bound in the grave. And with him lay the aspirations of all
who had followed him.
All who left what they were
doing to follow him, were now uncertain of what to do next. It
seemed that when Jesus died there hope had died as well.
Envision this image for a
just a moment. God on his throne. You and I on this earth. And
between God and us, poised between heaven and humanity, is
Jesus on the cross. Now God, who punishes sin, releases his
rightful wrath on our mistakes. Jesus receives the blow. Since
Christ is between God and us we don't receive God's wrath. The
sin is punished, but we are safe, safe in the shadow of the
Why would God do this? Was it
out of moral duty or responsibility; was it some heavenly
obligation, or paternal requirement? No, God isn't required to
do anything for us.
But look at what God did.
Just for you and me, God sacrificed his only son. Amazing
isn't it. Would you do that? Would you offer the life of your
child for someone else?
I can honestly stand here and
say I wouldn't. There are those for whom I would gladly give
my life. But ask me to give you a list of people for whom I
would give my sons life. The sheet of paper would be blank.
God's list, however, contains
the name of every person who ever lived. Your name and my name
are on his list, and he freely sacrificed his son that we
might say yes to Jesus and receive eternal life.
This is the far-reaching
range of God's love. As it is written, "For God so loved the
world that he gave his only son."
And this is the reason for
the cross. God took a tool of cruel torture and death, and
transformed it into a tool of love. God loves the world and
God wants to restore all of human life to a right relationship
And as boldly as the center
beam on the cross proclaims God's holiness, the crossbeam
declares his far-reaching love. This is why the cross is so
important. It's not just a piece of jewelry or some ancient
symbol that's outlived its time. The cross is about the
ultimate sacrifice, it's about love, God's unconditional love.
How wide is God's love? Wide enough for the whole world. Wide
enough for you and me.
And then on the third day, as
He had prophesied, Jesus arose to live, talk, and show himself
again. His resurrection was the final proof of who he is and
what he promised. "Because I live," he told his disciples,
"you also will live." (John 14:19)
The resurrection of Christ
not only brings personal salvation to all who believe, but it
ushers in a kingdom of justice, compassion, freedom, and peace
that is for all people everywhere.
By grace God has liberated us
from the shackles of sin and death, and the door of heaven has
swung wide open to great us. And when we put our faith in the
risen Christ, God will raise us from death as well to
experience his heavenly kingdom.
Through the incarnation, the
final Word, God speaks to us. In the life and ministry of
Jesus, God confronts us. And now by the suffering and scars of
the passion of Jesus Christ, God redeems us. Jesus is the
truth and the way to salvation, and apart from him nothing is
Jesus is the life because
without him there is only death. He is the light and all else
is darkness. As the creative force of God, all the beauty that
we see this Easter Day in creation, in this building, and in
each other is from Jesus' hand.
On this Easter Day we can
witness to the fact that, "grace was given to us in Christ
Jesus…who abolished death and brought life and immortality to
light through the gospel." (1 Tim 1:9)
And as Easter people we are
commissioned by Jesus to create beauty out of ugliness, to
bring order out of chaos, to bring hope out of despair, to
bring peace out of violence, and to bring love where there is
Now in conclusion I leave you
with this personal reflection. God of light and God of glory,
from chains of sin you've set me free. I praise your name and
give you thanks, O God you are my destiny. You removed all
worry and doubt, and changed my heart with your love. Now I
know the transforming God, whose spirit descends like a dove.
It's by love and through
grace, that I am made holy, bold, and convicted. May I never
turn back to sin, and a life without commitment. Your name I
now claim as my own, eternity is my reward. Thank you Lord
that despite my sin, you receive me by your own accord.
My life now has meaning
because Jesus set me free, and I praise the one who died and
gave this gift to me. I place my trust in Christ and serve my
Lord today, there is no doubt he saved my life, thank God for
Let us Pray.
Lord Jesus Christ, on this
day you were raised from the dead, death was defeated, and we
saw the full triumph of God. Help us to live in the light of
that triumph, in expectant hope of the resurrection, in
confidence that death and sin shall be defeated and God's way
will be the world's way, now and forever.
Read other messages by Pastor Wade