An Easter message from Blake…
SOMETHING REALLY HAPPENED AT EASTER
I feel the need to make an Easter confession. I believe something actually happened at Easter. And I want to post something publicly like this because what I believe happened at Easter, if it did happen, changes everything for everyone. If it is true then it is the kind of thing you need to say publicly to all your connections: to your aunties, school friends, uni colleagues, siblings (and other random facebook friends who you can’t remember how or if they are actually your friends).
HOW COULD I BELIEVE IT
Before I get to what I think happened at Easter I want to tell you how I’ve come to think it at all. Because when people talk about God (yep surprise – it is to do with God) we often tune out because we think it is all just opinion. I mean there are so many different beliefs out there, how could you be sure anyway. How can one persons opinion, their personal beliefs, be right.
This is a great question. I hope it is a question you’ve asked seriously. How could someone say something that is more than their opinion, how could anyone say something sure and certain about God? I think the only good way you could be sure about God is if he himself made himself clear. If he showed himself.
And this is the claim of Jesus who before the first Easter weekend said: “Whoever has seen me has seen the Father.” Do you hear what he is claiming: because he is God with us, God on earth, then if you encounter him, you encounter God. What I am saying is this: you can be sure about God because God has made himself known in Jesus.
Now the next thing to ask me if you are a thinking person is, “yes but you and I haven’t seen Jesus Blake and so how can we know something about God?” Another brilliant question I would say. The Christian account is that we meet Jesus in the bible. That the eyewitnesses have written what they saw of Jesus so we can know him, so we can know God. Of course you need to work out whether you can trust the gospel accounts of Jesus and I think there is a great case to be made about their reliability. They are trust worthy. Google “John Dickson and the Christfiles” (if you want a compelling defense of them by a genuine historian who teaches at Sydney uni (Or talk to me and I’ll tell you about why you can trust what the gospels say about Jesus)).
What I am saying is that we can be sure about God because he has made himself known in Jesus.
HOW COULD EASTER CHANGE EVERYTHING
So what happened at Easter that changes everything? Well not only did Jesus come to show us God, he said he came to fix something.
He came to fix a problem and he spoke about the problem a number of ways. He said we’re “harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd”, that we’re sick and in need of a doctor, that we need ransoming, that we’re enslaved.
In each instance he was saying that you and I have issues with sin. Sin is a religious word but we’re all very familiar with it. We don’t love people like we are supposed to, we don’t hate the things we should hate, more than this we don’t love God. We have turned away from the God who made us by living lives that ignore him. I think we all know we as humanity are not perfect and that it is not just ‘out there’ but in us too. Jesus says we’re slaves of sin. Slaves who can’t help ourselves out of it and what’s more, that sin leads to death. Death now, in that life and relationships don’t work right, and death later, in that after we die, our sin will leave us separate from the life giver.
But Easter changes all that for anyone who will accept it. At the first Easter Jesus gave his life as the ransom for sin. He gave up his life so that we’d have life. The bible says that “he himself bore our sins, in his body, on the cross”. Jesus (God with us) chooses to let men crucify him in a way that takes away our sin. That is why Good Friday can be good at all. If it is just a death of an innocent man then it is a bad Friday. But if it was God in the flesh dieing to take away the sin of the world. Then it is a really, really good Friday that changes everything.
And there is more: the other part of the Easter message is that Jesus was resurrected on Sunday. That is, he came back to life. His appearance was not a hallucination, it wasn’t a ghost, it wasn’t resuscitation (people have asked whether it could be these things but the eyewitness accounts leave any doubt) it was resurrection from the dead. Death was not the end of Jesus. Rather Jesus is the end of death. He has beat it. Easter Sunday means that Jesus is more powerful than death, he is in charge of life.
Easter changes everything because although I don’t deserve anything from God because I ignore him and don’t love people right, he has nonetheless forgiven me and paid for my sins on Good Friday and then rose from the dead on Easter Sunday to prove he is in charge of life and can give it to me. This is why he is able to say, ” I have come that they may have life, life to the full”.
HOW IT CHANGES THINGS FOR ME
This changes everything for me. As I said in the section above, I think it is trustworthy information but it is not just information that is interesting. It does something, it changes things.
It means I have peace, purpose and hope.
I have peace with God: because of what happened at Easter I am not an enemy of God or even just neutral in his eyes, he has made me his. He is happy with me. It’s not because I am perfect but because he took my sin away at the first Good Friday and rose to prove it on the first Easter Sunday. It is so good knowing your “good with God”, it makes each day a real joy. And of course peace with God means that I can be sure about what happens after I die. The bible says “there is no condemnation now for those who are in Jesus”. This is great.
I have purpose in life: God doesn’t just save us from our sin but for his purpose. It is an amazing privilege that I can get up knowing that I have things to do that have deep significance because they are for God. I love having a God given purpose to my life.
Easter gives me powerful hope: Jesus has shown he is in charge of death and life and so although the world is so crap so often I don’t need to despair. Jesus is in charge and he has promised to fix it all in the end. I know the one who is aware of the suffering of this world (he knows it well), has begun a project to fix it and is powerful to complete that work. The bible says that there is a day coming when the “dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God. He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.”
It would be wishful thinking except that Jesus has shown in his death on the cross for us that he loves us and in his resurrection on Easter Sunday that he is able to conquer death.
HOW IT (MIGHT) CHANGE YOU
I said at the start that I believe something about Easter that, if true, changes everything for everyone. Jesus death and resurrection was for all people, the whole world. If it is true then it can not be just interesting. It is too important to be just interesting, we either need to accept God’s offer of new life in Jesus or knowingly say “no” to the God who made himself known at Easter.
The way you accept it is by putting faith in him. Faith gets a bad wrap these days, but it just means trust (there is another page on my blog about it). You become a Christian by trusting Jesus as your Saviour and the King of your life. I’d be more than happy to talk with you if you want to know more or how to start.
If you’re unconvinced I’d suggest checking it out for yourself by reading the bible, it is where God makes himself known. The government has given us two public holidays this Easter weekend. Why not use 2 hours of it to read the eyewitness accounts of Jesus in the Gospels. If you don’t have a bible google “John chapter 1 on biblegateway” and read John’s Gospel. Also, as I said above John Dickson on the reliability of the bible is helpful on the history stuff.
And of course, you’re my face book friend (and maybe more: a real friend) so talk to me about it!