The Hope of Easter - In John 15:13, Jesus told his followers “There is no greater love than to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.” During Easter, we have the opportunity to explore the most significant event of human history: the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. As we do so, we come face-to-face with the greatest story of love ever recorded. Easter is the time we celebrate that love has come!
The Power of Easter - Resurrection - There is a force which all of us are powerless against; sin. No matter what we do or how hard we try, sin always leads to death. Sin is the great catastrophe of human history. It is an unstoppable cancer spreading from one generation to the next. Until Jesus. At the cross, for the first time in all of history, death was reversed, and a resurrection power was put on display for all the world to see! And God has made this very power available to us all. Paul described this in Philippians 3:10-11 “I want to know Christ and experience the mighty power that raised him from the dead. I want to suffer with him, sharing in his death, so that one way or another I will experience the resurrection from the dead!” God’s love is a eucatastrophe. It stops the unstoppable, breaks the unbreakable and saves the unsavable! Praise God that his love has come!
The Victory of Easter - The death of death. Death has killed 100% of everyone who has ever been born...except for one. The Easter story recounts the death and resurrection of Jesus for us. It presents the end of his life in painful detail from his suffering at the hands of Pilate, to the brutality of the cross. It concludes with the sun going dark and then our Saviour's body laid to rest in a tomb. “‘O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting?’ For sin is the sting that results in death, and the law gives sin its power. But thank God! He gives us victory over sin and death through our Lord Jesus Christ.” 1 Corinthians 15:55-57 triumphantly declares the victory of Easter! And causes us to reflect on a love that astounds us. A love so great that it put death to death. Oh, that we could grasp the overwhelming victory that is ours in Christ. He has triumphed over death, drawing its poison out upon the cross!
The Good News of Easter - It Is finished! On the cross, Jesus uttered 3 words which struck terror into the hearts of Satan and his minions. Three words that define the Good News of Easter! Jesus knew that his mission was now finished and to fulfill Scripture, he said, “I am thirsty.” A jar of sour wine was sitting there, so they soaked a sponge in it, put it on a hyssop branch, and held it up to his lips. When Jesus had tasted it, he said, “It is finished!” Then he bowed his head and gave up his spirit. – John 19:28-30 1 Corinthians 13:7 “Love never gives up.” Let that sink in. With the full weight of our sin crashing down upon Him, Jesus held fast until the work of our redemption was accomplished. Love won! This is the Good News of Easter.
The Opportunity of Easter - Surrender - Love is a choice. It is a choice to give our lives away for the benefit of another. Upon the cross, Jesus willingly surrendered his life for us. He lived the sinless life we could never live and then he died a sacrificial death in our place. Just because of his great love for us. It is not easy to surrender. It runs counter to our culture’s ideals of pride and self-sufficiency. God has laid an eternal opportunity before us all. He has laid down his life for us. Jesus said to his disciples, “If any of you wants to be my follower, you must give up your own way, take up your cross, and follow me. If you try to hang on to your life, you will lose it. But if you give up your life for my sake, you will save it. And what do you benefit if you gain the whole world, but lose your own soul? Is anything worth more than your soul? – Matthew 16:24-26 God could not love you any more than he already does. And he has proven his love upon the cross.
He Is Risen! He Is Risen Indeed! O death , where is your victory ? O death , where is your sting ?” The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin [by which it brings death] is the law; but thanks be to God, who gives us the victory [as conquerors] through our Lord Jesus Christ. 1 CORINTHIANS 15:55-57 AMP But the angel said to the women, “Do not be afraid; for I know that you are looking for Jesus who has been crucified. He is not here, for He has risen, just as He said [He would]. Come! See the place where He was lying. MATTHEW 28:5-6 AMP