Since we have just celebrated what I consider to be the most important time of the year for my family, I asked Leigh O’Dell to write a special report on Easter for this issue. Fortunately, she agreed to do so and I am including it for your edification.
We just celebrated Easter. For many, Easter can be about the Easter bunny, Easter egg hunts, or Sunday lunch with family. But Easter is so much more than those things. Easter is the celebration of the sacrificial death and triumphant Resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ. There is no more important day in human history. There is no more important day we celebrate each year.
Why is Easter so important? All of us, no matter how well-intentioned, fall short of God’s standard of how we should live our lives. We are sinners, and our sin separates us from God. Because God desires for us to be forgiven of our sins, to enjoy a right relationship with Him, and to have the hope of heaven with Him for eternity – because of His great love for us, God sent His Son, Jesus, to be the sacrifice for our sins. Jesus endured the cross, paid the penalty for our sins, so that anyone who believes in Him might not perish but have everlasting life. (John 3:16) There is no other way, no other name, by which we can be saved. (Acts 4:12)
This free gift is available for anyone who would receive it. A person does not need to do more good works than bad works. It is by God’s grace that we can be saved through faith in Jesus. (Eph. 2:8). It also doesn’t matter what we have done in our past. No sin is too big to be forgiven. The penalty for our sins was paid in full by the blood of Jesus shed at the cross. (Eph. 1:7). Someone explained God’s grace this way recently: God’s Riches At Christ’s Expense.
Easter is also a celebration of Jesus’ triumph over the grave and death. Jesus not only gave His life on the cross and was buried, but on the third day He rose from the dead. Christ triumphed over the grave, sin, and the devil. Now, Jesus is enthroned at the right hand of God, reigning preeminent over our world today. Christ lives! And Christ reigns! At a time when so much of the world seems to be in turmoil and there seems to be so much uncertainty, it is very encouraging to remember that Jesus reigns and rules today.
If we acknowledge we are sinners and ask Jesus to forgive our sins and to be the Lord of our lives, each one of us can live in the freedom and peace of forgiveness, in the power of His resurrection, and with the hope of heaven for eternity. We can enter into a personal relationship with Jesus. For those of us who have done that, Easter is a time to humbly thank the Lord for His great sacrifice and to celebrate His grace in our lives. What a sacrifice He made on our behalf! Maybe you have never acknowledged that you are a sinner and asked for Jesus to forgive you. You need not wait any longer. God loves you. He is waiting and willing to hear your prayer for forgiveness and for eternal life with Him. You need only ask. No fancy prayer is needed. Just share with Him in simple words. He knows your heart. By placing your faith in Jesus, you can have peace with God. (Rom. 5:1). You will never make a more important decision. There is no greater blessing. This old hymn describes Easter best:
Here is love vast as the ocean
Loving kindness as a flood
When the Prince of Life, our ransom
Shed for us His Precious blood
Who His love will not remember
Who can cease to sing His praise?
He can never be forgotten
Throughout heav’n’s eternal days.
On the mount of crucifixion
Fountains opened deep and wide
Through the floodgates of God’s mercy
Flowed a vast and gracious tide
Grace and love like mighty rivers
Poured incessant from above
Heaven’s peace and perfect justice
Kissed a guilty world in love.
It is truly humbling to think God loves you and me that much. Take a moment this Easter season to thank Him and if you have not already done so, to respond to His invitation at the cross.
March 25, 2008
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