by Billy Foley
Edited by Rolaant McKenzie
Easter is upon us again. The years roll by. We get older each year, and nostalgic thoughts come upon us. For example, what did we do his time last year? Was it good or bad? Did you visit your family or friends?
For the vast majority of people Easter is about having a break from work, spending time with loved ones or going away on holidays to have a good time. For children it is about getting Easter eggs and having fun, and for adults it is primarily about entertainment. For the commercial world it is about increasing sales. Some people even find time to go to Church and Christian conferences.
1. The Significance of Easter
Let us return to the real issue. Has the full significance of Easter penetrated into our minds? Do we simply view it as a historical event, or is it real and vital to us in our daily experience. In other words, what does Easter mean to us? Does it mean merely Easter eggs, having a break from work, or is there a deeper meaning and significance to the whole event. The fact of the matter is that many have the benefits of having time off from work because of the death of Christ, and are not even grateful. Do you realize that if Christ had not suffered on the cross, you would not have time off from work? Again, the same is true of Christmas. Many people take it for granted and see time off from work as their entitlement, and do not even give a thought or thanks to Christ for His death on the Cross, and His resurrection.
If people would stop to think and acknowledge the benefits they get from Christ, it would bring home the reality of the influence of Christ in the world and the direct benefits to them. The fact is that no other religious or political figure in history has had the impact that Christ has had, and indeed is still having. The whole of our western calendar is structured around Christ. History is His-Story. We have B.C. and A.D.
Now if Christ never existed, then how is it He has had such an impact and influence? It never ceases to amaze me of the foolishness of some of those atheists, infidels and heretics who seek to deny the existence of Christ, and His Perfect Manhood, Perfect Godhood, and His Perfect Death and Perfect Resurrection. The Scripture says, "The fool hath said in his heart, There is no God. They are corrupt, they have done abominable works, there is none that doeth good" (Psalm 14:1). Also, I say that the fool has said in his heart that Christ does not exist, or that he did not die or rise again from the dead. I was once such a fool, corrupt, born in sin, practicing sin, living in the blindness and hardness of my heart, but God had mercy on me, opening my eyes to His amazing grace towards lost sinners, which was gloriously displayed in His love on the Cross, whereupon His dear Son hung in ignominy and shame for wretched, lost, ignorant, miserable, hell-deserving blind and naked sinners. Thank God that He is in the business of saving sinners today. He is ever-merciful and kind to all those who love Him and obey His commandments.
2. Christ is our Passover for us
For the Jew Easter is about the Passover, for the Christian we believe that Easter is fulfilled in Christ. The Scriptures say, "Christ our Passover is sacrificed for us (1 Corinthians 5:7)." John the Baptist says, "Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world (John 1:29)." There are many parallels between the Jewish Passover and Christ our Passover. In fact, we believe that the Scriptures teach that the Jewish Passover foreshadows the Passover of Christ.
3. The Basis of the Sinner's Relationship with God
Vital to our spirituality and relationship with God is the death and resurrection of Christ. It is the death of all deaths. It is the resurrection of all resurrections. It is through the reconciliation of the cross that we have peace with God. It is through the salvation of the cross that we have access to God. It is through the redemption of the Cross that we have forgiveness from God. It is through the cross that we have new life. It is through the cross that guilty sinners are justified and acquitted by a holy and righteous God. These facts are good news, and central to the Gospel.
Life does change around Easter. Spring descends upon us. The clocks spring forward. Life is in the air. There is a freshness in the mornings. Growth is everywhere. There is expectation and hope around us. The trees are budding and blossoming, and the flowers are blooming. Gardens are being transformed. Change is all around us. It is wise to observe these things. Creation is going through a whole change. Lambs are being born. There is new birth. There is regeneration going on. God is saying through the changes in Creation that coincides with the Cross that things are changing. Lives are being transformed by God's Holy Spirit. God is giving spiritual life through the Cross. Creation is an object lesson of what has resulted in the spiritual realm. Resurrection is occurring everywhere in Creation, speaking of the glorious resurrection of Christ. Isaiah says, "Hast thou not known? Hast thou not heard, that the everlasting God, the Lord, the Creator of the ends of the earth fainteth not, neither is weary (Isaiah 40:28)." God is active in Creation and Calvary.
At Calvary, "For He (God) hath made Him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him (2 Corinthians5:21)."
In Creation, God caused life and sustains life by His power and control. Christ was delivered (Cross) for our offenses, and was raised again (resurrection) for our justification (see Romans 4: 25).
If you desire freedom from guilt and acceptance with God this is only found permanently through Christ. If you want peace with God this is only through the Lord Jesus Christ. There is no other way, or there is no other person by whom you may have access into Heaven (see John 14:6 and Acts 4:12). If you have not been declared righteous by God, then you will most certainly be excluded from Heaven. The gift of the righteousness of God is exclusively through Christ.
4. Current Affairs in Heaven and Earth
There are a number of factors here to consider:
5. Look to the CROSS, and the Coming King
I pray that people would look to Calvary. If only people would realize that true happiness and joy is only to be found in Christ, His work on the Cross and His glorious resurrection. Life does change around Easter for those who will look to Christ and live. Look ye lame, ye blind, ye poor, ye deaf, ye dead, ye dumb and live. Look to the Holy One who gave His back to the smiters, and His cheeks to them that plucked out the hair, and who hid not His face from their reviling and spitting. There is life for a look at the Crucified One. The Lord will lead you in paths that you have not known. He will make your darkness light, and the crooked things straight. Here is the invitation to sinners from the LORD, "Look unto Me, and be ye saved, all the ends of the earth: for I AM God, and there is none else" (Isaiah 45:22).
Christ has come -- "For ye know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that, though He was rich, yet for our sakes He became poor, that ye through His poverty might be rich" (2 Corinthians 8:9). He left Heaven's glory for the Cross of Calvary. What love!! Great is the mystery of godliness, God manifest in the flesh. What a great God, whom we must adore!
Christ is coming again. We live in an exciting hour in one respect. The hope of the believer is to look for the coming of the reigning King. We do not look for judgment but for the glory of God to be revealed in us. Christ in us is the Hope of Glory. The Holy Spirit says, "For the Lord Himself shall descend from Heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord. Wherefore comfort one another with these words" (1 Thessalonians 4:16-18).
Be ready for Christ's Coming. Repent and believe the Gospel. The Lord Jesus Christ is going to take vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ. The Lord Jesus Christ was crucified in humiliation, but He is going to be revealed from Heaven with His mighty angels and glorified in all those who believe, in triumph, at His Coming. Every time we remember the Passover LAMB at the Breaking of Bread, we do so till He come.
"Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us: we pray you in Christ's stead, be ye reconciled to God" (2 Corinthians 5:20). At the Cross, at the Cross, I first saw the Light, it was there by faith that I received my sight and the burden of my heart rolled away.
These are just a few of my thoughts for you this Easter. May God have mercy on you for His Glory.
"The LORD bless thee, and keep thee: The LORD make His face shine upon thee, and be gracious unto thee: The LORD lift up His countenance upon thee, and give thee peace" (Numbers 6:24-26).