“Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous man, though for a good man someone might possibly dare to die. But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us” Romans 5:7-8 (NIV).
Back in the 1880’s Nietzsche declared that “God is dead,” and before the turn of the Twentieth Century, Shaw and Wells chimed in saying the 20th Century would mark the end of the world’s “religious phase.”
Yet, today a church now meets in Russia’s Museum of Religion and Atheism-the former center of atheism. Nearly half of the United States’ population attends Worship on a regular basis while revival is sweeping through Latin America and Christianity grows behind China’s iron curtain. Nietzsche, Shaw and Wells have long since decayed in their graves, and God continues to live! That’s the message of Easter. He is risen! He is risen, indeed!
Muhammad died, and was buried. His faithful followers take pilgrimages to visit his remains; the same is true of Buddha and other religious leaders. But it is not true of Jesus. You cannot visit His remains; you can only visit His empty grave, because He isn’t there. He Arose!
The resurrection of Jesus stands at the heart of Christian faith. We believe in Jesus because He did not stay dead. He told his disciples He would be raised on the third day after His crucifixion—and He was! The fact of His resurrection verified His claims: He was indeed the Son of God. And it verified that God had acted decisively to deal with human sin. Jesus died for you and me. And on the third day, He destroyed the power of sin and death. In Him we possess the greatest hope imaginable.
God, who loves us, knew the problems of man. That’s why He sent His one and only Son, who, without sin, subjected himself to the cruel and unrelenting environment of our sin-darkened world. God’s love is why Jesus took our broken condition on Himself, yet without sin, walked in our shoes and suffered, even to death, at the ignorant and violent hands of us sinners. But for Jesus, death was not the end of the story. And because of Jesus, it is not the end of the story for you and me either. Jesus was raised to life, and through Him, we, too, are raised to a bold, fresh and glorious new life—eternal life.
Why did Jesus Christ have to die for our sins? “The law requires that nearly everything be cleansed with blood and without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness” Hebrews 9:22. God told Moses in Leviticus 17:11: “For the life of the creature is in the blood, and I have given it to you to make atonement for yourselves on the altar; it is the blood that makes atonement for one’s life.” The blood of Christ, the perfect sacrifice, had to be shed for our atonement. Jesus Christ “did not enter by means of the blood of the goats and calves; but He entered the Most Holy Place once for all by His own blood, having obtained eternal redemption” Hebrews 9:12.
Unlike the Levite priests who had to offer sacrifices again and again, Jesus Christ is the only high priest who is “holy, blameless, pure, set apart from sinners, and exalted above the heavens”. For the law appoints as high priests men who are weak; but the oath, which came after the law, appointed the Son, who has been made perfect forever.” Hebrews 7:26-28. And by the new covenant, “we have been made holy through the sacrifice of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.” Hebrews 10:10. Jesus Christ’s resurrection from the dead and His ascension to Heaven to sit at the right hand of His Father completed the redemption of those who believe in His name. He is our priest in Heaven, reminding His father of His sacrifice that bought our salvation. “Because Jesus lives forever, He has a permanent priesthood. Therefore He is able to save completely those who come to God through Him, because He always lives to intercede for them.” Hebrews 7:24-25.
Easter season is a very important season for children of God. It is a time of reflection. It is a time of self-evaluation. It is a time of recommitment and rededication. And above all, it is a time of thanksgiving and joy in the unsearchable riches of the grace of God! He died for you and me. And on the third day, he destroyed the power of sin and death.
To those who are yet to take advantage of the beautiful gift of salvation made available by the sacrifice of Jesus, I want to let you know that Jesus Christ is alive and He loves you! Jesus became the perfect sacrifice to pay for your sins. He accomplished many purposes in His coming and the first was to learn what it was like to be human. He was human without sinning. He became a living sacrifice for mankind. Then he became an offering for all sin when He had the sins of mankind laid on Him through a terrible beating (Isaiah 53). And finally, He was put to death on the cross, paying the death penalty for sin. No one cares for you more, no one wants to give you more, no one wants you to succeed more than He does. How blessed are you that God loves you so much? God humbled Himself to become a man like you and to die for you so that you could know the joy of living an abundant eternal life not in the flesh, but in the spirit; not in the midst of sin but in the kingdom where every tear will be wiped away and there will be no more pain or sorrow or death. He created you and longs to have a personal relationship with you. You can know Him personally by receiving Him into your life. Just to agree intellectually that Jesus Christ is the Son of God and He died on the cross for our sins is not enough. Nor is it enough to have an emotional experience. We receive Jesus Christ by faith, as an act of your will.
What better day to submit to Christ and accept His free offer of salvation than today. I suggest you pray the following prayer:
“Lord Jesus, I thank you for your love and that you came into the world to die for me. I confess that I have directed my own life and that I have therefore sinned against God. I now want to put my trust in you and receive you in my life. Thank you for forgiving my sins. Make me the person you want me to be. I thank you that you answered my prayer and that you are now in my life. Amen.”
If you prayed this prayer please let us know. Send us an email or call us; we will certainly get back to you. God bless you.
Pastor Samuel O. Osaghae