This is a copy of my article for the APRIL 2014 edition of the Billericay ‘Around Town Magazine’
I love Easter Sunday. It is THE most significant day in the Christian calendar and tells one of the most compelling stories ever told: God’s story! It’s the day we celebrate the ultimate triumph of good over evil, as God demonstrates his victory over death. But the resurrection of Jesus isn’t just a story that sits 2,000 years ago in history. It changes the way we live our lives today: it transforms the darkest of situations and gives hope for even the most broken of people. It’s the ultimate story of love and forgiveness.
One of the most famous of all Bible verses is John 3:16: “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” And, believe it or not, this simple verse reveals three wonderful, amazing, life-changing truths of the Christian faith: Love, Sacrifice and Hope.
- An Immeasurable Love: Jesus came to this earth because of love. He lived a life of love. He came with a clear mission: to seek and to save what was lost. The Bible teaches that we are separated from God because of our rejection of him and this damages relationships, divides families and causes so many problems in our world today. No matter what you’ve done, no matter how you feel, regardless of whatever dirt or darkness is in your life, you can know the immeasurable, matchless love of Jesus.
- An Astonishing Sacrifice: In His thirty-three years of life on earth, Jesus lived a life full of love and compassion for men, women, and children. But even after He had performed miracles and clearly shown that He was God in human form, His mission had not been fully accomplished. Jesus’ astonishing sacrifice on the cross reveals His great love for you and shows how completely He understands you, how fully He feels your shame, pain and hurt, your disappointment, your discouragement and distress. He understands it all and longs to forgive, to free you, to lift you up and turn you around because He took all of that – every bit of it – when He went to the cross. It was nailed there with Him and died there with Him. So that you could be free of it all.
- An Enduring Hope: To all of Jesus’ family, friends and followers, it was over. They were devastated. How could the one they thought was the Saviour of the world be gone? They had had such high hopes, but now their Lord was dead, wrapped in grave cloths and buried in an ugly, barren, cold stone tomb. But Jesus’ story did not end there, the Bible teaches us, and historians record, that Jesus rose from the dead and was seen by more than 500 people and this gives us an enduring hope that death is not the end but only the beginning. In fact, Jesus’ resurrection completes the message of John 3:16: “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.”
May I encourage you to journey through Holy Week this year? From the: Praise of Palm Sunday; Poignancy of Maundy Thursday; Sorrow of Good Friday and the Joy of Celebration on Easter Sunday. May I extend an invitation to join with us here at Emmanuel or another of the many great churches in Billericay?
May God’s richest blessing be upon you during these last days of Lent as we prepare to celebrate God’s immeasurable love, His astonishing sacrifice and His enduring hope.