For followers of Jesus, today is the most important day.
If Easter Sunday didn’t happen, then everything we believe changes.
Don’t get me wrong, if Jesus had just been a good man who had come and lived the life He lived, i still think it would be worth following Him.
The man who preached enemy love, who reached out and touched and spoke to and welcomed in the marginalised and the sick and the uninvited, who preached inspiring messages and performed incredible miracles, who seemed to have a special fondness for those who were marginalised and pushed to the outskirts… well there is just something so enticing and attractive about that.
i don’t see the same in a lot of His followers and especially [to my deepest sadness] not in some of the big, front of stage, leading and influencing huge groups of people men and sometimes women who very publicly lead His church. Which is, i imagine, why so many people have chosen not to want to associate too closely with christians. Because they are saying, “That man/woman is not worth following.”
But Jesus? Man, if only people would make their decisions purely based on Him.
WHICH BRINGS US TO EASTER SUNDAY
However, Jesus also claimed to be God and to be representing God.
He claimed that He would die and in three days be raised back to life.
So i guess that would be a bit of a blemish on an otherwise impressive life, if Easter Sunday hadn’t happened.
Because then He would be a liar. And if He had lied about this, what else might He have lied about.
So today is monumentally important.
And if it did happen, if this man who claimed to have been sent by God, and claimed to be God Himself in human form, if He did die and was raised from death to life, well then EVERYTHING has to change.
His call to “Deny yourself, take up your cross daily and follow Me” needs to be carefully listened to and obeyed.
His command to “Love God with all your heart, soul, strength and mind and love your neighbour as yourself” needs to be heard and put into practical action in whatever context you are living in. Each of us needs to carefully ask, in response, “Well who is my neighbour?”
If Jesus died and then came back to life [in a way that is said to have ripped the curtain in the temple – the dividing barrier between man and God] then we have got to pay attention when He says that “If you forgive other people when they sin against you, your Heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.”
Every week at St Johns where tbV and i hang out with god’s family, we remember the mystery that is these three short phrases – “Christ died. Christ rose. Christ will come again.”
i love it. It’s one of the highlights of my week. Because the essence of my whole life is summed up in those eight words. And it makes no sense to so many people i know. And that’s okay with me.
Do i ever have doubt? Absolutely. Faith wouldn’t be necessary if there was no doubt. Faith, after all, is not the absence of doubt, but the presence of belief in the face of doubt.
For me to believe that i am the center of the Universe would be the highest arrogance, and yet that is how so many of us live [and what i slip in to living as if i believe far too frequently].
But IF there is a God.
And IF He is a loving Father.
Then it would make complete sense that He would be involved with His creation and demonstrate to them the best possible way to live.
i believe that Jesus is that Way.
Today we celebrate that way.