Easter… Big Deal? Yes.

I know the resurrection is a fact, and Watergate proved it to me. How? Because 12 men testified they had seen Jesus raised from the dead, then they proclaimed that truth for 40 years, never once denying it. Every one was beaten, tortured, stoned and put in prison. They would not have endured that if it weren’t true. Watergate embroiled 12 of the most powerful men in the world-and they couldn’t keep a lie for three weeks. You’re telling me 12 apostles could keep a lie for 40 years? Absolutely impossible.”  – Charles Colson

Today, Christians celebrate Christ’s resurrection signaling His victory over sin and death.

Christianity is actually very, very simple and it all starts with one question:  “Do you consider yourself a good person?”

Most of us say, “Yes.  Of course, I’m a good person.”

 

But, you’re not.  Seriously.  You’ve lied.  You’ve cheated.  You’ve spread rumors about people, or participated in it.  You’ve hated.  You’ve deliberately hurt people… probably the ones who care the most about you.  You’ve been selfish and bitter.  You’ve been arrogant and condescending.

Yeah.  Me, too.

The basic foundation of Christianity is that you and I and everyone else who has ever lived and ever will live are people who do the best they can given the fact we carry wounds and scars from things we’ve experienced.  But, we still mess up.  A lot.

This is called “sin” which is a word that means “to miss the mark”.  Basically, we didn’t hit the target we were aiming at… or maybe we nailed the target, but should have been aiming somewhere else.

The Bible says that “All have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God.”   We’re all in that place… we’re all equally and firmly in the category of “sinner”.

Unfortunately, there’s a price for those mistakes… not only in our lives today, but when we face God after we die.  The Bible says, “For the wages of sin is death…”.  Not a very comforting thought.

But, here’s where it gets interesting:  the Bible also says, “For God so loved the world, He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him will not perish, but have everlasting life.”

Let’s say you’re in court.  You’ve committed some pretty bad crimes and you’re sentenced to life in prison or pay millions of dollars in reparations.

Let’s say this guy steps forward.  A guy who has never done anything wrong in his entire life.  And he looks at the judge and says, “Your honor.  You know me.  You know I’ve never committed a crime in my life.  But this person here is my friend and I love her dearly like I would love my own sister.  I’ve got a check here that will cover what you’ve ordered her to pay.  If there’s jail time involved, I’ll do that for her, too.”

This is what Jesus did.  He stepped forward, looked God in the eye and said, “Dad, you’re right, of course.  He did do those things.  He did act like that.  But, he’s a friend of mine and I love him.   Even though he did those things, and I’ve never done them, I’m willing to take the blame for what he did and suffer the consequences that should have been his.”

Most people have embraced perceptions about Christianity that simply aren’t true.  Christianity is not about judging others; it’s about loving others.  Christianity is not about abstaining from sin; it’s about being freed from sin.  Christianity is not about pretending to be perfect; it’s about accepting the fact that we’re not.

In essence, Christianity is understanding the I’m equally guilty of my sin as everyone else is of theirs.  It’s understanding that because of this, I’m no better (or worse) than anyone else.  And, most importantly, it’s about understanding that God loves me enough that He’s willing not to overlook my sin – but to pay for it Himself.

When Christ died, he took on my sins and yours and accepted the punishment on our behalf.  When He rose again, He left those sins in the grave forever.  Now, we can live as God planned us to… free of sin and judgment, secure in knowing we were each loved enough to have God Himself stand in the gap and take our blame.

Pray that God would know your heart and that you truly believe you’ve sinned and want to accept Christ’s gift of taking those sins away from you.  Pray that He would forgive you of those sins.  Pray that you believe Jesus Christ is the Son of God and that He died to for those sins.  Ask Jesus to be your Savior.  Ask Him to be your Lord.

Praise God, He is risen!

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