The Christian message is not about the many social concerns that we attach it to in our culture today.
· It's not about Right to Life
· it's not about equality in marriage
· it's not about saving the planet from global warming
· And it's certainly not about who we elect as President, and send to Washington D.C.
The Christian message is simply about the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ.
The Death of Jesus…
We call this “Good Friday”. It seems as though the unfair execution of a man should be called anything but good. But the death of Jesus is good when we realize why he died. He died to pay the price of sin brought about because of the fall of Adam. More generally, He died for us sinners.
Someone may argue he isn’t a sinner because, they may say, “It is not as though I am as bad as some other people, like my brother, or even Hitler.” However, at the cross all people are on completely equal standing because there we must compare ourselves to the goodness of Jesus, and not the badness of people. At the cross, we learn that compared to the goodness of Jesus, no human is righteous. Jesus went to the cross, in our place, to die the death that we could not – and that is good news.
The Burial of Jesus…
The Burial brought great confusion upon the disciples, just like the death of one of our own loved ones does us.
I can guess what the disciples were thinking when their friend was buried. They were likely thinking that ‘Jesus was not supposed to die’ and wondered what they were going to do now?
Isn’t this what we all say (or think) to ourselves when one of our loved ones is buried? “Why did God let my loved one die?”
When Jesus was in the tomb, his disciples were pained and confused. They locked themselves in a house, keeping the outside world out, and even when the women came to tell them that all was well, because Jesus had risen back to life, the men refused to believe them. I think they were just too distraught by the emotion and pain of it all. Many of us have felt distraught by the death of a loved one having felt this hopelessness, and even rejecting the words of comfort given to us by our closest friends and loved ones.
The Resurrection of Jesus…
The resurrection of Jesus is the Gospel. This is the “Good News!” It was unbelievable, miraculous, and completely unexpected. And it gives us great hope.
Jesus was brought back to life by God. This made everything He said true, everything He promised to be trusted, and it meant that all their fears and doubts were not the end of the story. Because Jesus, who died, and who was buried, was alive again, and in His resurrected life there was Hope.
Have you ever seen the light at the end of the dark tunnel of your soul? Usually we don’t. Usually we don’t recognize it until after we have emerged out into the light, and taken a deep cleansing breath. However, even if we don’t see it at first, it doesn’t mean that it’s not there.
The resurrection of Jesus is the lighted-hope in our dark days. In the hard times, when we recognize our self-focus, when we only feel the pain of loss, or the weight of our separation from God, we have a light at the end of the tunnel, even if it be only a pin-prick of light like the faintest star in the midnight sky. In the resurrection of Jesus, we must have faith, for only in this faith may we have the grace of hope that we have been forgiven and our eternities secured with God. It is this hope in the resurrection of Jesus which ultimately makes the cross good.
13 If there is no resurrection of the dead, then not even Christ has been raised. 14 And if Christ has not been raised, our preaching is useless and so is your faith. 15 More than that, we are then found to be false witnesses about God, for we have testified about God that he raised Christ from the dead. But he did not raise him if in fact the dead are not raised. 16 For if the dead are not raised, then Christ has not been raised either. 17 And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins. 18 Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ are lost. 19 If only for this life we have hope in Christ, we are of all people most to be pitied. 20 But Christ has indeed been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep.
Too often we experience loss and feel pain but as we hold firmly to faith in the resurrected Jesus, we see the light at the end of the tunnel and trust for a bright tomorrow.