EDITORIAL/Christ is risen, He is risen indeed.
Thursday, April 17, 2014 1:00 AM
The high point of the Christian year is Easter and the resurrection of Jesus, celebrated worldwide this coming Lord's Day.
Of all world religions, only Christianity asserts boldly that its leader is risen from the dead, a powerful claim backed up by the Scriptures as well as secular historical accounts.
Christians believe that Jesus, the only begotten son of God, came to earth as a human, fully God and fully man, born of the virgin Mary.
Although His Earthly ministry was filled with sorrows and woes, His mission was to preach the Gospel of salvation by faith through belief in Himself.
After His crucifixion, ordered by the religious and political leaders of His day, He rose from the dead three days later.
In His ministry He had preached a simple message, yet was rejected.
Sin entered the world through Adam and the Scriptures reveal that Jesus' death was ordained by God as part of His plan for human salvation.
Luke records Jesus foretelling His own death (Luke 9:43-45):
"But while they were all marveling at everything He was doing, Jesus said to His disciples, 'Let these words sink into your ears: The Son of Man is about to be delivered into the hands of men.' But they did not understand this saying, and it was concealed from them, so that they might not perceive it. And they were afraid to ask Him about this saying."
The entire Old Testament - the story of human sin and struggle and blood sacrifices necessary for atonement and forgiveness by God - foretells Christ and His New Covenant of grace, free to all who believe and rest upon Him alone for their Salvation.
Jesus in the New Testament, through His death and resurrection, is the fulfillment of the Old Covenant law.
Of course Jesus, even in His Earthly ministry, was not demanding perfection because in the human state that is impossible. His was and still is a message of forgiveness and grace to repentant sinners.
Because sin entered the world, evil exists and bad things happen to good people, but nothing outside of the Providence of God. Not a single sparrow falls without the Lord's knowledge.
Christianity makes no promise of the easy life, as Jesus' disciples learned. As Jesus was privately contemplating His own death, His disciples were arguing over how they would usher in an earthly kingdom and who would have the most prominence.
The disciples didn't get it, but their lives changed dramatically after His death and the Resurrection.
Jesus' death had all but forced the disciples into hiding out of fear they would be killed.
But after the Resurrection, Jesus appeared to them. The disciples would go forth to preach the Gospel of a risen Savior and His free gift of salvation to sinners - until their own deaths as martyrs.
For the Christian, life isn't always easy and certainly not sinless. The Christian way is often difficult, but there is hope of eternal life and perfect peace and rest.
"The stone that the builders rejected has become the cornerstone," as the psalmist writes. "This is the Lord's doing; it is marvelous in our eyes. This is the day that the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it."
For Christians, Easter affirms Christ's victory over sin and death.