As you read this copy of the Carley News, you will either just be looking forward to the Easter break or it will just have passed. But what does Easter mean for you? Is it just a few days off from daily work, a time for a few days relaxation or the normal daily duties because of home commitments, children and others who need looking after?
For those of us who are Christians, who love the Lord Jesus Christ, the Easter story is most significant and profound. In the church calendar Easter seems to follow on soon after Christmas, just a few months between, but historically they are separated by something like thirty years.
Christmas commemorates the wonder that the Living Eternal God, in the Person of the Lord Jesus, the One who created this world (cp. John 1:1-3, Colossian 1:16-18) came and resided in the womb of the Virgin Mary, so that He could be born and partake of our humanity. The purpose of so doing was that He by possessing flesh and blood would be able to die as we humans die. Jesus the Man was born so that He could die. This if thought about is a sobering statement, but it is true and the whole teaching of the Bible confirms this fact.
In the Bible we have four records of the earthly life of the Lord Jesus, each writer giving a slightly different aspect of the events of those three brief years in His life. A very large part of these records are taken up with the arrest of the Lord, His trial, His execution by crucifixion, His death; then on the third day His resurrection from the tomb, and finally His ascension to the right hand of the Father in glory. THIS SUMMARISES THE EASTER STORY.
Some reading this may well ask why was all this necessary? The reason goes back to the beginning. Adam our forefather disobeyed God and the virus of sin entered the world and has been inherited by every human being born of the seed of Adam. The Lord Jesus was born of the seed of the woman only, making His birth different to every other human being that ever was born. God’s absolute holiness demands that sin be punished, for it is rebellion against His authority as LORD of the universe: the universe and the earth belong to God alone (cp. Psalm 24:1-2); the punishment for rebellion against God’s absolute holiness is death, both physical and spiritual (cp. Ezekiel 18:4 & 20).
The Lord Jesus came to deal with this situation and take God’s punishment for my rebellion and your rebellion and so died in my place and your place. If you and I will seek forgiveness for our sins and rebellion from God then He will forgive and cleanse us. But repentance also calls for a life of service to Him, in gratitude for His mercy, grace and loving-kindness, plus the gift of eternal life given to all who believe. Are you one who believes in the Lord Jesus Christ? Are you one who remains in unbelief? The consequences of continued unbelief and rejection of Christ as Saviour are too terrible to contemplate. My prayer for you is that if you do not know this salvation personally, that you will come to know the joy and the peace that only the Lord Jesus can give. The words spoken by the Lord Jesus to Nicodemus in John 3 are clear yet so serious, especially verses 16 to 19. Read and believe.
- R. John Wheeler