At a local church, three people accept Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior. A pastor asks, why is this not front-page news? His point: If three people had been stabbed in church, the newspaper would report all the details. People getting saved and not going to hell, that’s real good news.
Individual professions of faith may not make page 1, but the bigger story of that faith is indeed of primary relevance to our community. The impact of Christianity cannot be underestimated, so it’s helpful to understand why Christians everywhere feel so joyous on his day.
For many, it’s a day marked by egg hunts, new apparel, chocolates, a ham dinner, school vacations, jelly beans and, of course, the Easter Bunny.
For others, it’s all of that – and more. It’s not just a holiday, it’s a holy day – perhaps the holiest day of the year – a time for Christians to joyously celebrate the central truths of their faith.
Christians have a different view of the world – and a different sense of their purpose in life – than non-Christians. This is because Christians believe in the resurrection of Jesus Christ. Almost 2,000 years later, this supernatural event still cannot be explained by science or other conventional means; it must be accepted on the basis of faith and the testimony of Jesus’ contemporaries.
The Gospels – the word gospel means “good news” – tell the story of an itinerant Jewish man named Jesus Christ who called himself the Son of Man. He was born of a virgin in a lowly manger at Bethlehem and learned the craft of carpentry.
At the age of 30, this man gathered together a dozen disciples – men from disparate social backgrounds who likely would never have socialized with each other.
Then he embarked on a short but tumultuous ministry: performing miracles, showing exceptionally keen insight into the Jewish scriptures and showing love and compassion for the meek and the lowly.
This man, the Bible says, was loved and hailed by multitudes who hailed and adored him as a great teacher, a prophet and even the Messiah: the Son of God.
The religious and political elite, jealous of this interloper’s influence, plotted to rid themselves of him. On Good Friday, they nailed him on a cross to die a painful, lingering death under the mocking sign “King of the Jews.”
If this story ended here, history would have judged Jesus Christ as a well-intentioned man who did many good deeds, but a mere mortal who promised more than he could fulfill.
Christians, however, boldly proclaim that Jesus Christ was resurrected to life and indeed still lives today – a claim that makes Christianity unique among the world’s religions – and this is why we celebrate Easter.