(The following was taken from a sermon by Mark Thornton and edited by Lee Harper)
Christians believe that Easter is the Focal Point of History. Picture a timeline with a cross in the center. The Bible tells us that every moment from Creation on has been leading up to the cross and resurrection of Jesus. We believe it is a part of God’s eternal plan, and that every moment since then is lived in light of Jesus’ death and resurrection.
In “No Wonder They Call Him The Savior”, by Max Lucado, he says:
“The cross. It rests on the time line of history like a compelling diamond. Its tragedy summons all sufferers. Its absurdity attracts all cynics. Its hope lures all searchers… History has idolized it and despised it, gold-plated it and burned it, worn and trashed it. History has done everything to it but ignore it. That’s the one option that the cross does not offer. No one can ignore it! You can’t ignore a piece of lumber that suspends the greatest claim in history. It’s bottom line is sobering: …if the account is true, it is history’s hinge. Period. …If not, it is history’s hoax. That’s why the cross is what matters.”
The Centrality of the Cross and the Empty Tomb
“Moreover, brethren, I declare to you the gospel which I preached to you, which also you received and in which you stand,…3 For I delivered to you first of all that which I also received: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, 4 and that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day according to the Scriptures,…” (1 Corinthians 15:1,3-4 – New King James, and all other scriptures below)
BECAUSE JESUS IS ALIVE…
YOU CAN EXPERIENCE HOPE THAT RELIEVES YOUR DOUBTS.
-- The angel spoke to the women. “… ‘Do not be afraid, for I know that you seek Jesus who was crucified. He is not here; for He is risen, as He said. Come, see the place where the Lord lay.’ 8 So they went out quickly from the tomb with fear and great joy, and ran to bring His disciples word.” The women ran quickly from the tomb. They were frightened but also filled with great joy. (Matthew 28:5-6,8)
-- Thomas said to the disciples, “ ‘Unless I see in His hands the print of the nails, and put my finger into the print of the nails, and put my hand into His side, I will not believe.’…Then Jesus said to Thomas, ‘Reach your finger here, and look at My hands; and reach your hand here, and put it into My side. Do not be unbelieving, but believing.’
And Thomas answered and said to Him, ‘My Lord and my God!’” (John 20:24-25,27-28)
Good News – Our hope and assurance rests in the same source – our Living Lord!
“ Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful.” (Hebrews 10:23)
YOU CAN EXPERIENCE GRACE THAT FORGIVES YOUR FAILURES AND SIN.
-- “A certain servant girl, seeing him as he sat by the fire, looked intently at him and said, ‘This man was also with Him.’ But he denied Him, saying, ‘Woman, I do not know Him.’” …And the Lord turned and looked at Peter. Then Peter remembered the word of the Lord, how He had said to him, ‘Before the rooster crows, you will deny Me three times.’ So Peter went out and wept bitterly.” (Luke 22:54-57,61-62)
-- The women who went to the tomb… told the apostles what had happened, but the story sounded like nonsense, so they didn’t believe it. However, PETER RAN to the tomb to look. “…stooping down, he saw the linen cloths lying[a] by themselves; and he departed, marveling to himself at what had happened.” (Luke 24:10-12)
-- “…’The Lord is risen indeed, and has appeared to Simon (Peter)!’” (Luke 24:34)
-- Again Jesus said, “…’Simon, son of Jonah,[a] do you love Me?’ Peter was grieved because He said to him the third time, ‘Do you love Me?’ And he said to Him, ‘Lord, You know all things; You know that I love You.’
Jesus said to him, ‘Feed My sheep.’” Then Jesus “…said to him, ‘Follow Me.’ (John 21:17-19)
“…for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God set forth as a propitiation (merciful payment) by His blood, through faith, to demonstrate His righteousness, because in His forbearance God had passed over the sins that were previously committed,…” (Romans 3:23-24,25b)
It’s like an Etch-A-Sketch. You create an image by turning the little knobs, and then when you’re finished, you turn it over and shake it all around. As a result, you get to start over with a clean slate. The same is true for us because of Christ.
YOU CAN EXPERIENCE LIFE THAT OVERCOMES DEATH.
-- What a God we have! Because Jesus was raised from the dead, we’ve been given a brand-new life and have everything to live for, including a future in heaven – and the future starts now! (1 Peter 1:3-4, The Message version)
YOU CAN EXPERIENCE PURPOSE THAT REPLACES YOUR EMPTINESS.
“For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.” (Ephesians 2:10)
“And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, ‘All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go therefore[a] and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.’ Amen.[b]” (Matthew 28:18-20)
If Easter truly is the Focal Point of History... then we have a Choice To Make:
-- Believe in Jesus, or Dismiss Him?
-- Accept His Claims, or Reject Him?
There is no middle ground! Either we…
-- Submit to Jesus, Live under his Daily Direction, and Receive the Benefits of Jesus’ Death and Resurrection… or we
-- Deny Him, and Live only for ourselves and under our own power.
You have to make a Choice. To remain neutral is to deny Him.
If you have made the Choice to Follow Christ, then I want to encourage you to Live your Life in Light of Jesus’ Death and Resurrection!
– Get into His Word & Communicate with Him in Prayer
– Get involved in Worship and Fellowship regularly
– Share God’s Love with those around you
– Make your Life a Celebration of all God has done!
Click here for Lee's Testimony
Click here for Sue's Testimony