Easter is a joyous celebration of God intervening dramatically in human history. The Bible is the long history of God reaching out to people to have a holy love relationship with them. There is joy and chaos as the Apostles try to understand what is going on. They were obviously confused. We need to understand that this is a real, historical event before we can go on to understand what it means for us and our own Baptismal Covenant.
1. Was Jesus really dead and did this really happen?
Preachers who do not understand or believe in the supernatural worldview of the Bible have proposed alternative explanations of the Resurrection:
- Jesus was unconscious – contrary to Biblical accounts of un-survivable torture, dehydration, piercing, blood
- Body was stolen – contrary to inability to find a body
- Mythical – in spite of details, unflattering account
- Our whole faith hangs on the truth of this – as proven by the changed lives, martyrs, multiple witnesses
2. What does the Resurrection mean?
The Resurrection is Gods cosmic “YES” to the New Covenant of Jesus suffering and death as sufficient payment for the forgiveness of the sins of all those who believe in Him. If God could raise Jesus to new life – then we can hope God will raise us to new life. This is God’s part of the Covenant – our eternal spiritual life. But covenants have conditions for both parties. God cannot keep His part of the Covenant unless we keep our part. God’s part of the Covenant is a promise that
- “Everyone who believes in Him receives forgiveness of sins through His name (Jesus – God saves )
- Sin and guilt pollute our souls and make it impossible for us to be with God who is holy
- When we repent and ask Jesus to forgive our specific sins Jesus takes them to His Cross and pays the price
- The Good News is there is a new potential way to forgiveness, peace with God and an eternal spiritual life of joy!
- Starts here with Baptism, goes on forever in Heaven.
3. What is our part of the Baptismal Covenant?
Our part is to “believe in Him (Jesus) in the context of what God has done for us. God’s part is summarized in the Apostles Creed. The long version is the sixty-six Books of the Bible. If we have read the Bible and had some teaching; we should be able to both understand and believe in what Jesus did on the Cross. Believe in = trust in (not just know about). This belief is tested by the Promises we make in Baptism:
· Continue in the Apostles teaching, breaking of bread and prayers – Baptized into an active worshiping community
o Need constant teaching, prayer, emotional support
· Resist evil and when you fail repent and return to Jesus – Baptism into a living relationship with Jesus
o Need to understand the supernatural dimension of the Bible and expect Satan to deceive us and tempt us
· Proclaim Good News by word and deed – speak out and share the Good News of forgiveness in Jesus
· Will you seek and serve Christ in all persons, loving your neighbour as yourself?
· Will you strive for justice and peace among all people, and respect the dignity of every human being?
The Good News of Easter is that there is a God in Heaven.God has revealed His love for us in history and in Jesus who died for our sins – and was raised by God as a sign of hope for us in an eternal spiritual life of joy!