A Time of Reflection, Forgiveness and Joy

Romans 5:8-9 “God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Since we have now been justified by his blood, how much more shall we be saved from God’s wrath through him!”
18 Apr 2019 11:16
A Time of Reflection, Forgiveness and Joy
Message from Alister Irwin, Major Divisional Commander, The Salvation Army, Fiji

Easter is a time to reflect on the mistakes of the past and present, confess and rejoice in the resurrection of Jesus Christ, the saviour of the world.

This Easter here are few questions to ponder on as we commemorate the death and resurrection of Christ:

1. Why did Christ have to suffer so much for us?

John the Baptist introduces Jesus by saying John 1:29 “Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!” The penalty God imposed on sin is both just and loving, for God Himself, in the person of the Son, paid that penalty for all who will accept Him as their substitute.

1 Peter 1:18-19 “For you know that it was not with perishable things such as silver or gold that you were redeemed from the empty way of life handed down to you from your forefathers, but with the precious blood of Christ, a lamb without blemish or defect.”

Apart from Jesus Christ, all people are alienated from God. Sin’s rebellion caused a gulf between God and people that is humanly impassable. Yet, Christ’s blood built the bridge from God to you and I.

Romans 5:8-9 “God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Since we have now been justified by his blood, how much more shall we be saved from God’s wrath through him!”

Human sin produces a pollution of the heart that can only be cleanses by God’s grace. And that grace shows itself in the effectiveness of Christ’s sacrifice where we can we find forgiveness, cleansing, reconciliation, salvation and hope!

2. Why was the empty tomb so important?

Not only is the resurrection the foundation of the Christian faith, it has ongoing implications for all of our lives today. The empty tomb means: I can put my trust in Jesus Christ.

John 11:25-26 Jesus said, “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies; and whoever lives and believes in me will never die.”

There’s one undeniable fact about that first Easter morning. Jesus’ body was gone from the tomb. No one has ever produced a body. This leaves us with only four options:

Option 1: His followers stole the body

This was the report that the religious leaders circulated when Jesus’ body was missing. But is it even plausible? Did these men have the courage and intelligence to steal their master’s corpse?

When we read what the New Testament says about his disciples, they were neither cunning nor bold. At Jesus’ execution only one of them had the courage to even be there.

Initially they doubted, then something happened that changed these fearful men to bold witnesses of the resurrection.

Option 2: The authorities stole the body

“But what would be their motive?” The Jewish leaders and Roman authorities would have loved nothing more than to squash Christianity from the start. Stealing the body would only lend credibility to the movement. That was the last thing they wanted.

Option 3: Jesus didn’t really die – The Swoon Theory.

Just for the sake of argument we’ll say that Jesus survived the cross.

More questions arise. How did he survive a spear thrust up under his rib cage? The wound was so deep that the pericardial sac surrounding his heart was ruptured causing blood and water to flow from his side.

How could a man who had been crucified survive three days in a sealed tomb with no water, food or medical attention? How could a man in Jesus’ condition roll away the huge boulder from the tomb entrance, get past the Roman guard, locate his disciples, sneak into a room where they were hiding and then inspire them to risk their lives for his cause?

Option 4: The Resurrection Is Real!

The evidence weighs strongly in favour of this option. Not only was the tomb empty, Jesus made a minimum of 10 bodily appearances after the resurrection. Since that time millions have trusted in the testimony of those first eyewitnesses.

The empty tomb means:

1. I can have a fresh start.

2 Cor. 5:17 “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!” God promises us a fresh start, a completely new life, simply by trusting in Jesus and his resurrection.

2. I can have the power to live life right.

We all want improvement, to be better. You can find a book to tell you how to get a job, how to lose weight, how to have better relationships.

There’s only one problem. They don’t give you the power to make those changes. Without power all that advice is as useless as a car without petrol.

The resurrection is different. It gives us the power to live life right – the way God intended us to live and the way that we desire.

Romans 8:11 “…the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you”

That promise is only valid for believers. Those who take God at his word and trust in the resurrection of Jesus Christ receive God’s Spirit into their beings.

Imagine that the power that broke the chains of death and revived the body of Jesus courses through the veins of every person who crosses the line of faith. If God’s Spirit can defeat death, there’s no habit, no sin, no attitude that can withstand that power.

3. I can have hope for the future.

What happens when we die? Do we just flicker out like a flame never to be seen or heard from again? According to the Bible, because Jesus

was raised from the dead those who trust and follow him will go on after this life in eternality.

The Sacrifice and Resurrection of Jesus Christ will change your life, but only if you personally

trust the risen Lord as your forgiver and Lord. The Salvation Army prays for all people across Fiji Islands that they would have a blessed Easter. God Bless You.

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