Speaking on Easter Sunday, Andrea’s message is simply called, “Jesus died for me”. This is the simple and beautiful truth of Easter. There is nothing else.
John 1:1-5 tells us that Jesus (the Word) was there in the beginning. In fact, the entire Old Testament of the Bible points us to Jesus. He was never a ‘Plan B’ for humanity. The truth is, God had our salvation and redemption in mind before the start of creation. He was thinking of us at the creation of the earth. Jesus was not simply God’s attempt to fix a mistake. Instead, Jesus shows what a loving, kind and sacrificial God He is. At the time of the fall, He could have chosen to just wipe us out and start again, but this is not who He is. Instead, He knew that we would fall, and He already had a plan set in place to redeem us to Himself. He is a God who would rather die than see us lost for all eternity. This is why Jesus went to the cross. At the time of creation, God created man and woman, and gave them free will. They chose to sin. They were created perfect, but they ended up living with sin. They needed redemption. We needed redemption.
Going back to the Old Testament, in the time of Moses, there had to be a law because the people were caught up in sin, doing whatever they wanted, whenever they wanted; they needed to be guided into righteousness, which is why God gave the ten commandments to Moses, but the Law could not redeem man. There was no self redemption. This is why Jesus came.
The New Testament: The Cross. Jesus’ life was a fulfilment of prophecy. Everything He did, until He poured out His life for mankind. He lived perfectly. He is the person who surpasses the law to save us. In the Old Testament, the law, and redemption achieved by blood was required. The blood was provided by a sacrificial lamb. A Passover lamb. At the Crucifixion, Jesus became THE most perfect Passover lamb of all time. He died unbroken so that we may live unbroken, without fear, or death.
Jesus is our present and our future. He bought that for us when He was on the cross. The devil thought he’d won. He thought that he’d bested God, but Jesus pays the debt in full, and buys atonement and redemption. He covers our sin, and chooses not to remember it. Atonement means to cover and exchange. Jesus exchanged His life, for our righteousness, and all that He requires in return is humility and gratitude. Because of Him, there is no need to dwell in the past. Jesus is the present and the future.
Andrea went on to say that redeemed people are different. We change because of His sacrifice. The truth is that now we can stand before God as if we are Jesus; clean and blameless.
The sacrifice Jesus made on the cross is ultimate. For the first time in history, there was no holy trinity. He took on our sin. God turned His back on Him; His only Son. It must have been agony for God to do this, but He did it, because He loves us so much, and when Jesus breathed His last, He cried out “It is finished!” It was done. He died, abandoned by most of His disciples, watched by His mother and some of His followers.
Andrea went on to say that they must have felt absolute grief, utter helplessness, and desolation, but they didn’t know that Jesus was battling in the grave; that His death was being swallowed up in victory. Jesus was in hell, telling the enemy that He now had the keys to death and hell. He battled so that we don’t have to, and we will rise with Him. He goes before us so we don’t have to suffer.
The Greek word for resurrection is anastasis. It literally means ‘a rising up’. In scripture, we see that they didn’t understand that Jesus was the temple that would be torn down and rebuilt in three days.
In John 20:1-9 John and Simon-Peter go to the tomb, and find that the stone has been rolled away. The thing that they don’t realise, is that Jesus didn’t need the stone rolled away for Him to get out; it was so that we could see and know that He was no longer there, and that He had risen. In another account of this, there is an angel inside the tomb, that asks why they are looking for the living among the dead.
Often we look for the way, and cling on to our past, and what we were. In doing this, we, too are searching for the living among the dead. Andrea implored us to leave what we are clinging to among the dead, to take off our grave clothes, as Jesus did, and to move forwards to walk among the living.
When Mary was at the tomb, Jesus only says her name, and she realises that it’s Him. Today, He is calling our names. He is a good good Father, and we are loved by Him. If we give Him the chance, He will whisper to us the truth of who we are. He sees us as we are, and not how we see ourselves. Andrea challenged us to focus on what Jesus thinks of us, and on what this means for us.
The resurrection is an absolute, unifying thing of the Christian faith. It crosses all denominations. Jesus Christ is the same, yesterday, today, and tomorrow: Forever. We are called to not focus on what divides us, but only on what unites us. He never forgets us, and even when we can’t find the words, He sends the Spirit to help us. No matter what our situation may be, God has not forgotten us. He just expects us to be patient. He is always listening, and He will answer in His time.
God loved us so much, He came to earth as a person; our redeemer. Fully God, and fully man. Jesus completed the work of God, as He is Prophet, Priest and King. God became human and died for us. No other ‘God’ does this. No other ‘God’ forgives so easily.
Returning to the title of her message, Andrea repeats the truth of Easter Sunday. Jesus died for me. Jesus died for you. Jesus died for us. What amazing love? And all so that we could be reconciled to Him.
Scriptures: John 1:1-5, John 20:1-9