There are two times a year in the lives of most people when they give a passing thought to Jesus Christ, the author of the Christian experience.
Most folks pay lip service to the baby Jesus at Christmastime. It’s hard to resist the cute little tyke in a manger. Everyone likes the angelic message of peace on earth, goodwill to men. Besides, there is absolutely no threat from a tiny little baby. Even folks who loudly proclaim “there is no god” like to celebrate Christmas. They don’t want to miss out on Santa Claus and all the good holiday cheer.
The other event occurs at Easter. The rites of spring. Spring break. While millions of people all over the world lift up Jesus, the resurrected one, as Lord and Savior of their lives; there are many other people who want to cover Easter with tales of Easter bunnies rolled in jelly beans, a time of flowers and Easter outfits in lavender and pink.
Resurrection begins, for the Christian, with crucifixion. Crucifixion is ugly, bloody, and messy. Better to have little furry bunnies and chicks painted pink. After all, we mustn’t offend anyone. Let’s skip Good Friday and get on with the good stuff.
After the Lord instituted the Eucharist on Maundy Thursday, he retired with his eleven faithful companions to the Garden of Gethsemane for a time of prayer and rest. It was there that Judas and the temple guards arrested Jesus. Hours later after beating, mocking, and humiliating Jesus, they dragged him before Pilate with false accusations. After some reluctance the Roman sentenced Jesus to be scourged and then crucified.
I want to apologize to all the delicate people of the world – but you can’t get to Easter without passing Golgotha. You must go by the way of the cross. There is no other path to resurrection.
On the afternoon of the first Easter the companions of Jesus were gathered in an upper room, hiding from the authorities who wanted to arrest them when Jesus appeared in their midst. He showed them his wounds and cautioned their fear. Even earlier than that, he had walked along with two of his companions on their way home to Emmaus. He later appeared along the Sea of Galilee and ate breakfast with the disciples.
Our hope for eternal peace and happiness is in the resurrection of Jesus from the grave. The Bible says, “if there is no resurrection, we are a pitiful bunch of people.”
All that happened nearly two-thousand years ago. Today the only witness to the resurrection is the good and faithful witness of the Holy Bible. The bible was written by men of good will and integrity. But there are antichrists who want to convince the world that the Bible is not sufficient for our salvation. They know that if they can destroy the bible they can easily destroy faith in God. They say, with all the puffed up authority they can muster, that the Bible is a book of fables and myths made up by liars and charlatans.
Hostility toward Christians is not new. Nero and his ilk murdered a lot of them. Hitler and Stalin despised them and murdered as many as they could. Jihadists all over the Middle East are seeking out Christians to torture, murder or enslave. Satan is alive and well. People who live lives steeped in sin and depravity despise Christians and Christianity. Folks who are faithful to Christ are labeled as bigoted and intolerant.
Some Christians hide their faith in anonymity, while others seek to keep a low profile. I wonder if this is not giving aid and comfort to the enemy. It’s a shame that the cross is just jewelry to some folks; otherwise we might be able to ferret out the Christians. If Christians are living the same decadent lifestyle as the pagans, how will we ever sort them out? Think about it. Oh, and “Happy Easter!”