Dear CPC family,
As Easter approaches, I want to remind you of the staggering truths we celebrate at this time of the year. I will not be saying anything you do not already know, but I hope that remembering the basic facts of our faith will bring you fresh encouragement, especially after a year of so much gloom and despondency.
Two thousand years ago, Jesus of Nazareth, the incarnate Son of God, was nailed to a Roman cross, beaten, scourged, mocked and, after several harrowing hours of tortuous darkness, he breathed his last and yielded up his spirit. He was crucified in weakness, a despised and apparently defeated claimant to the throne of messiahship.
But three days later, just as the Scriptures had foretold, this same man, whose body had been so deformed and disfigured as to be beyond human semblance and whose soul had been plunged into the pit of deepest anguish, rose from the dead, gloriously transfigured, and proceeded to appear to hundreds of witnesses before ascending to the heights of heaven.
Never had someone descended so low; never had anyone ascended so high. Jesus died and rose again – this is the staggering fact that we remember in an especially concentrated form at this time of the year.
But what is just as staggering is the meaning of Jesus' death and resurrection. The historical fact alone leaves us wondering in awe; the interpretation of this remarkable fact takes us up to heaven before time. For the Bible’s glorious testimony is that Jesus did all of this for us!
Jesus died for us: by his death, he paid for our sins and removed them as far from us as the east is from the west; he quenched God’s wrath against us by satisfying the rigourous demands of divine justice; and he freed us from curse and condemnation so that we may now enjoy the peace and liberty of being the children of God.
And Jesus rose from the dead for us: by his resurrection, he has given us everlasting life in all of its abundance; he has bequeathed to us the riches of an imperishable, undefiled and unfading inheritance; and, best of all, he has ushered us into fellowship with himself and the Father by the Spirit.
All of this – and much more besides – has been done for us by Jesus. We who once were dead and without hope are now, in Christ, alive with the all-conquering life of God. We are new creations, eagerly anticipating the full redemption of our bodies in the world of glory that the Lord Jesus has won for us by his death and resurrection.
There is nothing better than being a Christian – because there is no one better than Jesus Christ. And isn’t it staggering to think that he gave his all for a sinner like you? He must love you very, very much.
This past year has, for most of us, been very difficult. But Spring always follows Winter. I pray that you will know fresh hope, joy and life this Easter as we glory in the Lord who, for us and for our salvation, laid down his life and three days later took it up again.
With much love in our Saviour,