This Easter has been very inspiring for me. It brings optimism, new beginnings, community, love, friendship and creativity.
I know this seems anachronistic in this commercialised era we live in, but the fact is spiritually and materially, Easter means new life. It should be obvious since, resurrection means defeating death. Christ’s resurrection means victory over illness, depression, poverty, injustice. All these things were defeated on the day Christ rose from the dead.
Of course, it’s not so obvious since we live in a cynical world, where material wealth, instant gratification, clamouring for power and mass recognition drives our existence. Aging, death and suffering are things we shy away from and blame God for. We live an angry existence when we realise we cannot defeat these things by ourselves. Like a spoilt child throwing a tantrum, our need to grasp what we think we deserve, blinds us to what is already available.
Before, during and after his ministry, Christ talked constantly about suffering, death and our grasping nature. ‘Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal,’ he said in the Gospels. ‘And which one of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life?’ he goes on to say.
God, understanding that we need to overcome all these challenges, became flesh, came to live on earth, for the sole purpose of defeating death. This can only have been done and was only done by Jesus. No other person, deity or entity can lay claim to dying for his people. It was predicted in by the prophets, Isaiah, Malachi and Zachariah, to mention but a few and was fulfilled in the Easter story.
But we fail to recognise it! Despite overwhelming evidence, we reject the ways of God and then rage at him when our way doesn’t work!
‘Why do people suffer?’ we ask. ‘Why are innocent babies born with devastating diseases?’ ‘Why do some people want to oppress other people because of their race, religion or the choices they make? Why are there so many wars and rumours of wars, why is there so much injustice if there is a God? What power does the resurrection of Christ have if all this going on in the world?
The question should be why isn’t there more injustice in the world ? As things stand, despite all the disturbing headlines, there are still many people who inspire us, with their determination to be the change they want to see. Marie Colvin of the Sunday Times, ‘embodied the highest values of journalism throughout her long and distinguished career as a foreign correspondent...’ according to William Hague, the foreign secretary. Her Editor, John Witherow, described her as, ‘an extraordinary figure in the life of The Sunday Times, driven by a passion to cover wars in the belief that what she did mattered. She believed profoundly that reporting could curtail the excesses of brutal regimes and make the international community take notice.‘
Governments, individuals, organisations, public and private, all of whom fight with all their might against injustice, they raise money, raise awareness and raise dead consciences to galvanise people into action to change the world.
It was said of Christ in Isaiah, ‘The Spirit of God, the Master, is on me because God anointed me. He sent me to preach good news to the poor, heal the heartbroken, announce freedom to all captives, pardon all prisoners. God sent me to announce the year of his grace — a celebration of God’s destruction of our enemies — and to comfort all who mourn,..’ He confirmed this prophesy in Luke 4:18, when he read it in the synagogue announcing his purpose.
We all have the opportunity to do what Jesus did and is still doing through believers today because of his resurrection. He said, ‘A thief is only there to steal and kill and destroy. I came so they can have real and eternal life, more and better life than they ever dreamed of.’
The only chance of eternal life, and a better life than we ever dreamed of, is through Jesus Christ and the power of his resurrection.