“An Easter Sermon”
Welcome to our new Blog! Easter is a time of new beginnings – here is an Easter message to remind us about the greatest re-creation of all, when Jesus Christ rose from the dead, defeating death for ever on that first Easter Day. Alleluia!
Alleluia! The risen Christ is the Light of the world which can never be extinguished. Not even death itself can contain him. From now on everything is different, and we live in a different world.
David Cameron recently commended Christians for living out their faith in practical ways, serving their communities in acts of genuine love for one’s neighbour. Yet this is not Christianity. Many of the people volunteering at foodbanks, charity shops, hospitals, care homes and credit unions are members of other faiths, even atheists. Christianity is not about good citizenship. Jesus didn’t die on that first Good Friday and rise in the glory of that first Easter Day so that we could be nice to one another.
The message of the Cross is foolishness. The cross of Christ will always be an offence to the natural man. For nothing worldly can ever comprehend the mystery, the majesty of God’s love for us in Jesus. Paul writes to the Corinthians:
17 For Christ did not send me to baptize but to preach the gospel, and not with words of eloquent wisdom, lest the cross of Christ be emptied of its power.
1Cor. 1:18 For the word of the cross is folly to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. 19 For it is written,
“I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and the discernment of the discerning I will thwart.”
1Cor. 1:20 Where is the one who is wise? Where is the scribe? Where is the debater of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world?
It has been said that a crossless Christ would mean no more than a Christless cross. Martin Luther wrote that there is not a word in the Bible, which is ‘extra crucem’, which can be understood without reference to the cross. We have to have the cross of Good Friday before there can be any Easter message. Indeed, Easter day is a shout of triumph to the Cross that It Is Accomplished. Death has no more dominion over us.
We are joyful on Easter Day because Jesus rose again. Now not only did Jesus take our sins and die our death on the cross, God raised him from the dead to open the way for all believers to enter God’s eternal kingdom. It’s a double death – death to our sin and death to our old selves – the wages of our sin was death but those wages have now been paid, and we are made righteous by the blood Jesus shed on the cross. By his glorious resurrection Jesus now brings life out of death and invites us to share it.
I love this recent quote from Pastor Peter Larson:
‘Despite our efforts to keep him out, God intrudes. The life of Jesus is bracketed by two impossibilities: “a virgin’s womb and an empty tomb”. Jesus entered our world through a door marked, “No Entrance” and left through a door marked “No Exit”.’
It chimes well with a classic quote from A W Tozer:
The account of the life of Jesus Christ is the only biography known to man that does not end with death and burial — the only record of human life that joyfully hastens on to the next chapter after the last!
or from CS Lewis:
Jesus has forced open a door that had been locked since the death of the first man. He has met, fought and beaten the King of Death. Everything is different because he has done so.
And so we proclaim with Peter, in a heart full of joy, now that the night has passed and the day has come, that Jesus is alive and that we have life in him, that death is no more and that everyone who believes in Jesus Christ receives forgiveness of sins through his name.
Today is the beginning of God’s re-creation. Alleluia! Alleluia!
Revd S. D. T. Froggatt