The following was published by The Gisborne Herald on Saturday 23 April 2011:
“If Christ is not risen, our faith is in vain.” (1 Corinthians 15:14)
The story of Easter is well-known to us: Jesus was crucified, died, and was buried. On the third day, God raised him from the dead. What may not be so well-known is what the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ means for us today.
Of all the incredible things within the story of Christ — the service and ministry to the poor and needy; the challenge to the privileged and the corrupt; the preaching of salvation; the miracles of healing and forgiveness of sin — it is the end of the story that holds the most powerful message for us.
You see, Christ was not merely crucified. If that was the end of the story, then all we would have is a message of suffering and pain. Christ did not merely die. If that was the end of the story, then all we would have is a message of darkness and lost hope. The story of Easter ends with an act of ultimate power – God raised Jesus up from the dead, and restored him to eternal life.
The message for us is clear: Even in the darkest hour, God is able to resurrect. God is able to renew. God is able to bring new life.
At the point when we feel that our dreams have faded, when we feel that we will forever be trapped by our own mistakes, God offers us forgiveness and hope.
Our God is a God of second chances. Even while we still walk this earth, we can live a resurrected life. We can turn things around, and start again.
The message of Easter is hope. The message of Easter is life. May you, your loved ones, and the ones God surrounds you with, be renewed in the hope that Christ gives us. May you live a resurrected life.