The message of the Bible is that Jesus gave His life as a sacrifice on the cross to pay for your sin, which would otherwise always have constituted an insurmountable barrier between you and God. Imagine knowing that there was a God of love, compassion and purity, but also knowing that you would never be able to know that God for yourself because you had no way to make good all the ways in which you had offended against Him, which stood as a barrier between you and Him. What a terrible situation to be in (actually, this is precisely what it means to be in hell: knowing there is a God of love, but excluded from His presence for all eternity).
When this realisation truly sinks in, that the dreadful fate I have just described could have been ours – but isn’t because Jesus gave His life to pay the penalty of our sin and make it possible for us to come right into God’s presence and dwell for ever in His light and glory and grace – that is when we move beyond a superficial understanding of the cross and our breath is taken away by the sheer magnitude of the mercy God has shown us.
And that’s before we’ve got as far as Jesus’ resurrection! For every human being, death is the end, it is that boundary beyond which lies the dread of the unknown. But by rising bodily from the dead, Jesus has crossed that boundary, He has transformed it into a gateway that no one who believes in Him need fear going through, because it leads
into a fuller experience of God’s presence than we will ever have known before.
And if all that was not enough, the apostle Paul states clearly that that “incomparably great power” by which God raised Jesus from the dead is available now “for us who believe” (Ephesians 1:19,20). So yes, I know in my head that God’s resurrection power is available for us who believe, but I want to learn everything God has to show me about living in the reality of that truth. If John Wooden is right that “it’s what you learn after you know it that counts”, then, I may know in my head the things I have set out in this article, but I want to learn every last thing God has to show me about the reality of experiencing those things.
One last thing to say: if you have read this article and you are not sure whether you have placed your faith in Jesus or not, please take this opportunity to make sure – it’s the most important thing you will ever do. If you would like to talk it through with me, I would be delighted to do so – just ring me on 020 8300 4712 – or come to one of the Easter services (or any 10am Sunday morning service) and I will be glad to chat with you or make an appointment to come and see you.