Sunday, April 23, 2006
Wednesday, April 12, 2006
As Christians, of course we know that Easter is not about the Bunny Rabbit and Easter Eggs. In fact it has the same significance as Christmas, and probably even more divine because there is simply no commercial aspect about it. And non-christians cannot hijack it or make it a political and cultural issue either. Easter is about us Christians, about Jesus, no more no less.
And now for our Easter blog....... I often wondered what I would say when someone - a non Christian or even another Christian, would ask me what's the big deal about Christianity and this Jesus stuff, and why not just go direct to God. Here's my reply, straight from the heart:
Instead of answering this, the bigger question is DO YOU EVEN BELIEVE IN GOD? Do you really believe that He created the universe, that He created you and everything you see. If you cannot get past this question, I think life would be just one big coincidence and meaningless at best. I get reminded of this everytime I hear someone say “life sucks”
I say this because the next step to ask is why did God create us? What on earth are we here for? Because you see, you don’t just create something, you have to have a reason to create. Therefore the “reason” precedes the “creation” part and not the other way around.
Here’s an analogy that is easy to understand. Why did your parents start your family? Here’s why - your Mom and Dad fell in love with each other, they wanted to take this relationship to a higher level so they got married. Then they wanted to take their relationship to yet another higher level and so they started a family that they can love with all their hearts. The family is simply the ultimate expression of their love. I know personally that when we were born, my Mom and Dad did not say "well, now that we have these 5 children we have to figure out what we're going to do with them or determine what we created them for. It's an absurd thought!
Magnify that analogy thousands of times and even much more than you can imagine, and this is the same reason why God created us. He created us to love us and and for that reason alone he would do anything for us, pretty much like our parents but much more, even beyond this life, in eternity.
But here’s what happened between the time of creation and more than two thousand years ago. God’s children (us) had become so sinful to deserve death or complete separation from the very creator who loves us more than anyone.
Again it’s like your own family if your kids grew up and and transformed into some type of a bad apple that they would hate you so much and would even threaten to kill you. Then what would you do? Well, you probably would distance yourself away from them but would you ask the authorities to kill them? Of course not! On the other hand, your desire as a parent is for your children to love you again like old times.
God is like that too. He looked at his sinful children but also did not consider wiping them out the face of the earth even though it was very much an option. Why, because these are His children and He loves them so much despite their grave shortcomings.
But here’s what makes him an AWESOME GOD, different from the gods of Judaism, Islam, and Hinduism. By all accounts, we were already in the final hour awaiting execution. By God's law, according to the old testament, the High Priest would have had to present a sacrificial lamb as an offering to try to atone for the sins of mankind and if that fails, that would probably be the end. Remember the story of Noah and the great flood and the fiery destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah?
But our God, in the flesh, Jesus, completely innocent and without any sin, chose to die in our place. He was the sacrificial lamb. Because of his love for us, he took the punishment we deserved, - that is the ultimate sacrifice. During this holy week that we call Lent and Easter, he was humiliated, tortured, crucified, and died a horrific death to fulfill this promise of salvation.
So this Easter, if you wonder how much Jesus loves us, remember that he died for our sins because he loves us so much but we did not love him enough in return. Never forget the crucifixion, or the symbol of the cross and realizing that we were supposed to have been the one nailed to those pieces of wood.
“For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone that believes in him will not perish but have eternal life” - John 3:16
A Pastor in a Christian Radio broadcast summed up it up wonderfully about Easter - "He came to my place to take my place, so that I can go to His place"
This is why I chose to be a Christian.