Saturday, March 26, 2016

A Brief Story That Could Change Your Life

Here's the story: a political situation is such that the ruling government allows an innocent man to be condemned to death to appease a group known for its revolts. The man is savagely beaten, forced to march publicly to the place of his execution (while carrying the method of execution on his back), faces mockery and derision from those who hate him; his friends, save his own mother and one other, have utterly abandoned him; he endures several hours of torture before finally dying (likely) of suffocation, then has his side run through with a spear, just in case. He is taken from that place and buried, an innocent man coming to a horrible, tragic end.

So why would any of that be good? How weird is it to mark such a day as "Good Friday"? Because that man came to Earth with a message from his Father, who is God. The Son of God lived the perfect life we could not live, and chose to pay the penalty for the things we have done wrong, so that we might avoid the ultimate penalty for doing wrong against God.

If the story ended with the payment for sins and the man buried and gone, there would be a strong sense of defeat. How could the Son of God be defeated like that? There would be no hope after all. And yet, this man did not stay dead. On the third day, God acted in history, bringing this man back to life. But he was not merely resuscitated. You see, he was *resurrected*, and this meant he had the kind of body that transcends mere physical death, and is the kind of body we are meant to have in the end. Thus, his resurrection is the down payment for the hope that we have. Who is this man? His name is Jesus of Nazareth, and God's raising him from the dead vindicated his claims.

How do you get this hope? Well, accepting these facts is a start, but it won't do it. Even wanting to be saved won't do it (some think God just won't forgive them for what they've done). You must place your trust in what this man has done. You must "bet it all" on Jesus. Not a prayer that you said. Not the good things you do. The kind of man Jesus is and the kind of death he died (the sacrifice he made) are not the kinds of things you can make up for with your annual donations, for example. What are you trusting in for forgiveness? Think about what you would say if God said you weren't making it to Heaven. What would be your defense?

Start following Christ today. Have any questions? Just ask me. I, like you, am just one of those people for whom Jesus died.