When the greatest event of history is about to be celebrated this weekend, it seems remarkable that so much else is dominating news headlines. Cricket’s ball tampering scandal unfolding in South Africa is one such example. It offers an intriguing contrast to the Easter story. At a time when role models are placed on pedestals from which they too easily fall, Jesus remains the timeless hero of history.
1. His integrity is unparalleled
The former Australian captain’s sins included engaging in deceptive behaviour. On the other hand, Jesus went to the Cross a sinless sacrifice for us and “no deceit was found in his mouth” (1 Peter 2:22).
2. His story is unrivalled
The cricketing saga offers intense media scrutiny but, despite not being easily forgotten, it will be overshadowed by the next big story. The Easter event itself is often forgotten and altogether unscrutinised, but it overshadows history. Jesus is its big story, the hinge of history (Luke 24:27).
3. His sacrifice is unequalled
The price of justice for cricketing cheats is hotly debated. That meted out is insufficient for some, because of the potential impact of the actions upon others. The injustice of Jesus’ death was a sufficient price for the eternal salvation of anyone who would surrender their lives to Him. It was the price paid “once for all” (Hebrews 10:10).
This Easter, amidst the chocolate, the long weekend holidaying and time with family and friends, it remains a great privilege to celebrate the Cross and Resurrection with like-minded fellow-believers. We enjoy the freedom to worship in a great nation built upon the foundations of a faith grounded in the belief that Jesus who was dead is now alive.
Unlike any other religious leader or teacher, Jesus actually rose from the grave and without this truth our faith is futile (1 Corinthians 15:14). Jesus broke the power of eternal death because He took the penalty for our sin upon Himself. He who never sinned became the offering for our sin that we could be made right with God (2 Corinthians 5:21).
Being God, Jesus committed no sin of His own and, whilst also being fully human, He could qualify to be our substitute. Hebrews 4:15 says He was tempted in every way that we are and yet was without sin. This passage goes on to remind us that we can therefore enjoy relationship with God because of it and are able to come boldly to the throne of God, to receive his mercy, and to find grace to help us when we need it most.
To those for whom Jesus is merely a crutch, He’s not a bad crutch to have when the Bible reiterates that we are crippled with the inability to secure our own salvation. My own faith was secured at sixteen, as I surrendered to Christ upon realising that ‘Jesus plus nothing’ was the key to eternal life. He still remains my hero, my king and my rock.
Has He transcended history for you? Is He more than just a chapter in your own life’s story? Does He mean more to you again this Easter than anything else?
This weekend, may you have a happy, grace-filled Easter enjoying the worship of a God who loves us still and who seeks to draw us again into an intimate relationship and daily encounter with Him.