Jesus' sacrifice gives us life
Ralph was a heartbroken man who lived in poverty and filth. He felt like a failure in every way. Relationships seem shallow and insignificant. He knew something had to better than this, but what? He wanted change, but how do you change? Life was such a disappointment. “Don’t worry, be happy” didn’t mean anything or satisfy the longing of his heart. What hope is there in life? There was no hope as he looked out the window of his life.
Yet, Ralph lived in a beautiful three-bedroom home, was married to a compassionate and loving wife. He drove a new Cadillac Escalade. He was a successful CEO of a very profitable company. On the outside everything looked great, but inside he was sinking into complete hopelessness.
Sin destroys. Sin gives poverty and filth of heart. Sin is failure to be and do what God expects. Sin destroys.
One day as Easter was approaching, Ralph found a Bible in the local coffee shop. There was a bookmark at Matthew 21, so he started reading the story of Christ coming into Jerusalem with crowds cheering him as a king, cheering him as if he was more than a king. As he kept reading, he was amazed that in just a week the crowd turned from cheering Jesus to calling for his death. What happened that one day they loved him, the next day they hate him?
Continuing, Ralph read of Jesus’ trial, if you could call it that, but there was no evidence of him doing anything wrong. Then they executed Jesus on a cross. Ralph wondered, if Jesus is a king, if he is the Son of God, which he claimed, why would he let them beat him, leading to his execution?
Ralph got another cup of coffee and read on. He read, Jesus died and one of his friends buried him. Ralph wondered if this was the end of the story. He could see the newspaper headlines, “Man Claiming to be God is Dead,” but he kept reading because there were a lot more pages in the Bible, so something had to happen after his death.
To Ralph’s amazement he read that three days later this dead man came back to life. It wasn’t just one person who saw him alive, it was many. It wasn’t a ghost, because he ate fish with them, he talked with them, he even let them touch him. Jesus was alive.
Ralph wondered if this Jesus could do anything for his life. Could this Jesus help his life that was being destroyed by sin? As he read in the Bible, he understood that Jesus willingly came to earth, being obedient to God the Father and out of love for his father and humanity died on the cross to pay the price that God demanded as the consequence of sin.
Easter took on a new meaning for Ralph. Easter was not about bunny rabbits and Easter eggs but about giving purpose to life. Ralph’s life changed as he understood that Jesus sacrificed his life to give life to Ralph and all who believe.
Jesus is alive and extends true life to all who believe. Do you believe?