Summary: It is a wonderful blessing to be on this side of Easter. You see, if we have accepted Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior through the prayer of faith, we live in grace. Our sins have been forgiven and even when we stumble and commit additional sins, we do
Hallelujah! Christ is risen! This is the Christian anthem at Easter. Why? Because the bodily resurrection of Jesus Christ is central to our faith.
How many of you came here today expecting to hear a sermon about Easter?
Well, you won’t be disappointed!
As you do your Bible reading next week, you will read about the betrayal of Jesus in the garden of Gethsemane when Judas betrayed Jesus with a kiss. Judas led a mob to where Jesus was praying in order to arrest Him.
In Luke 22:49-50 we read:
When Jesus’ followers saw what was going to happen, they said, "Lord, should we strike with our swords?" And one of them struck the servant of the high priest, cutting off his right ear.
You ever pray like that? Someone does you wrong and you pray, “God should I let this person have it ? – You know they deserve it!” and before you get an answer you’re jumping all over their case.
51 “But Jesus answered, "No more of this!" And he touched the man’s ear and healed him.”
Jesus was not going to use political means to usher in His kingdom. He would not inflict violence on others to achieve His goals.
He could have called down fire from Heaven, He could have commanded His angels to attack. He could have just spoken the word and all his opponents would have fallen dead – but that was not His plan.
A mere political victory would not have achieved what Jesus came to accomplish.
What is it Jesus wanted to accomplish?
Imagine a time line where Easter is the central point in history. There is a time before Easter and then there is the other side of Easter, the time period we are in right now.
Human beings have a basic fundamental problem that started with Adam. This problem is so severe that it prevents people from enjoying a loving, healthy and vibrant relationship with God.
What is this problem? SIN! Sin is the barrier that separates us from God. Since God is a pure and holy God, He cannot dwell with evil, wicked and wretched sinners. We have to get cleaned up and be made presentable before we are ushered into the presence of ALMIGHTY GOD!
Now let me tell you about a guy with a huge sin problem. No, he wasn’t on drugs, no, he wasn’t a hardened criminal, he wasn’t even a tax evader – he was just a person in denial. His name – Peter.
Jesus was arrested and Peter followed the mob back to the Chief Priest’s house where he warmed himself by the camp-fire in the courtyard.
First he is recognized by a servant girl as being “one of them” and he denied it.
Then he was recognized by someone else as being “one of them” and he denied it for the second time.
Then he was recognized yet again by someone else as being “one of them” and he denied it the third time.
It was at this point that Jesus looked straight at Peter and Peter remembered what Jesus said to him, “Before the rooster crows today, you will deny me three times.”
The Bible tells us that after this, Peter went out and wept bitterly.
There are many of us here today who, like Peter, have disowned Jesus many times.
Some of us disowned Him a lot more than three times before we finally made a total, 100% commitment to Him.
Some of you here are still in denial about Jesus.
Listen, today Jesus is looking straight at you. (pause)
He’s looking through your eyes and into your heart!
Will you deny Him again? Or will you make a decision to become His disciple, to become sold out to Jesus?
Before Easter people would bring an animal without spot or blemish to be sacrificed as a sin offering. They would lay their hands on the animal, confessing their sins. The priest then killed the animal and sprinkled the blood on the alter. In this way, the sins of the person were symbolically transferred to the sacrificial animal, and the person was, temporarily, pardoned from sin.
The problem with this sacrificial system was that it was only temporary. The next time someone sinned, they had to go through the process all over again. The important lesson to be learned from this is that there is a price to be paid for sin.
Then came Jesus, the Lamb of God, who offered Himself as the perfect sacrifice, once and for all. Jesus was the only human being ever born who was without sin. When Jesus died on the cross and shed his blood, it was for a divine purpose, and that divine purpose was to provide us - YOU and ME - forgiveness for our sins. No longer must we offer a sin offering, because Jesus Christ paid the price - Jesus died in my place, Jesus died in your place.