Have you ever had a big dream that you wanted to see fulfilled, but it never came to fruition? Did you feel crushed when you realized your dream was just a dream and not a reality? It is perfectly natural to feel that way. About 2,000 years ago there was a group of people who felt like their plans and dreams had been crushed! They were filled with shock, grief, and despair as they watched their idea of what the future would hold come tumbling down before their eyes. You see their hope and dream was dependent on one man that they watched be unjustly executed, and with his execution, their dreams came to a screeching halt, or did they?
The man they had been following was a man who was full of surprises. He taught them that to be great they needed to humbly serve. He taught them that God loved them, and that they were to love God. He taught that prayer was not about how many fancy words one used, but rather, it was about sincerity of heart. He taught them that children were to be loved, cherished, blessed, and protected. He taught them by example, what true compassion looked like, and he taught them to care about pleasing God over pleasing people. He knew that he was going to die…he taught them that too. It has been said that this man lived with a pre-determined death sentence. Would you want to live such a life? He loved people and served them and did only good, but he became hated by the religious leaders of his day because they were jealous of the following he had. They plotted and planned to arrest him and have him be accused falsely in mock trials. Their plan backfired, as the judge who had the final decision could find no fault in him, but the leaders who hated him so much got a mob so incited against him that they demanded his execution by Roman crucifixion. He was murdered on a cross. His body was buried in a tomb. His followers felt defeated and went into a time of mourning.
The third day after he was crucified and buried, was the shocking day that changed the world. On the third day he arose from the dead! This man I am telling you about is Jesus Christ. This is the good news of the gospel; that our Savior, Jesus Christ died for our sins on the cross and rose from the dead.
1 Corinthians 15:3-6 says, “…Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures, and that he appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve. Then he appeared to more than five hundred brothers at one time, most of whom are still alive…” The fact is that this shocking miracle changed the world forever. Christians have been hated and despised, persecuted and executed for their faith, but the church of the followers of Jesus Christ still grows. The Bible has been hated and despised, men have made it their mission to burn and destroy the Scriptures, but it remains the best-selling book in the world. Christ’s followers who felt so defeated on Saturday and Sunday morning were energized by the truth that their Savior was risen from the dead. They went on to spread the news of a loving Savior who died for the sins of the world and rose from the dead, even though it would cost most of them their lives. The message spread like wildfire, and Christ built his church.
I have chosen to believe in Jesus and to trust my life in his hands. My decision to believe in Jesus was the most pivotal event of my life. It changed me. Over time, it has shaped who I am and what I do.
On Easter Sunday we will be celebrating Jesus’s resurrection from the dead! When Jesus rose from the dead, he conquered death and has handed the victory to those who believe in him! 1 Corinthians 15:54-57 says, “Death is swallowed up in victory. O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting? The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.” This is truly something to celebrate! I want to encourage you to go to church to celebrate Jesus’s resurrection on Easter. If you don’t already go to a church, I hope that you will consider joining us for our celebration at Neath Church. Come for our free breakfast at 9:00 AM and join us for our celebration service at 10:30 AM. Come as you are, we just want to celebrate the shocking day that changed the world with you!