On this Easter weekend, if you take a few minutes and read over any local or national news, you will find disturbing stories. Like officials in a well-known college basketball program using prostitutes and strippers to recruit top players. Like some merciless girls and boys that taunted a young man, which lead to his suicide. Like a teenager walking into a school and drawing his weapon to slaughter 17 people.
The problem in each of these stories was a moral one. Wrong was right and right was wrong. And collectively, they reflect a moral crisis in our nation. This is why we need Easter. It projects a sign of hope that stands above the chaos. The sign of the cross. It is where Jesus, the Son of God, suffered and died.
The hope of the cross lay in the purpose of Jesus’ death. Strangely as it may sound, it was planned.
At Jesus’ birth an angel announced to Shepherds in a field, “For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior who is Christ the Lord” (Luke 2:11). A Savior? Yes! Save means “to rescue”. Rescue from what? Sin. It is the wrong things we do against ourselves, others, but primarily against God our Creator. And it lives within our hearts. Sin is displayed at every lie we tell or feeling of pride that squares our shoulders. It is our inner moral rot, like a cancer that slowly destroys us.
Jesus was born to rescue us from this. His planned suffering and death, was the only means through which we could be rescued, and it was an ugly experience. The corruption by religious and political figures that sentenced Jesus to death was ugly. The tearing apart of Jesus’ flesh was bloody and ugly. Jesus being hung on two pieces of wood by being nailed to it through his hands and feet, was inhumane and ugly. The gruesomeness of the cross, illustrates the severity of our wrongs. In the courtroom of God, our failings required the penalty of spiritual and eternal death. However, in the greatest display of sacrificial love, Jesus suffered and died in our place. He took our sin and penalty upon Himself, so we wouldn’t have to.
That is the hope of Easter. Through the cross, a hard-hearted man can become loving and forgiving. Through the cross, a bitter woman can become kind and compassionate. Through the cross, a divided nation can become one.
And what guarantees these things? The resurrection of Jesus. Three days after He died, He rose again. Therefore, because He lives, so-can-YOU. His victory can be yours.
A prayer for you to pray – God in heaven, I can see the darkness of my heart. I do not have it all together. I am broken. I need the work of the cross in my life. Oh God, save me! Rescue me! Give me a new heart and a new life today. In Jesus’ name. Amen.
Clint Decker is President & Evangelist with Great Awakenings, Inc. Hope for Today is a syndicated column that appears online and in newspapers from North Dakota to Texas. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org or call toll free at 877-433-3220.