The most recent holiday of Easter is a few days behind us now. All the left overs from the Sunday brunch is gone, along with the all of the hard boiled eggs that were found by children in the neighborhood easter egg hunt. Chocolate bunnies and jellybeans were eaten by children of all ages everywhere. I hope the spirit and meaning of Easter did not pass just as quickly, and that is the purpose of this blog.
A world changing even took place in just outside of Jerusalem over 2015 years ago. The biblical overview and the detailed accounts of Easter is by far the most fascinating story ever told to mankind. It is a story of reconciliation between guilt and punishment, mercy and grace, and the redeeming power of God that brings hope to every human on the planet who will freely receive it.
There are current events going on right now in our country that highlights the contrast between redeeming love and power of God and the futile judgement of man based on our own emotions and attitudes about justice.
The Boston Marathon bombing trial is complete and the jury is now considering the punishment to be handed down, either life in prison or execution. I have read and heard countless commentaries from various news organizations and talk radio shows debating the fate of the bomber. Overwhelming majority, especially in the New England area feel he should be put to death.
It is not my intent to debate the sentence or justification for or against it. I just want to show the contrast of mercy and justice as we know it, and mercy and justice as God knows it. I realize that not everyone will share or agree with my opinion, I only ask that you listen with an open mind.
I have heard a lot of people call into these shows asking for the death of the Boston bomber, and some of it is most certainly emotionally based, because some people have difficult removing their emotions from the situation. That is part of our human nature, as we are emotional beings.
Consider this point: As humans we are only capable of killing a body, we can do no more, and we esteem that as the highest degree of punishment that can be given. I for one do believe that justice should be rendered, I for one just do not believe that we as humans are qualified to render that justice or judgement in taking a life.
I heard a few christians call in on these radio shows, citing “Eye for an eye, tooth for a tooth” and “Live by the sword, die by the sword”, as a means to justify the death penalty. I find it very interesting that as New Testament christians that those verses were the only sources cited regarding justice in this case.
What is it that drives our emotional based rational for harsh punishment such as the death penalty? Could it be because we judge according to our own standards and not God’s? Do we not measure man against man? Are not the standards of God nothing short of Holiness? How do we measure up to those standards?
There are countless times in the Bible where Jesus cites mercy, grace and truth, as opposed to vengeance, wrath and judgement. I find this to be interesting because he was the only one qualified to administer judgement, wrath and vengeance. And yet on many occasions he chose to demonstrate unfathomable grace love and mercy. The climatic drama of Easter is the exact expression of that love. Love and grace and mercy for you and I who are and will always be, underserving.
I like the part of Easter that ends with endless and eternal hope for even the worst among us. Like it or not that is the exact reason that Jesus Christ came here to this earth. To redeem and yes save those who we would be quick to destroy. He proved that he has saving power to redeem anybody who puts their trust in him, repents and believes he is who he says he is, and can do what he says he can do.
The climatic event of that first Easter, puts all of our lives and our eternal destiny in the balance based on what took place. The facts are in that Jesus Christ died, was buried and did the impossible on the third day. He rose from the grave under his own power!
You and I are now faced with the decision of what his resurrection means. He staked his entire existence and mission on the one event that would prove he was exactly who he said he was, The Son of God. If he did not come out of the grave, then he was just a mortal man like the billions who came before him and the billions who would be born after him. And you and I would be the most miserable of all people because we would be believing in someone who could not do for himself what he promised he will do for us, raise us from the dead.
It had never been done before, that a person could die and then at will and by their own command come back to life again. Yet this Jesus said he could, and told people, that he would, before it happened. He made the boldest claim one could ever make, by saying that he was the Son of God, and the proof would be reserved for the last and biggest miracle he had ever performed. As a matter of fact he was so confident, it was as if he had done this hundreds of times before.
One thing about history that I know, my belief or lack of belief of historical events do not change the event. My belief may change but the event is forever etched in the pages of eternity. Jesus Christ rose from death back to life and is now presently alive forevermore.
Because he did the impossible, you and I can now live with hope of endless possibilities. There is hope for all of us, from the worst who walk among us, even their life is redeemable. Because the judge of the universe made it so, by saying “who so ever will call upon the name of the Lord, shall be saved.”