This week Christians around the world will remember the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Jesus was rejected by his own people and executed by the Romans. Crucifixion was used by the Romans to inflict maximum pain and humiliation on those who had broken their laws. When Jesus died his disciples were devastated. They could not understand why someone who possessed such great power had seemingly been defeated. Jesus had brought great blessing to thousands of people yet now he had been rejected. So why is it that today millions of people from many nations believe in and follow Jesus? It is because through trusting in Jesus they have experienced forgiveness and found hope.
The death of Jesus secured the forgiveness we all need. Jesus did not deserve to die. He had lived a perfect life and had committed no sin. One of the criminals who was crucified on the same day said, “We are being punished justly, for we are getting what our sins deserve. But this man has done nothing wrong.” Then he said, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.” Jesus answered him, “I tell you the truth, today you will be with me in paradise.”
Since that day countless people have made the same request to Jesus. Most have been ordinary people who have realised their need to find peace with God and have found Jesus to be the Saviour they need. The cross of Jesus shows the seriousness of our sins. They cannot be overlooked. His death was the supreme act of love when he died in our place and suffered the punishment our sins deserve so that we might be forgiven. A well known hymn says, “There was no other good enough to pay the price of sin, he only could unlock the gate of heaven and let us in.”
The resurrection of Jesus enables us to face death with confidence and hope. When the apostles preached the good news about Jesus they experienced great opposition and some were executed. Because they knew that Jesus had been raised from the dead they were not afraid of dying. The last night Jesus was with his disciples he had given them a wonderful promise, “Because I live, you also will live.” So Easter is a time of great joy for all who know and love Jesus. He died in our place so that we might be forgiven and he rose again so that we might go to heaven.