What’s it all about?
What would you say the Christian message is really all about? Love for others? A search for meaning in life? Trying to please God? Ask a hundred people in Britain today and you’d probably get a hundred different answers.
But if you had asked the first Christians nearly 2,000 years ago you would have received a clear and consistent answer. They would tell you that Jesus of Nazareth, a completely innocent man, was put to death on a cross. And they would tell you why this happened. God himself had sent Jesus, his beloved Son, to die this death. In Jesus’ own words, he came ‘to give his life as a ransom for many’ (Mark ch. 10 v. 45). He died to pay the penalty for our sins.
Is it really true?
But lots of people make extravagant claims for themselves. Why should you believe the claims Jesus made? Because he proved them.
Jesus lived such a good life that no-one, not even his enemies, could accuse him of sin. He publicly worked miracles that no-one, not even his enemies, could deny. But more than that; he claimed that he would rise from the dead. And on the third day after his violent death, he did.
The good news of the resurrection
The four Gospels, written by eye-witnesses and men who’d carefully researched these events, all confirm that Jesus rose from the dead. The angel who met a group of grieving women at Jesus’ tomb said, ‘He is not here; he has risen, just as he said’ (Matthew ch. 28 v. 6). Soon the news reached the rest of Jesus’ disciples. At first many of them struggled to believe it, but Jesus himself came to them. He reminded them that he had foretold all this, and he pointed them to the Old Testament scriptures that also spoke of the resurrection of the Christ.
Jesus’ resurrection was an essential part of the message preached by the first Christians. And it still is today. The resurrection is good news, for by it God proved that Jesus is who he claims to be – the Son of God. And by it God showed that he had accepted Jesus’ death as payment for sin. If you will confess your sins to God, turn from them, and trust in the Lord Jesus Christ, you will receive forgiveness and begin a new life with Christ. This truly is good news.