For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received, that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures…
– 1 Corinthians 15:3-4
This month, the Church around the world will gather to remember and celebrate the death and resurrection of the Messiah once more. These events, and what God has accomplished through them, are at the heart of what we call the gospel – literally, the “good news.” And it is this good news that sets the Christian faith apart from all other systems of belief on earth.
First of all, the message of the Christian faith is news – that is, it is not primarily a philosophy or an invitation to have an experience of enlightenment, but rather it is a report of events that happened in actual history. Just under 2000 years ago, there really was a man named Jesus of Nazareth walking around Israel, and He really did teach and heal and call disciples to follow Him. And he really did die and rise again. Virtually all of the writers of the New Testament Gospels and Epistles were themselves first-hand eye witnesses of these facts (with the possible exception of Luke, who seems to have compiled his data from other key eye witnesses). From their Spirit-inspired writings, we quickly see that they are compelled not to propose theories on who God might be and how He might interact with us, but to report news about how God has acted definitively in history through the Messiah’s verifiable death and resurrection.
And secondly, the news upon which the Christian faith is based is good! In Jesus, God demonstrates His love for the world and His determination to bring restoration and life to a dying creation and to dying people. The death of Jesus is the ultimate demonstration of that love of God, and the resurrection of Jesus is the ultimate demonstration of that determination of God to destroy the power of evil and death and to make all things good and new again.
May God bless you and your families as you remember and celebrate the forgiveness and life that are yours because of this good news!
Christ’s peace and joy,