Easter celebrates God’s greatest gift, Jesus, and the freedom promised to His followers. As a result, Resurrection Sunday is the day that prompts Christians to attend church in greater numbers than any other time of the year. But what causes people to trust something they cannot see, feel, or touch? The answer is complicated, yet somehow simple.
According to Christian doctrine, Jesus Christ rose from the dead. He did this on the third day after being crucified at Calvary. Moreover, His death was to give people freedom from sin. How many times have you heard that explanation and not understood the radical result of Christ’s resurrection?
Jesus conquering the grave gave humanity the freedom to choose to follow Him or not. This choice applies to every aspect of human life. Romans 10:9-10 explains that His resurrection gives eternal life to everyone who believes in Him.
If you openly declare that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. For believing in your heart that you are made right with God, and it is by openly declaring your faith that you are saved. (NLT)
Christ’s life, death, and resurrection ushered in the gift of reconciliation with God for Jews and Gentiles alike. But why is reconciling needed?
What Is Reconciliation With God?
When people accept God’s gracious gift, they accept Jesus as their personal Lord and Savior, and their past sins are forgiven. This is reconciliation. According to Rev. Jim Rennie, by believing that Jesus died to wash away sin, God declared believers righteous, as if they had never sinned.
Asking Jesus to be your Lord is freedom. As Lord, Jesus guides followers to make wise decisions and how to act on them.
The Good News is that God gives people the freedom to act on instinct rather than follow His plan for their lives. Moreover, once a person invites Jesus into their lives, the relationship does not end.
Jesus does not “cancel” a believer when they ignore Him. Instead, He pursues them so they may again be aligned with God’s will for humanity.
Lordship and Freedom
During Jesus of Nazareth’s ministry, He often used parables (stories) to explain an idea or concept. For example, in one, Jesus talks about each person’s value to God in the Parable of the Lost Sheep, found in Luke 15:4-7 (NIV). Jesus, the Good Shepherd, said:
“Suppose one of you has a hundred sheep and loses one of them. Doesn’t he leave the ninety-nine in the open country and go after the lost sheep until he finds it? And when he finds it, he joyfully puts it on his shoulders and goes home. Then he calls his friends and neighbors together and says, ‘Rejoice with me; I have found my lost sheep.’ I tell you that in the same way, there will be more rejoicing in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who do not need to repent.”
Jesus is often called Great Shepherd because He usually refers to calls followers as His sheep. He watches over believers and helps them throughout their lives. Before His crucifixion, the Son of God promised followers they would not be alone.
In John 14:15-17 (NIV), Christ tells His disciples: “If you love me, keep my commands. And I will ask the Father, and He will give you another advocate to help you and be with you forever — the Spirit of Truth. The world cannot accept Him because it neither sees Him nor knows Him. But you know Him, for He lives with you and will be in you.” The advocate Jesus promises is the Holy Spirit.
Great Prayer of Salvation and Freedom From Sin
Following Jesus offers a community of everyday people doing their best to be like Him. Like the Angels in Heaven, they rejoice when someone opens their heart to the Glory of God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit.
You might pray the Campus Crusade for Christ Salvation Prayer: “Lord Jesus, I need You. Thank You for dying on the cross for my sins. I open the door of my life and receive You as my Savior and Lord. Thank You for forgiving my sins and giving me eternal life. Take control of the throne of my life. Make me the kind of person You want me to be.”
Call a local church and speak with a pastor if you have questions or if you prayed for salvation and freedom from sin. Another option is calling an organization’s hotline or leaving a message on its website. Here is the link for a fairly complete Christian hotline list.
Written by Cathy Milne-Ware
Bible Gateway: Reference site for Books and Verses of the Bible in multiple versions
World Challenge: The Radical Results of the Resurrection
Bethel Campus Fellowship: Reconciling With God
Just Disciple: 10 Christian Prayer Hotline Numbers You Can Use; by Shyann Swearingen
Ministry-To-Children.com: Sinner’s Prayers (5 simple examples) for Kids; by Tony Kummer
Featured and Top Image by Travis Courtesy of Flickr – Creative Commons License
First Inset Image by Pisit Heng Courtesy of Unsplash
Second Inset Image by Fr. Lawrence Lew, O.P. Courtesy of Flickr – Creative Commons License