Some of my friends view the Easter holiday a fairy tale. Others regard the whole thing as wishful thinking. But in Scripture, the resurrection of Jesus from the dead is the indisputable proof that the message about Jesus is true. All four gospels highlight it, focusing on the empty tomb and the post-resurrection appearances.
In light of this, it is good to remember that the gospel is both a message and a person. Christians believe and teach the facts of the gospel message. But there's more. Christians also encounter, know and follow a living Person. It is this personal relationship with Jesus which ultimately makes the Christian life dynamic. This is the gospel connection to Easter. The resurrection shows both the message of Jesus and the person of Jesus.
Basics of the Gospel
When writing the church in Corinth, Paul emphasized both the basic gospel message and individual encounters with Jesus – including his own. Here is his testimony:
For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures, and that he appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve. Then he appeared to more than five hundred brothers at one time, most of whom are still alive, though some have fallen asleep. Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles. Last of all, as to one untimely born, he appeared also to me. I Corinthians 15:3-8
The late Ray Stedman told the story about a man who had been an alcoholic for many years before he became a follower of Jesus. One day a cynical friend asked him, "Now that you are a follower of Jesus, surely you don't believe all those miracles in the Bible, do you?" "Yes I do," he answered. After a moment of silence the skeptical friend said, "Do you really believe that Jesus changed water into wine?" "I sure do," the new believer said. "But how can you believe such nonsense?" "I’ll tell you how – in our house Jesus changed beer into furniture!"
Goal of the Gospel
Encountering and experiencing a personal relationship with the risen Christ is the Easter miracle God wants for every person on earth. Generally, here is how it happens: When an unbelieving person hears the truth of Jesus' life, death, burial and resurrection (the gospel message), the Spirit of God stirs his heart and he begins to feel his need for Jesus. Like many before him, he realizes that grace of God has done for him what he could not do for himself. His heart opens up to the Lord and perhaps for the first time he cooperates with the grace of God. Through this process, something miraculous happens. A plain, ordinary person finds forgiveness and acceptance from a Living Person – Jesus Himself.
This Easter season don't be surprised if someone you know reveals how badly they are looking for answers about life and God. Be ready to tell that person about the hope you have found in the gospel of Jesus Christ. Furthermore, don't be afraid to share with them stories about your own personal relationship with Jesus. People enjoy listening to sincere testimonies about how others came to faith. For some, the difference Jesus has made in your life is the proof they are looking for. Tell them how you know for certain that He is risen indeed!
Author:Paul Schlieker www.bible-study-lesson-plans.com
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