Welcome to Easter Sunday. On behalf of the church family here at Albion Park Anglican, we hope you have already experienced a blessed Easter with your family and friends.
If you were part of our Good Friday services, it is great to have you back on this most amazing of days. While Good Friday saw us see so much tragedy, today we gather to acknowledge that the effects of Good Friday are felt powerfully on this day.
Let me pick up the conclusion to Friday’s most terrible moment, with Jesus readying himself to conclude His life. We read in John 19:28-30, “Later, knowing that everything had now been finished, and so that Scripture would be fulfilled, Jesus said, “I am thirsty.” A jar of wine vinegar was there, so they soaked a sponge in it, put the sponge on a stalk of the hyssop plant, and lifted it to Jesus’ lips. When he had received the drink, Jesus said, “It is finished.” With that, he bowed his head and gave up his spirit.”
It is finished … such a profound moment. The work that was required of Jesus had been completed. The sacrifice that was required had been fulfilled. Humanity no longer had to look to themselves for salvation, they only had to look at the cross to fully grasp the sentiment … it is finished.
God had made His final statement of love. As Billy Graham expressed, “God proved His love on the Cross. When Christ hung, and bled, and died, it was God saying to the world, ‘I love you.’”
If there is anything we know in this life, it is that love – to be loved and to love someone – always involves responsibility and no matter what the world tells you, love always involves sacrifice. Easter is God’s love fully expressed. Furthermore, this love has now been cemented in the reality of the resurrection. This is now where hope is found. The sadness of Good Friday is replaced with the hope of heaven. All that Jesus said, all that He stood for and all that was expected has now turned out just the way God had planned
it from the beginning.
Forgiveness is real and not cheap. Hope is real and not hidden. No matter what you are thinking, no matter what situation you find yourself in, and in particular, no matter how your life has turned out, this day has changed everything forever. Like me, your tears may not have ended just yet, your nights of weeping and days of heartache may still be with you for a while, but this I know, Easter is here! My suffering, my broken dreams, my shattered hopes are now also resurrected because this day brings new light on my life, on my future and on my future journey. Jesus lives!
One Christian writer captured this well, when he said “Outside of the cross of Jesus Christ, there is no hope in this world. That cross and resurrection at the core of the Gospel is the only hope for humanity. Wherever you go, ask God for wisdom on how to get that Gospel in, even in the toughest situations
So here you are in church, and no, I do not know your story. Maybe you might share it with me one day. However, this I do know. God brings beauty from the ashes. All our suffering is temporary when the hope of the resurrection is eternal. Our pain experienced will not be wasted; good can come from bad, even when we cannot see it.
There comes a day in everyone’s life when we must face the truth of the Easter story. It is my hope that if you have not yet done that, then this is the day you will.
Yours living with the hope of heaven and the joy that Easter is here!