By Jon Duncan
Special to The PREVIEW
Our beautiful winter is drawing to a close. Spring is hinting that it will be even more beautiful, and summer is boasting of fast water and wildflowers and green mountains and breathtaking scenery. It’s a great time to be alive.
This season of Easter also promises to be one of wonder and promise — do you ever think of Easter this way? A time for new beginnings? A time of starting over? A time of coming out of the cold darkness of winter into the warm sunshine of spring? It is often portrayed that way, and yet the meaning is lost on so many.
The season of Easter is not primarily a physical season; it is not just a day on the calendar. Easter is a spiritual season, a time when mankind stops to gauge the spiritual condition of his heart. The Easter season is often the time when families venture into church for one of the many special services and celebrations. It is a time of remembering past blessings, past promises, past answers to prayer. It is even sometimes a season when families recommit to get connected to their church, attend regularly and serve heartily. A time for new beginnings. What is this new beginning based on? The resurrection of Jesus Christ. That is the story of Easter in a nutshell.
Jesus was born of a virgin, He lived a sinless life, He died a cruel death on the cross at the hands of angry men, He was placed in a tomb and, three days later, He was resurrected for the world to see.
He appeared to His disciples many times, to individuals on separate occasions and finally to over 500 people at one time. The evidence is overwhelming, the witnesses too many to refute — and yet there are so many who believe the whole story is a sham, a lie, a political best-seller presented for money and power. Everyone is entitled to their own opinion and most everyone has come to some conclusion about the question of Jesus — was He real, did He really die, did He really come back to life, and does all this really matter? Does it really affect me?
It is so easy to put off answering that last question when life is so busy and there are so many things screaming for your time and attention. The scary truth, however, is that not only is everyone entitled to their own opinion, everyone will spend eternity somewhere as a result of that opinion. So, the more important question might be, “Have you done much research on the person of Jesus, the historical record of His life, the historical accuracy of His death and resurrection?”
May I encourage you to read the Gospel of John from the Bible? It is an easy read — very straightforward and well-organized, presenting Jesus as He offers Himself to the different geographical areas of Israel and their responses to His message, then ending with His execution and resurrection. It is filled with interactions between Jesus and real people struggling with real life facing impossible situations in which only God could help. And He did. Repeatedly. Or maybe the Gospel of Luke — written by a Greek doctor, filled with extra details important to someone who was not brought up in a religious environment, written to present Jesus as the Son of Man. Lots of behind-the-scene information, with many details that must have come from Luke’s interviews with eye-witnesses. But, once again, it is filled with interactions between Jesus and the hurting, the lonely, the outcasts, the dying; Jesus at His best, dealing with the worst that man was going through.
If reading the Book is an issue for you and you find yourself still skeptical, may I recommend you watch some of the many YouTube videos presented by Dr. Ravi Zacharias — a renowned author and speaker who answers the many troubling questions that so often prevent people from seriously listening to the claims of Christ. If you simply type “Ravi” into the search box on YouTube you will be instantly presented with a cafeteria of clips where Zacharias answers the questions that are most bothering man right now — why would a good God allow evil to exist? Why would a good God not stop the horrors — both natural and man-made — that are happening all around us? Are there many paths to God? The questions are endless — all valid, all meaningful, all important. Zacharias does an excellent job of answering those questions, and maybe he could offer some insight into the question that most bothers you right now.
The Easter season is the perfect time to ask some questions, check your current belief system, open God’s word and compare it to what you read. It is a great time to visit a church where the word of God is taught and rub shoulders with other seekers who are not yet sure exactly what they believe.
May we invite you to Centerpoint’s presentation of “He’s Alive”? It is a drama based on the events of the last days of Easter week, beginning with Jesus’ appearance before Pilate and ending with the empty tomb, filled with the biblical events of Jesus’ death, burial and resurrection.
It is being offered on Saturday evening, April 20, at 6:30 p.m. and then again on Easter Sunday morning, April 21, at 10:15 a.m. It is presented as a reminder of what Jesus did for you, and for me, for our families, our communities, our nation, our world. Come join us and be reminded. Make this Easter season a time for new beginnings for you and your family. We would be honored to have you as our guests.
For church location or more information, please see www.centerpointpagosa.com. Have a wonderful Easter.
By Jon Duncan