April 2018 – God has been telling a story from the beginning of time. After the dead of winter comes the life of spring. After the darkness of night comes the brightness of day. Humanity has been surrounded by endless cycles of death and life, darkness and light, fear and hope, over and over again.
But God is not an idle storyteller. Every story He tells, every cycle of day and night, means something. And every Easter, Christians celebrate the last turn of the cycle, when the final night passed and an eternal day dawned: the resurrection of Jesus Christ.
Every step Jesus took on this earth led past the cross of Golgotha to that third morning in the garden when death finally surrendered, and He walked out of the tomb. This is the culmination of His work from eternity past. Our best words and deeds fail to celebrate this day in the way it should be celebrated, and sadly Easter too often comes and goes without impacting the heart of the Christian as it should.
One grand miracle
It is time to be reacquainted with God’s story. In an article called “The Grand Miracle,” C.S. Lewis detailed what that story is.
“… the Christian story is precisely the story of one grand miracle,” wrote Lewis. “The Christian assertion being that what is beyond all space and time, which is uncreated, eternal, came into Nature, into human nature, descended into His own universe, and rose again, bringing Nature up with Him.”
God the Son did not simply clothe Himself in human flesh. He was in Mary’s womb for nine months just like any other human; He grew, developed, and was raised like any other human; when He was crucified He became a corpse just as any other human. But unlike any other human before Him, death could not hold Him in the tomb. He was a man when he was buried, and He was a man when he walked out from the earth. If He were any less human, there would be no hope of salvation and certainly no Easter.
One first embrace
Dr. Ray Rooney* of American Family Association told AFA Journal why Christ’s resurrection without His humanity could never impact the life of a Christian.
“The only way that the crucifixion and resurrection can possibly make a difference in Christians’ daily lives is if they first embrace what C.S. Lewis called ‘The Grand Miracle,’” said Rooney. “Until they understand that Jesus was God incarnate, they cannot ‘see’ anything more personal from the work of atonement other than that Jesus was thinking of them when He died and rose again. In other words, without the incarnation, Jesus is just another martyr who died for a good cause or a demi-god whose only purpose in life was finding a way back to Olympus.”
If the reality of the incarnation was fully grasped by Christians, there would be an Easter celebration like no other. Because He became human, defeated sin and death as a human, and as a human entered into the glory of eternity, in Him all humanity can have hope for eternal life.
* Dr. Ray Rooney is editor of The Stand.
Preparing for Easter
Do not let Easter Sunday come and go without impact because of an unprepared heart. Take time to open the Bible and reflect on the mystery of the God-Man and His victory over sin and death.
“The only preparation for the inconceivable and incomprehensible is the full embrace of the Word of God,” said Dr. Ray Rooney. “It is a heart matter of trust. As the Easter hymn says, ‘You ask me how I know He lives, He lives within my heart!’”