Here comes Easter.
The story is simple…but cosmic in scope and as deep as you can handle. Here are the CliffsNotes:
We’re all screwed up, we all need help, we have a disease that’s worse than cancer, worse than AIDS, because it’s a disease of the soul with eternally terminal consequences. We inherited it, it’s spiritually genetic, we wallow in it and we’re dying. It’s our sin-nature. We’re in a deep, deep hole. And if we’re honest, we feel very, very far from God. So God climbs in the hole with us, becomes one of us, takes our collective disease upon Himself, and dies. In the hole.
Back in the day, Jesus’s management team was dumbstruck at this part of the story. Even worse, they’re down one: a team member had turned Him in, decided life sucked, and pulled the plug on himself. That’ll rock staff morale. The eleven guys left had thought Jesus was The One. Remember the disillusionment in The Matrix?—try it on in real life. With a real Cypher.
They had seen Jesus do some fantastic things. But this is the worst of the worst, with persecution within and without, by the religious leaders and the Roman government. They are scared spitless.
But three days later—to prove He’s The One and to show He’s victorious even over death, that nothing can stop Him—Jesus comes back to life. Fifty days later the Holy Spirit is poured out on everyone as promised by the prophets hundreds of years earlier and by Jesus Himself. This rag-tag group of skittish, fearful Jews hiding behind locked doors is transformed into men and women who would lay their lives down by the thousands because of the life-change experienced as a result of the resurrection. That new life is given to anyone who would trust Jesus to take their disease from them.
Even up to today. Or as Peter put it, “The promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off…”. That’s why it’s called the “gospel”…the good news.
And that’s pretty much the whole message.