The Easter story doesn’t end with Jesus’ betrayal and death. Although that would rank the Easter story among the greatest of Greek tragedies, but it would not be transformational!
Jesus’ path to the cross was voluntary and intentional. It was not forced upon Him. He willfully gave it.
Death by crucifixion was and is one of the most painful ways to die. It’s from the word crucifixion we get our English word excruciating.
The first known practice of crucifixion began with the Persians in 300 B.C., but the Romans perfected the method by 100 B.C.
The Romans developed a technique to extract the most pain by bringing their victims to the point of death and then pulling back so they would feel every ounce of pain.
And so this raises the question, why would Jesus, as an innocent person, allow Himself to be crucified and experience this excruciating death? The answer is twofold. It’s a matter of sin and God’s love for you.
“Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends.” John 15:13
“for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,” Romans 3:23
Sin is a disease that plagues all humanity. In the Garden of Eden, when mankind invited sin into the world, it caused a breakdown throughout every fiber of society.
Because of sin, we experience;
- Broken relationships,
- Violence and the list of social ills are unending.
And yet, the greatest impact of sin is how it creates a divide between God and us. Jesus became a bridge reconnecting us to God. This is what Easter is all about.
Romans 6:23 explains that the wages of sin is death. Sin requires payment. In exchange for our sin debt, our life is the necessary payment. Yet our death is insufficient to cover that debt.
As a precursor to Jesus’ coming, God established a sacrificial system to address mankind’s sins temporarily. This practice is known as atonement, which requires a perfect sacrifice, symbolized by a lamb without defect or blemish.
Yet this needed to be done yearly, and it did not change the human condition that was bent toward sin. This is why God sent His one and only Son, Jesus, who took on the form of a human, and as a sinless, perfect sacrifice.
He not only forgives but sets us free from the control of sin. Jesus died so you could live.
By being our perfect sacrifice, He absolves our sin debt, reconnects us with God, and separates our sin as far as the East is from the West, two points that can never meet.
He promises that if we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us and cleanse us from all unrighteousness, with no excuses necessary. All of this is possible because He has risen from the dead.
Every religious leader of every religion has died, but Jesus, God in the flesh, is the only one to rise from the dead. Therefore, He is the only one who can save us from the consequence and control of sin.
But how can we know for sure that Jesus resurrected, thereby paying in full my sin debt? First, there is documented proof not only from the Bible but also from first-century historians such as [i]Josephus of Jesus’ appearance after His death.
Jesus appeared to many people and to a crowd of 500 on one occasion.
Secondly, we must consider the significance of the Roman Empire. They are historically one of the most prolific empires in history, whose many contributions are embedded into the fabric of modern-day society.
The genius of the Roman Empire speaks for itself. For example;
- They constructed highways, roadways, aqueducts, coliseums, and amphitheaters, many of which are still visible today in part or whole.
- They invented concrete forms, many of which are still intact today.
- Rome is the framework for our legal system and government.
- The first newspaper and bound books were created by them.
- The Romans developed the first known HVAC system called hypocaust and heated floors.
- They developed the precursor to what is known as cesarean section birth. [ii]
Considering the intellectual prowess, if the Romans wanted to end the absurd rumors of resurrection, they could have done that.
They could have ended Christianity before it ever began by opening Jesus’ tomb and putting His body on display for all to see. So why didn’t they do that?
It’s because there was no body to display. The tomb was empty!
Jesus came from Heaven to Earth to bridge the divide between God and us so that we could have our sins forgiven and receive a new life now and eternal life with Him when this life is over!
And today, if you confess your sin and believe that Jesus is God, who came to earth and rose from the grave to give you a new life, you can have confidence in knowing that your sin debt is paid in full and Heaven is your eternal home.
There’s no other name by which man can be saved. Jesus died once and for all so you can live for eternity!