5 min read

Three Amazing Truths

Each year at Easter, if we can see past the distractions of the thawing of winter, spring fever, Easter eggs (and the bunnies who lay them?), and all the busy-ness of the season, there are three simple truths we must never ignore or forget.
Three Amazing Truths
Photo by Michael Carruth / Unsplash

Twice this week, I'll share selected excerpts from my book – Mark's Unfinished Story. Use these to reflect on the upcoming passion week, the pinnacle of the Christian year.

Get your Paperback, Kindle, and PDF version of Mark's Unfinished Story here. Don't forget to you use your membership coupon, if you have one!

Could it possibly be true?

Could it possibly be true that I could benefit
From the blood of Christ poured out on the cross?
He died for me even though it was me
who caused his great suffering!
Yes, as incomprehensible as it may be,
he pursued me even to the point of death!
Amazing, unfathomable love!
Can your love possibly be this great?
That you, my God, would suffer and die for me?
Amazing, immeasurable love!
That you, my God, would do such a thing for a sinner like me?

(paraphrase of the first verse of “And Can it Be?” by Charles Wesley)

Each year at Easter, if we can see past the distractions of the thawing of winter, spring fever, Easter eggs (and the bunnies who lay them?), and all the busy-ness of the season, there are three simple truths we must never ignore or forget.

Jesus Christ died for us while we were still sinners

Amazing, unfathomable love! Jesus died for me while I was still a sinner. Jesus died for you while you were still a sinner. And Jesus even died for — while they were still sinners — the ones for whom we have the most difficult time understanding this truth to be true.

But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Three Amazing Truths (Romans 5:8 NIV, bold mine)

Jesus Christ rose from the dead

He lives! This two-word truth forms the foundation of Christianity, without which this movement would have never begun.

Then go quickly and tell his disciples: “[Jesus] has risen from the dead and is going ahead of you into Galilee. There you will see him.” (Matthew 28:7 NIV, bold mine)

In Jesus Christ, the power of death was defeated

By the power of the Almighty, in whom exists fullness of life, Christ's victory on the cross overcomes the power of sin and death.

[Jesus] shared in their humanity so that by his death he might break the power of him who holds the power of death (Hebrews 2:14 NIV, bold mine)

The death and resurrection of Jesus made possible the forgiveness of sins for all who put their trust in Christ, complete sanctification for all who surrender their lives fully to the purpose and plan of God, and freedom from the power of bondage of sin in our lives; that is, freedom to be fully human — bearing the image and likeness of God — as intended.

He is risen!

He is risen, indeed!

black cross statue
Photo by Greg Rosenke / Unsplash

King of the Jews

It was nine in the morning when they crucified him. The written
notice of the charge against him read: THE KING OF THE JEWS.


King of the Jews.

The sign sat above Jesus' head as a mocking insult to him and the Jewish people. You wanted a king to come and save you from Rome's overwhelming power and authority? You were hoping this man might be your promised rescuer, leading you out from under the thumb of Caesar? Well, Israel, here is your rescuer and king—bloodied, naked, and at the point of death. Your God has not forgotten you. No, not at all! Look, your God is mocking you!

The nation of Israel had long been waiting for the promised Messiah who would come and restore their glory. They longed for a king in the line of David who would arrive on the scene with power—a conqueror, a fighter, a rebellion leader to set Israel free from the oppression of the Roman Empire, a political leader to establish the Law of God as the rule of law for as far as the eye could see, a God-ordained warrior and ruler to come and establish the nation of Israel and God'sRome's kingdom on earth!

And if that’s not enough of a twist, here’s another—and it’s a big one. These early Christians, especially the apostle Paul, claimed this new world that was opened by Jesus, the Jewish Messiah, was equally open to everyone, Jew or Gentile.

– Pete Enns, “Bible Tells Me So” (Kindle 2689)

Jesus was not this kind of Messiah. Jesus, in his attempt to claim Messiahship, did not come in strength and power, and he didn't come only to the people of
Israel. He did not come as David, who killed his "didn'ttens of thousands”; instead, he came bearing no sword and commending outsiders for their great faith. He sought no position of political authority and showed that no one—no Samaritan or Roman, no woman or child, no diseased or possessed person, no lowly or weak individual—was beyond the reach of God's" grace.

As Messiah and King, Jesus models the culture of God’s kingdom for us. As citizens of the kingdom—made in the image and likeness of God, marred though it may be—we are to follow the King's lead.

So, what kind of King was Jesus?

What example did he set for those who would live in his kingdom?

Well, for starters, Jesus…

    • humbled himself
    • emptied himself
    • became a servant
    • was obedient, even to death
    • forgave the unforgivable
    • touched the untouchable
    • brought down the powerful
    • lifted up the vulnerable
    • upended systems of human worth based on political power, monetary wealth, military strength, and ethnic superiority.
    • extended God's kingdom beyond Jerusalem and extended the boundaries of “God’s people" to include all, even those at the ends of the earth.

Jesus showed us that in the kingdom, there is the power to turn from the serpent and return to God. We can live again in shalom in the here-and-now kingdom with God and our neighbors. In the kingdom, we can once again be restored daily into the image of God in which we were created. In the kingdom, though the world around us is not yet as it was created to be, we can live in the hope that someday all will be made right again.

The turning point in the Gospels was when Jesus asked a question, “Who do you say that I am?” and received a certain answer: “You are the Messiah, the Son of the Living God.” The turning point in every person’s life is what answer we give to Jesus’ question.

– Leonard Sweet, “So Beautiful” (Kindle 2370)

I hope you have enjoyed the excerpt from Mark's Unfinished Story.

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