Easter Message from Rev Gary McClellan
30 March 2023
The Easter bunny, chocolate eggs, hot cross buns, shopping sales, and an extra-long weekend to spend with our loved ones! What more could anyone possibly wish for?
I suspect, however, that fewer Australians than ever could explain in any detail what Easter really means. Some may be able to share a little about how a religious teacher named Jesus was executed. Some may even know that many people claimed to see him alive after his death. In our Year 8 Christian Education classes this past term, we have investigated why two billion Christians worldwide believe such claims. But so what? Even some lifelong church attendees can struggle to explain the ‘so what’ of the extraordinary events of Easter.
Sadly, on our beaches in Southeast Queensland, we often hear stories about people who have lost their lives attempting to save someone from drowning in a rip or large surf. A parent may even have risked their life to save their child, yet they have paid the ultimate price.
Jesus lost his life to save us.
This is a bit tricky to wrap our heads around. Most of us live our lives the way we choose. We like things done our own way, without any recognition of God in the picture. Christians believe that Jesus’ sacrifice was our way back into a relationship with God after our rejection of Him. There is good historical evidence that a man called Jesus was crucifed, died and was placed in a tomb that same day. The Bible is clear about the true meaning of Jesus’ death, and why Christians celebrate Easter:
But God demonstrates his own love for us in this:
While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
The good news is that Jesus didn’t stay dead. He died, and went through death, and then was resurrected back to life. After being nailed to a wooden cross and suffering the most horrible of deaths at the hands of Roman soldiers, days later he appeared alive to more than 500 people. They saw for themselves the nail marks that went through his hands and feet, they spoke with him and even ate with him. This is the best indication that Jesus is who he claimed to be; God on earth. And because of what Jesus has done, each one of us can be assured that whatever happened on the cross that day, Jesus paid the penalty for all the wrong things that have been done, said, thought, or even failed to do. All those things which separated us from God.
The very heart of the Easter message for Christians is that God loves you so much that he gave his only son so that everyone who believes in him may not die but have eternal life. These words are from the Bible in John 3:16, and are an invitation to us all to turn back to God. It’s a message which seems so strange in modern life, but it isn’t any less true for us now as it was 2000 years ago.
If you would like to celebrate or discover more about God’s amazing love for you this Easter, you are warmly invited to our family-friendly church services on Good Friday (7 April) or Easter Sunday (10 April). Both services start at 9.30am in the Illawong Room. I hope to see you there.
May you and your loved ones enjoy God’s richest blessings this Easter.
Reverend Gary McClellan