The story of Jesus' death, burial and resurrection has deep meaning to Christians for a variety of reasons. First and foremost, it is the defining moment of the Christian faith. But for the resurrection, Christianity would be nothing more than a legend, not unlike the stories from Greek or Roman mythology. As the Apostle Paul notes in I Corinthians 15:17-18, "And if Christ be not raised, your faith is in vain; ye are yet in your sins. Then they also which are fallen asleep in Christ are perished." Indeed, our very hope of eternal life depends upon the resurrection of Christ!
Beyond this, however, the resurrection is the supreme reminder that the biggest victories can come from the greatest defeats.
When Jesus walked the land of Palestine, the Jews held fast to God's promise of deliverance. Oppressed by the Romans, the children of Israel eagerly awaited the coming of the Messiah—the Savior who would overthrow their tormenters and restore the Throne of David. Many of the Jews who followed Jesus believed that He would do just that. However, when He died by the most humiliating way—death on a Roman cross—their hopes were dashed. Even as Jesus' blood poured down the tall, wooden cross into the parched ground below, their hope of salvation slipped away—or so it seemed.
We know the rest of the story. Jesus rose again. He overcame the grips of Death and Hades. Caesar did his worst, but it was not enough to keep Jesus down. As a result, salvation from sin and reconciliation with God became available to all who choose to come to Christ in faith. What was meant for evil, God turned to good. Jesus' humiliating defeat became the vehicle for the greatest victory in all of human history.
Today, our nation is going through a difficult time. The ever burgeoning number of home foreclosures have created an economic crisis not unlike the Great Depression itself. And with gas prices at record highs, the dollars in our pockets have been stretched to their limits. If this weren't bad enough, the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan—although necessary to preserve our national security—have taxed the patience of our people to their limits. To borrow from Thomas Paine, "these are the times that try men's souls."
As difficult as these times may be, though, we may look to the story of Easter for hope. Just as God used the greatest evil (the death of Jesus on the cross) to birth the greatest good (salvation for mankind), so will God use the problems we now face as a springboard for our greatest victories.
You may be going through a difficult time right now. Maybe you have lost your home, or perhaps your loved one is serving our country proudly in a war zone. You may not be able to see the light at the end of the tunnel. If so, just remember that God knows right where you are. If you will only trust Him, He will lead you through this time of testing and deliver you from evil. Like a woman in childbirth, the heartache and pain you experience today will precede the greatest happiness you will ever know. Just believe.
Sunday, March 23, 2008
An Easter Message from Governor Huckabee
By Mike Huckabee