From the beginning of history, we have lived in a broken world. What does it mean when something is broken? It doesn’t work the way it is supposed to work.
When I was a kid I was playing G.I. Joes with my younger brother. He started teasing me and laughing at me. I can’t even remember what he was laughing about, I just remember that he was making me mad! The more he laughed, the angrier I became. I was holding a G.I. Joe in my hand. I became so angry that I threw it at him as hard as I could!
The Bible tells us that all of us do things that break our connection to God. Even if we try really hard to be good, we still do things that damage our relationship with Him. Anything that breaks our connection to God we call “sin.”
So as my G.I. Joe goes flying through the air, my brother ducks and the Joe sails over his head…and crashes into the window. CRACK! I broke the window! My dad came into the room and asked, “What’s going on in here?” So I confessed. I said that Kevin made me so made that he made me throw the G.I. Joe and it hit the window and the window broke. But my brother didn’t MAKE me do it, did he? I did it myself. And when someone breaks something, who should have to pay to fix it? The one who broke it. So my dad drove me down to the hardware store to buy a new window.
But remember – God says that we ALL do things to break our connection to him. Buying a window is hard enough – who is going to pay to fix our broken connection to God? You don’t have enough money. You can’t do enough good things to fix it. So God said, “I will pay the price to fix it myself.”
When you do something bad, what is the price you have to pay as punishment? If we are left to ourselves, we do bad things and we break that connection with God – the punishment is death. That’s a pretty steep price! And God said he would pay it himself. So God became a man, and his name was Jesus.
John 3:16 says: “This is how God loves us – that he gave us one of a kind son, so that anyone who believes in Jesus would not die but would live with God forever.”
Jesus came to pay the price we couldn’t pay – death.
So they put Jesus on a cross and he was punished so that we wouldn’t have to be. It hurt a lot to be on that cross. It even felt that God had forgotten him. And when it hurt the worst Jesus yelled out, “Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani” which means, “My God, my God, why have you abandoned me?”
And then Jesus died. He died so that he would fully experience life and pay the biggest price anyone could pay. And, just to make sure he wasn’t pretending, a soldier took a spear and stabbed Jesus through the side, and blood and fluid came out. As the final act in his death they put him in a tomb carved out of rock and they closed it off with a huge stone.
So What?!? The cross makes a difference.
How do we respond to the story of Easter? This is a REALLY important question! God took the first step. He says, “Here, I want to give you a present!” If someone wants to give you a present you can choose to ignore it. Or you can choose to respond and to accept the gift. God’s gift is Jesus, who paid the price for what we broke.
How will you respond to Jesus? C.S. Lewis said that there are only 3 options for how we respond to Jesus. #1 – we can call him a lunatic, a crazy person for saying what he said and doing what he did. And then we ignore him. #2 – we can call him a liar, a person who wanted to trick everyone. And the new ignore him. Or #3 – we call him Lord (which means the boss) and we admit that he is who he says he is. And is Jesus wasn’t a lunatic, if he wasn’t a liar, then he must be Lord – and if he is Lord then we can’t ignore him but need to follow him.
Romans 6:4 says, “Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, so we too may walk in a new way of life.”
The cross makes a difference.
Everyone who hears the Easter story needs to make a decision: how will you respond to Jesus? Is he a lunatic? Is he a liar? Or is he Lord? If he’s Lord, it’s time to tell him and time to start living the new life God wants us to live.
What’s your decision? Are you willing to say, “I believe Jesus paid the price for me”? Are you willing to say, “I want the cross to make a difference in my life”? Are you ready to say, “I will follow Jesus”? The cross makes a difference. Are you ready to say, “I believe, and I want him to make a difference in me”?
A prayer for you:
I believe that Jesus paid the price for my brokenness.
I believe that the cross makes a difference.
God, I want you to make a difference in me.
Make me more like you.
~ They Imprisoned the Wrong Man