Once again we come to that special time of the year when we remember the death and resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Tim Costello of World Vision Australia writes, “Easter is the most important celebration in the Christian calendar. It is also still an event that Australians look forward to, even if it is mainly for a couple of public holidays. Despite the fact that church attendance in Australia has been in decline for some years, there is still a sense of solemnity and respect for the traditions of Easter. Good Friday sees news networks report traditional celebrations, and the AFL has not yet succumbed to playing football on this sacred day.”
The true message of Easter is for all Australians. In fact Easter is a celebration that Australians can resonate with. There has been a lot of talk over the years about our Australian identity, but one thing we have been known for is our support for the underdog.
Jesus went out of his way to minister to the underdogs of his day – widows, lepers, the crippled and the blind, prostitutes, tax collectors and even the thief who was being crucified on the cross next to his.
But let us also remember that Jesus himself was an underdog in the eyes of his society. Seven hundred years before Jesus was born the prophet Isaiah wrote –
“He was despised and rejected by men, a man of sorrows, and familiar with suffering. … He was oppressed and afflicted, yet he did not open his mouth; he was led like a lamb to the slaughter … By oppression and judgement he was taken away” (Isaiah 53:3b,7a,8a).
As Jesus was taken to the cross, he was definitely seen as the underdog. But just before he breathed his last on that cross, he cried out, “It is finished” (John 19:30). This was the victory cry of Jesus declaring that he had completed the work his Father had given him to do. He paid the price of our sins by dying for us on the cross.
Satan seemed to be victorious at the cross of Jesus. But God turned Jesus’ apparent defeat by Satan into victory when Jesus rose from the dead conquering sin, Satan and death once for all. Paul writes –
“But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore, my dear brothers, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labour in the Lord is not in vain” (1 Corinthians 15:57-58).
Paul says that because of the resurrection, nothing we do for Jesus is in vain. Sometimes we hesitate to do good because we don’t see any results. But if we truly believe that Christ has won the ultimate victory, then that will affect the way we live right now.
Don’t let discouragement over what you see happening in our society, keep you from praying for Australia and acting to protect our Judeo-Christian values. Do good as you are able, knowing that your work will have eternal results.
This Easter may we encourage you –
1. To pray for
God’s people meeting in churches across the nation to remember Christ’s death and celebrate His resurrection,
those who have wandered from God that they will be drawn to go to church, and
many who do not know God will find new life this Easter.
2. To attend special Easter events in your local area such as
Easter sunrise services down on the beach, in a local park or up in the mountains.
Easter parades or marches like the one that has taken place in Sydney for over twenty years. For more information about the Sydney Easter Parade held 10 AM-3 PM Easter Monday in Hyde Park – see this 60 Second promo or go to their website.
Sydney Easter Parade 2013
We close with the ancient greeting and response, still used around the world today, that joyfully expresses the essence of Easter.
Christ is Risen! … He is Risen Indeed!
Let this be our victory cry as we celebrate the empty tomb and Jesus’ ultimate victory over sin, Satan and death. Hallelujah!
Yours for the joyful celebration of Easter,
David Rowsome and Warwick Marsh
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