High season for Christians: do you really believe what you believe?
April is just around the corner. Time to ask yourself: do you really believe what you believe? This month really has it all: it is high season for Christians. The calendar is packed. Palm Sunday, Good Friday, and Easter are all coming up.
Passiontide is actually a sad time. The church of Christ is weeping because its Lord and Master is about to leave them. On Palm Sunday He can still be seen riding into Jerusalem. He comes as the prophet foretold: He is inconspicuous, lowly, and modest. No one is to be distracted by any outward trappings. And yet, Mammon is alive and well—long live Mammon! Even in the temple, business and commerce prevail. What has become of reverence for things holy? Jesus cleanses the temple. He does not approve of the conduct of the merchants who are only out to do business and even haggle and cheat in the temple itself!
One cannot do business with God. Our souls are to be a house of prayer, not a den of thieves! We do not go to church in order to do business with God or our neighbour! At the time, Jesus overturned the money tables of the merchants. In so doing, He was also showing that it is impossible to buy salvation.
Good Friday means that He died for us
“Father, forgive them!”—This is a familiar Bible passage in the Christian context. In Christian tradition, Jesus is often associated with the “Suffering Servant” of the book of Isaiah. However, His suffering is not a punishment for sinful conduct. On the contrary: He takes on the suffering of others—for sinners. For us. Good Friday is a good day for us because it signals Christ’s victory over evil. The sacrifice of Christ, which was brought only once, is valid for all times.
Easter means that He lives for us!
And then a great power breaks forth: “The Lord is risen indeed!”The silence is broken, weeping turns to joy, lament turns into cries of Hallelujah. This resurrection is something so inconceivable, so completely new, that even the disciples of the time have trouble believing it. They at first take the account of the women for “idle tales”. Only eventually did they understand that their Lord and Master had really resurrected from the dead. Ultimately, belief in the resurrection of Jesus Christ became the most significant foundation of faith for the early Christian congregations.
In our days, many people look at the resurrection of Jesus as a fable that was invented in order to comfort the weak. Such Christians may indeed believe in Jesus and even invoke His name in order to receive help and encouragement, but they tend to understand the resurrection in more symbolic terms.
Do you believe this?
This is linked to a decisive question: who was this Jesus of Nazareth? Those who believe that He was only a human being will have a problem with Easter. But those who believe that this Jesus is the Christ will also believe in His resurrection from the dead. The question is: do you believe in the risen Son of God? Do you indeed believe this faith, which would remain empty without belief in the resurrection?
Holy Scripture is specific and clear. Here the events of Easter are proclaimed: Christ is risen! No hesitation, no uncertainty, no wavering. There are various witnesses, each of whom relates in authentic fashion that the Lord has appeared to them. These Easter witnesses are not telling fairy tales! And the Risen One does not remain silent either! The call of Easter—“He is risen indeed”—rallies the early Christian church in power and joy. For them these events are real — a fact, a fundamentum christianum.
“I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live. And whoever lives and believes in Me shall never die. Do you believe this?” (from John 11: 25-26).