It is indeed good news! The greatest news! Jesus conquered sin and death for us. He is alive. Now from His glorified throne in heaven, He offers forgiveness and life to all who will receive Him. “And the testimony is this, that God has given us eternal life, and this life is in His Son. He who has the Son has the life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have the life. 1 John 5:11-12
We regard Holy Week as “holy” because of all that Jesus accomplished to bring us back into a love relationship with God. The word “gospel” means good news. To understand that great offer of eternal life, we go back to that passion week and review the facts. The death and resurrection of Jesus is the sacred work by which our sins were laid on Christ. He took the punishment we deserved. He even experienced death for us. And then He arose victorious over the grave. He now offers that victory freely by grace to all who receive Him into their lives by faith.
Our salvation is based on historical facts. Our re-establishment of a life-giving relationship with God requires that we believe sacred history about the cross and empty tomb.
We must embrace the facts with faith. Our faith is our way of making the work of the cross our own.
Faith is believing what the Bible reveals as true about Jesus. In 1 Corinthians 15:1-8, Paul establishes two facts about the death and resurrection of Christ which he supports with both prophetic evidence and historic evidence. Here is his words in outline:
> Now I make known to you, brethren, the gospel which I preached to you, which also you received, in which also you stand, > by which also you are saved, if you hold fast the word which I preached to you, unless you believed in vain. > For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received, that . . .
(1) Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, > and that He was buried, and that
(2) He was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, > and that He appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve. > After that He appeared to more than five hundred brethren at one time, most of whom remain until now, but some have fallen asleep; > then He appeared to James, then to all the apostles; > and last of all, as to one untimely born, He appeared to me also.
The facts are clear. The evidence is compelling. Both the death of Christ and His victorious resurrection were predicted in prophetic words of Scripture. And both facts are supported by contemporary evidence. That Jesus died is attested by His burial in a sealed grave. That He rose from the grave is verified by hundreds of post-resurrection sightings by credible people.
Now, what are we going to do with these verified facts?
Faith makes the facts personal. We are all included in this salvation story. Do you see it? Again, “Christ died for our sins . . . .“ Jesus suffered for US! Died for US! Rose again on OUR behalf! Offers resurrection life to US! Be encouraged. Eliza E. Hewitt said it well in the lyrics of this great hymn:
My faith has found a resting place, Not in device or creed;
I trust the ever-living One, His wounds for me shall plead.
I need no other argument, I need no other plea,
It is enough that Jesus died, and that He died for me!