More about our Easter Faith
The strong and joyful season of Easter carries a message of great hope. It is, in fact, all good news at this time of the Christian Year and the readings, colours and music in our churches encourage this bright and positive atmosphere. Underlying the good news of the Resurrection is something far more serious that needs our consideration. In each of the post-Resurrection appearances to his disciples, Jesus shows them his hands and side.He makes them aware of the continuing existence of the marks of his suffering on the cross. This was particularly true of the meeting between Jesus and Thomas. Thomas was confronted by the real and vivid scars of the Saviour – a most painful reminder of the recent events.
Shouldn't the Resurrection have wiped out those terrible marks and restored Jesus to some kind of perfection? Why did he make such a point of showing his hands and feet to the disciples? The answer lies in the nature of sin itself.
Sin was the cause of the suffering of Jesus. Sin was the cause of all the pain and horror of that Good Friday. Not the sin of Jesus, for he was pure, and not the sin of someone else ... but OUR sin, yours and mine. Ours were the specific sins that pinned him to the tree and ours are the sins that have wounded our Lord. It must be conceded that every act of sin leaves its mark, either on the sinner or on some other victim in the process – and so here, ours are the sins that have left their mark on Jesus.
Ours is no faith built on 'cheap grace'. There has been an act of such enormous love and sacrifice that we stand amazed and humbled. The sending of His Son was the ultimate act of love by the Father and we are the recipients of His divine favour...BUT... we cannot forget the cost and we may not forget the reason for those wounds.
Perhaps a time spent in reflection on the wounds of Christ will enable you, the reader, to consider afresh the need for a revised way of life? Are there habitual sins that need to be dealt with and brought to an end? Is there a 'cycle of carelessness' that is wounding Christ again and again?
Whatever our situation, wherever we are in the walk of faith and life, the wounds of Christ speak to us and confront our complacency. If Jesus took our sins seriously enough to die for, then what should our attitude towards them be?
In the film Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, there was a scene where some adventurers were approaching the place they supposed the Holy Grail to be. A key to getting to their destination lay in a riddle "Only the penitent man will pass". So it is with us. To approach the Risen Christ and not be crushed by the impact of his wounds, 'only the penitent man will pass'..... a broken and a contrite heart, O God, thou wilt not despise.
The man or woman of real faith will cringe when realising the cost of salvation. Strangely enough, it only seems to be when we are much closer to Our Lord that we begin to realise the impact of our past and present conduct.....
Go to the post-Resurrection appearances again and consider afresh the wounds of our Lord.
The readings are: Matthew 28:16-20 Luke 24:36-49 John 20:19-29
Almighty and everlasting God, we your humble servants give you thanks and praise for your great sacrifice made upon the cross. Give us grace, Lord Jesus Christ, to lay aside our sins and follow you in a path of righteous living. Enable us to glorify you in our words and in our actions. We ask this in your most holy Name. Amen.