Churches will be packed this weekend. We know this because each year, Easter services draw the biggest crowds. In the fanfare, it can be easy to lose sight of why we gather.
We gather to remember the redemption story God has written, the one we celebrate each spring. The rescue found in Jesus is narrated in this excerpt from The Story Guide Primer Edition. He is risen, indeed!
Promise Made, Promise Kept
Everything began to fall apart after Adam and Eve disobeyed God and ate the fruit. Sin entered the world and every human heart, bringing with it all manner of unrest, disease, and chaos. The perfection of this world was unraveling. But with those fraying threads, our God of mercy began weaving a promise of rescue.
Generation after generation, God’s people looked for this Savior. Many thought He would come in power, putting everything and everyone in its proper place. The Author was telling a different sort of story, however, one that displayed the beauty of His heart as well as His unilateral rule, all in one fantastic plot twist.
The foundation of this plot twist was the Savior’s miraculous and completely unexpected entry. The Savior came enrobed in our broken flesh, born as a human to a humble teenage girl—who was still a virgin. Who could believe a virgin would become pregnant? Even her fiancé had to be convinced by an angel to stay by her side and believer her claim. Together, they raised this God-Child, whom they named Jesus. Jesus had a physical body with hands and fingers, feet and toes, ears and eyes, a nose and a mouth. He came in weakness, humility, and vulnerability. Jesus was born human but at the same time was fully God. This is the beginning of His human story—the One who holds the cosmos in the palm of His hand.
Jesus grew up and matured just as we all have. His human experience was like ours: He grew tired, endured pain, and experienced all human emotions. After working in His father’s carpentry business for many years, He began walking from town to town, teaching in the synagogues and hanging out with people, performing many signs proving that He was God’s Promise Kept.
Wherever He went, Jesus pronounced forgiveness over the debilitating guilt, shame, and fear that people were suffering under. The religious leaders found Jesus’ pronouncement of forgiveness to be arrogant, even blasphemous—which it would have been if Jesus were a mere man. They didn’t understand that as God-in-the-flesh, He had the right to forgive sin. Jesus was full of compassion for those suffering under the weight of the Fall. The pain of the people moved Him to tears. Why would He cry over human brokenness? It’s because He entered into human suffering He encountered, just as He enters into ours today.
The religious leaders of the day were losing power and patience with Jesus. False charges were brought against Him, and He was arrested. He endured rejection, ridicule, and abandonment by His closest friends. His enemies beat and tortured Him, then sent Him to die an excruciating death on a cross.
This innocent Man died for crimes He did not commit. But His death meant more than His executioners could have ever imagined. By His death, Jesus was providing the perfect, spotless sacrifice for the crimes of Humanity. He died, and all of Creation reacted—the earth quaked, the sky grew dark. The Promise Kept, the God-Man, had breathed His last breath.
The disciples took their Lord’s body and placed it in a tomb. On the third day, the tomb was empty—Jesus was not there. An angel told His followers that Jesus was no longer dead, but was alive once again—He had worked another miracle, bringing Himself back from the dead! In His death and in His resurrection, Jesus paved the way for Humanity to be free from the effects of sin and death and Hell.
God’s Promise Made was fulfilled in Jesus, the Promise Kept.