(March 19, 2018) George Forbes, missionary spokesperson, reflects on the real Easter message…
The gospel is the best good news on earth!
It has been so since Jesus died on a cross at Calvary and rose again from the dead on the third day. The Easter holiday season exists because of the gospel.
I’m wondering: How will you celebrate Easter this year?
The apostle Paul puts the key events of that first Easter clearly and powerfully in chapter 15 of his first letter to the Corinthians.
- He opens with the all-important declaration of what he called the ‘gospel.’
- Reminds the Corinthians that he had preached the gospel to them.
- That they had received it.
- Were believers who not only received this gospel but believed
- Then warns them that they should continue in this faith – or they would have believed in vain.
Paul then repeats the gospel he had taught them some time before, beginning with the fact that the death of Jesus Christ was according to the scriptures.
In other words, it was a fulfilment of prophecy that Christ would die for our sins, be buried and rise from the dead on the third day.
After he rose from the tomb Jesus was to be seen by…
- Mary Magdalene (John 20:14-16).
- Mary (James’ mother), Salome, and Joanna (Matthew 28:9).
- Peter (Luke 24:34).
- Two disciples on the Emmaus road (Luke 24:13).
- The disciples in a locked room, Thomas being absent (John 20: 19).
- Later he appeared to them again with Thomas present (John 20:26).
- Over 500 people (1 Corinthians 15:6).
- James (1 Corinthians 15:7).
- Finally Saul of Tarsus who became the apostle Paul (Acts 9:3-5).
These appearances convinced beyond any doubt his disciples and others that he had risen from the dead as prophesied.
Good news indeed!
The whole of Paul’s wonderful 1 Corinthians 15 is a beautiful summation of the gospel of Christ – which includes the resurrection of all believers and their receiving a new body like the body of Jesus, yet unique to each person.
These great truths form a part of the gospel are good news indeed and it’s interesting to note that the original Greek word – euaggelion – means ‘a good message,’ or ‘good news.’
The gospel has been ‘good news’ ever since Jesus was raised from the dead by the power of the Holy Spirit.
The evidence for his resurrection is indisputable, though many have tried and failed to prove he did not rise from the dead. From the religious leaders of his time to the latest voices of unbelievers. Some even holding high position in universities and government.
I believe however, that there are more learned people, including many great scientists who believe the gospel.
The gospel must be shared with every person, because it is the best news ever heard.
Nothing else can change hearts and lives like the good news of God’s love and forgiveness, through the atoning death and resurrection of Jesus. There is simply no other way to find peace with God and receive his forgiveness and eternal life.
What Easter means to the world
It is a message of hope, peace and forgiveness. It is the best news for every man, woman or child on earth. Paul says in his opening statements to the Roman believers, ‘The gospel is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes.’
What does Easter mean to you?
For many it is a time of holidays, fun, family outings and enjoyment. They are good things; however, the reason for Easter celebrations is often missing. I am not thinking about church services so much as personal recognition of the facts of the death and resurrection of Jesus, the Son of God. Without the ‘gospel’ the world of humanity is lost, wandering in a maze of searching for reality and far too often not finding it.
This Easter could be life-changing for you and your family!
If you haven’t done so for a long time, why not gather your family around the Bible and read together the gospel story. A good place to begin is chapter one of the Gospel of John. Then, I suggest chapter 15 of 1 Corinthians, the passage I have used to write this reflection.
- The word of God, the Bible, is the source of faith. As you read and consider the truth you see and hear, ask God to help you and to reveal his love to you.
- I conclude here with this sobering fact. ‘If you do not believe you cannot receive.’
- But if you believe the gospel you will be forgiven by God, received into his family and kingdom and have a living hope for life beyond this one. Life in a body that can never die, never experience sickness or sin as you serve the King of kings in his glorious kingdom forever.
Dr George Forbes is internationally recognised as a missionary spokesperson with a heart for the lost of the nations. With a wealth of missionary knowledge and a unique ability to communicate the global picture, he is widely known as the ‘story-teller.’ Link: firstname.lastname@example.org