Episode 1. The Easter Puzzle
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I wonder – if you or I had been God whether we would have done the whole Easter thing. You know, Jesus dying on a cross. Pretty tough road … I really wonder … Join Berni, as he takes a look at …
I wonder – if you or I had been God – whether we would have done the whole Easter thing. You know, Jesus dying on a cross. Pretty tough road … I really wonder …
As we take some time today to look at Easter, I wonder whether I could ask you a question. If you were God would you have done Easter? Now I’m not being flippant, not at all, it’s a serious question. Would you have created a universe and an earth and people like you and me? Would you have set things up deliberately so that these people, who you created in your image, would rebel against you? And would you then have sent your son, Jesus to be spat on, to be beaten, to be nailed to a cross to die, to pay for that rebellion to bring these people home to you?
When you think of it that way, at least for me, the whole Easter thing is just a bit of a puzzle don’t you think? I mean, who in their right mind would do that? And if God was in His right mind, why, why did He do Easter?
I thought that this week since Easter is just around the corner we might have a bit of a poke around to see what was going on in God’s head and in God’s heart when He was planning this Easter thing. I mean, if we’re going to make up our minds whether or not to accept or reject the whole Easter thing, to accept Jesus Christ and what He did on the cross for us, or to reject that, why shouldn’t we know what God was thinking. And if we do accept it, we want to know what was going on in His heart, specifically to do with you and me so that we can wrap our hearts around this great reality that we call Easter.
Now people sometimes get upset with me for leaving questions hanging on the program but I don’t know I like hanging questions, Jesus did it a lot. He often told parables and stories that people didn’t really understand. You know they went to listen to Jesus speak and He told the parable of the sower or the parable of the lost coin and often they didn’t understand it. Even the disciples didn’t understand it and I kind of imagine these people going home afterwards and talking about it over the dinner table for days, for weeks saying ‘What do you think Jesus meant by that? What do you think God meant by what Jesus said?’
I kind of like that so if you’d rather have some answers, well join us on the program tomorrow but today I’ve just got a bunch of questions about Easter, looking at Easter from a different perspective and thinking, “Well, what are the questions that we should be asking of Easter?”
It starts, for me, with the story of Gods creation. You know He made the heavens and the earth and the ocean and the dry lands and the sea creatures and the birds and the animals and He made you and me and you can read about that in Genesis, chapter 1 and 2, read all about it.
Interestingly, the writer of Genesis, Moses, listed creation in the exactly the same sequence as scientists today think it happened, that’s quite fascinating isn’t it? Okay, so God creates the whole universe, he creates you and me but then listen to the relationship that He sets up between us and His creation. You read about it in the beginning of Genesis, chapter 1, verse 26. This is what it says:
“Then God said, ‘Let us make man in our image, in our likeness, and let them rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air, over the livestock, over all the earth, and over all the creatures that move along the ground.’ So God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them. God blessed them and said to them, ‘Go and be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air and over every living creature that moves on the ground.
“Then God said, ‘I give you every seed bearing plant on the face of the whole earth and every tree that has fruit with seeds in it. They will be yours for food. And to all the beasts of the earth and all the birds of the air and all the creatures that move on the ground – everything that has a breath of life in it – I give every green plant for food.’ And it was so.
“God saw all that He had made and it was very good and there was evening and there was morning on the sixth day. Thus the heavens and the earth were completed in all their vast array and by the seventh day God had finished the work He had been doing; so on that seventh day He rested from all His work. God blessed that seventh day and made it holy because on it He rested from all His work of creating what He had done. This is the account of the heavens and the earth when they were created.”
Hmm, so God creates everything and you just look around creation, it is just utterly awesome but God then gives it to us, all of it. Now if God is God, He knew how that was going to turn out and in chapter 3 of the book of Genesis we see that Adam and Eve were in the garden and they got it all, everything that He created in that garden was theirs except for one tree with one sort of apple and the devil comes along in the form of a serpent and tempts them.
Have you ever wondered who created that serpent, who created the devil? Well, if God is God; God must have. We probably all know the story, Adam and Eve ate from that one tree that God said, ‘Don’t eat from.’ And God kicked them out of the garden. Adam and Eve had everything yet they rebelled against God.
Now, if God is God, God always knew that they would. God didn’t sit there and go, ‘Oh my goodness, they’ve rebelled against Me.’ God always knew, He always knew that He, Himself was perfect and holy and that the only way to deal with their rebellion and our rebellion is death, that’s it, the wages of sin, the wages of our rebelling against God is death, eternal separation from God.
I can’t put it any other way. ‘Um, I’m okay, I’m not that bad.’ Get this! Adam and Eve ate one crummy apple, that was rebellion and they were separated from God, God kicked them out of the Garden of Eden for doing that and God always knew that the only way that we could get back into a relationship with Him was if someone paid the price and that is what Easter is all about.
“He who knew, knows Him, became sin for us. We know love by this that Jesus laid down His life for us.”
The whole of creation, the whole of you and me, everything was set up in such a way so that there was only one solution, there would only ever be one solution, for Jesus, the son of God, to pay the price.
Would you have done it that way? I don’t know, I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t have. Why did God do it that way? Look around, He’s gone to a lot of trouble, this huge, incomprehensible universe, He’s given the whole thing to you and me, lock, stock and barrel knowing full well that we’d rebel and then He did the Easter thing, this brutal painful death of Jesus.
It was so incredibly unfair, we’ll look at that next week, not even Pontius Pilate could come to the conclusion that it was fair. What does that say about God? What does that say about us? What does that say about what He thinks about you and me?
We can skim over this Easter thing, we can just go along and buy some chocolate eggs and have a long weekend and never give it two thoughts but either God is God and He sent His son Jesus to die on the cross or He didn’t and if He did, my goodness it’s a puzzle isn’t it? It’s a riddle; it’s this amazing question, God, why did you do this? God, why did you do Easter? Can I encourage you over these coming days and weeks? Don’t just go and buy chocolate and have a long weekend – think about it.