The Hon. PAUL GREEN [6.25 p.m.]: Tonight I speak about the significance of Easter and why Christians commemorate this day. Easter is the most significant celebration in the year of a Christian. It is the time of year when we commemorate the great act of love that took place more than 2,000 years ago when God Himself, in the divine man Jesus Christ, carried the weight of sin and the guilt of every single human being, and was crucified on the cross. When He rose from the dead Jesus demonstrated not only that He is God indeed but also that after death there is life for those who put their faith and trust in Him.
This gives humanity great hope in many spheres. First, we can see from His death that our sins have a price. In dying on the cross for us Jesus paid both for your sins and mine, but it demands a personal response from each one of us. Secondly, it shows us that whatever difficult circumstances we might find ourselves in, there is always hope—light at the end of the tunnel, so to speak. If we are struggling with addiction, illness or a situation that might ordinarily seem hopeless, when Jesus rose from death to life He showed that no matter how deep the darkness, there is light to come. The opening words of John’s Gospel state:
All of us, as human beings, will have some regrets in our lives. We might regret the way we have treated someone because of some action or we might regret not doing something that we should have done. Another reason that Easter gives us great hope is that it is an undeniable expression of God’s great mercy. No sin is too great for God to forgive if we just turn to Him humbly and ask for forgiveness. In the crucifixion, death and resurrection of His son, God shows us the great lengths He will go to in order to forgive our sins and have a relationship with each one of us. In fact, if there were only one person on the entire planet who was in need of redemption Jesus would have suffered all that He did just for that one person. That is the great extent of His love for each and every one of us.
There is a story in the Bible that Jesus tells to explain His love for each one of us. He says that if He had 100 sheep and one went astray, He would leave the 99 sheep waiting while He went out to look for the stray. Once He finds the stray sheep there will be great joy in Heaven over that one lost sheep returning home. We were created for greatness. Each one of us is made in the image and likeness of God Himself. This means that great things are expected of us in our behaviour. But when we sin or cause harm to others, we miss the target and the purposes that God has for us and diminish that greatness within us. We experience the mercy of Easter when we turn to God and ask for his mercy. That mercy was won for us by the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus Christ. God is ready, willing and waiting to forgive each one of us, which should always give us immense hope. I wish everyone a happy Easter.