A great poster campaign from Outreach Media in this Easter month:
Jesus made both a promise and a prediction in His earthly ministry… the church He was building would never fail. ‘The gates of Hades’ Jesus said, ‘would never prevail’ over the church (Matthew 16:18). In other words, Hades (the place of the dead) would never swallow up Christians forever. Rather, as the years continued, they would keep gathering around the world, worshiping God until this age closed in readiness for the next. And, as each generation encountered physical death, their trust would be in a living Jesus who, because He Himself had already risen, was able to also raise their bodies from the dead.
This is the Christian hope and the promise of Jesus.
In recent years it’s been a popular idea that the Christian movement is dying. Attendance at churches is regularly said to be in terminal decline. ‘But all is not lost for Christianity.’ say some. ‘And that’s because Jesus was an inspiring moral teacher’. ‘Famous speeches like the Sermon on the Mount and acts of compassion towards the less fortunate will continue to live on and inspire countless people down through the ages.’
But if Jesus wasn’t truly the Son of God, then it’s hardly inspiring to follow either a liar or a man deluded. If Jesus was wrong then the prospect of the Christian movement dying out is likely – even if it takes thousands of years. Yet even if it doesn’t, even if always, somewhere in the universe, there is some small group of humans meeting and worshiping Jesus… that fact still doesn’t make the Christian story true.
What makes it true and relevant to every person is if Jesus really is God’s Son who rose from the dead – the man God sent into the world to save it from its rebellion towards Him. One of the writers of the Bible, Paul of Tarsus, wrote these words, “… if Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is in vain and your faith is in vain.” A few sentences further on he declares, “If in Christ we have hope in this life only, we are of all people most to be pitied.”
So there’s no use being poetic about Jesus or sentimental. Christianity lives or dies with Jesus.If Jesus didn’t rise from the dead then it was a misguided movement. It’s followers foolish and pitiable. If Jesus did, then there is exciting and tremendous hope for you unlike any other. Either way, it’s important that you make a decision about Jesus.
Prayer: Dear God, thank you for showing yourself through Jesus in such a clear and encouraging way.
Bible: “And if Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is in vain and your faith is in vain.”1Corinthians 15:14