For God so loved the world

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Mata'afa Keni Lesa

Good Friday and Resurrection Sunday are not just any other public holidays. If anything, they have got to be most important days in the lives of Christians anywhere in the world, let alone this Christian nation of Samoa.

Why? The answer is pretty straight-forward. For God so loved the world that he allowed his only begotten son to be tormented, hung on the cross, buried in what could have possibly been the worst form of death. 

But he didn’t stay dead folks. He was resurrected to prove that God is all sovereign. What’s more, if Jesus Christ had remained dead, there wouldn’t have been any hope for salvation. 

But because he lives, he has made a way for anyone who believes in him. And simply by confessing that Jesus Christ the son of God who has risen from the dead, people have hope. 

Since Friday and even this morning, thousands of people are converging to different church buildings across the nation to remember the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. It’s fair to say that the message of Jesus Christ’s crucifixion will be preached from pulpit to pulpit. 

On Friday, we paused to remember the time when the Son of God was dragged, beaten, tortured and then nailed to a cross. Which brings us to the question we always ask this time every year: Why did Jesus Christ die in such a way? Why did a King have to endure such a cruel death?

The simple answer is he died to give this world hope. The story is well told. God created the world but through mankind’s lust and sin, all hope was lost. That was until God through his son Jesus Christ reached out to save so that mankind could be reconciled with God. Without the death of Jesus Christ, there is no reconciliation. And without that reconciliation, there is no hope.

Indeed that is the message of today – Resurrection Sunday. We believe nothing personifies hope more clearly than Jesus Christ being raised from the dead. 

We’ve said this before and we will say it again. It times like these when we commemorate Easter; we are not remembering someone who is dead. 

No, we believe that our Christ is a risen Saviour, who sits on the right hand of the Father and who will return one day because he promised us that he would.

Today, let’s think about love, peace, forgiveness, restoration, reconciliation and care. Let’s be encouraged that whatever we are going through, we must learn to say this too shall pass. 

As leaders, we have to remind our young generation that force and violence are not the answer.  What’s important is dialogue and mutual respect. And lets not forget the Samoan saying: O lalo lava e saili ai malo. (It is through humility that victory is won).

Jesus Christ is the ultimate example of humility. He is the son of God who became a man so he can win people back to God. On this day many years ago, Jesus Christ rose from the dead. That gave mankind hope, hope that is eternal. 

Jesus Christ also died for sinners like me and you. He died for the world – everyone including people who don’t believe him. Believe it or not, whether you are a Christian or not, God loved you that he sacrificed his beloved son.

The Bible is quite clear. 

It says that for all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God. All means all. No one is perfect and we all have shortcomings. We are all sinners. 

The good news is that through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, the same Bible tells us that if we declare with our mouths that “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in our hearts that God raised him from the dead, we can be saved.

That in a nutshell is the message of Easter. Indeed, God is a God of second chances, third, fourth and a hundred chances. That’s why Jesus died. He did not die for the well and good. If the world was so perfect and there was no sin, there would have been no need for him to die.

We are grateful for God’s most precious sacrifice. It has given all of us hope.

What does that mean for us?  Well if Jesus Christ died for us to forgive our sins, who are we to continue to live in unforgiveness towards others – even those who have wronged us? Let’s be reminded that God showed mercy on us. Mercy means unmerited favour. Eventhough we did not deserve, God through Jesus Christ’s death extended us mercy anyway. 

We ought to extend the same mercy, forgiveness and love to people around us – including our enemies. 

The message of Good Friday and Resurrection Sunday is very simple. Forgive someone; show mercy towards others even if they don’t deserve it anyway and where we have wronged others, learn to say sorry and be prepared to change. And love people unconditionally.

Have a peaceful Sunday Samoa, God bless!

 

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