It seems a vain hope that this Easter people might reflect upon the true significance of Easter, but I believe in miracles so I wil pray that this might happen. As a 31 year old I can remember my first 'real' Easter quite vividly. I'd experienced 30 before, but prior to this particular Easter it had been all about chocolate eggs, Easter bunnies and having a holiday. This was to be my first 'real' Easter. It was a wonderful time of Christian fellowship - church on Friday and twice on Sunday, time with new Christian friends on Saturday and Monday. I had an overwhelming sense of gratitude to God for sending Jesus to die on that crude wooden cross for me; a deep sense of my unworthiness in the sight of God, and an amazing joy and hope in Christ who I now knew was my saviour.
A personal miracle
It was 1983 and just 5 months before I had snuck across the road from my car to enter a church for the first time as an adult (bar some weddings, funerals and christenings). I can recall thinking, "What if my friends see me going to church, what will I say?" I was a atheist, what was I doing going to church. My wife Carmen had tentatively said to me just 2 days before "I'd like to go to church on Sunday and I don't expect you to be happy about it, but if we're sending the girls to Sunday School (they were 5 and 3 at the time and we'd just sent them) I think I'd like to go to church." Miraculously, the confident atheist replied "what makes you think I wouldn't want to go to church?" She might have answered "Oh, the fact that you've never shown any interest in God as long as I've known you", but she was too gracious for that. She simply replied, "Okay, you can come to." The preaching of God's word that Sunday changed my life. A simple gospel message from Matthew 11 that cut to my heart and exposed my sinfulness to such an extent that I wanted to run and hide. I went home hid in the bathroom, cried out to God, and begged him to reveal the truth to me. "Help me God to understand what this is all about. Help me to believe in this person Jesus. Help me to understand just who he was. Change me." And miracle of miracles, he did. My hard heart was cracked open by the power of God's Holy Spirit and the truth was made clear to me that day.
In the weeks that followed I read God's word from front to back (well from the gospels to the back then back to Genesis to read the Old Testament). And when I'd finished I started again, and again. Carmen too accepted Christ some 2 weeks later as she read John's Gospel, we joined a Bible study, and set about leading a new life.
The need for more miracles this Easter
As a Christian I pray that God will perform many miracles this weekend. I pray that some members of my extended family, residents at New College, neighbours and strangers who don't believe in Jesus will consider his claims. I'm not sure how God might do this, but my prayer is that some might find themselves drawn to a church service, or might be led to ask a friend just the right question. And I pray that the person who preaches at the pulpit or the friend who answers the question will do so with the power of the Holy Spirit, and many will be convicted of their need to be rescued from sin and death.
Who knows, someone might stumble on this blog post. If so I hope that they'll read John's gospel account of Jesus life, death and resurrection. And if they want to read more they might read an address that Dominic Steele gave at the City Bible Forum this week on the significance of Easter. You might also visit the Two Ways to Live site. My prayer would be that any such visitors to this site might not reject Jesus without considering his claims for themselves.
"For Christ died for sins once for all, the righteous for the unrighteous, to bring you to God."
1 Peter 3:18a