April 7, 2014


The sum and substance of Christianity is found in those three words.

First, it means that we no longer have to fear death. Think of the millions of people who have died with the notion of death as only a one-way ticket to a hole in the ground. Think how meaningless were their lives as they lived in constant fear of an arbitrary deity who cared nothing about their temporal or eternal happiness.

Second, it means that we can live lives of purpose, not in order to earn salvation, but because salvation has already been bought and paid for by Christ’s death and resurrection. The mad scramble to make something of ourselves, to impress others, to climb to the top of the heap, is unnecessary because in Jesus we are complete.

Third, and for me most significant, we now have the freedom to live lives patterned after Christ, that is, lives of service. When He ascended to heaven, Jesus left behind a magnificent, almost unimaginable legacy. The principle that we live most when we serve others was demonstrated in both Jesus’ life and His teaching.

So we no longer view service to others as a way of avoiding punishment, as a means of earning salvation, or as a bribe to earn God’s favor. We serve simply because that’s what Jesus did. He saw a need, and He met it. He met people who were sick, marginalized, oppressed, and He served them.

In the centuries since Jesus ascended to heaven, this world has become an increasingly dark place, filled with all manner of selfishness, violence, oppression, cruelty, and injustice. But now, just as in those dark hours before the stone was rolled away, Christ will have followers who will serve others in His name.

Why? Because He is risen! He is risen indeed.