Easter and the Unbeliever
Easter and the Unbeliever
What do we know about Jesus? What does Scripture say? Historical writings by Tacitus and Josephus validate His existence. Historians called the followers of Jesus Christians. They believed, as we do, Jesus was the Son of God in flesh.
As believers, we recognize the Bible as the inspired Word of God. It is a historic record of the Hebrew/Jewish people’s history with God, the life and teachings of Jesus, and the beginning of the Christian Church. Numbers 23:19 (NIV) says,
“God is not human, that He should lie, not a human being, that He should change His mind. Does He speak and then not act? Does He promise and not fulfill?” Numbers 23:19 (NIV)
“For the Word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.” Hebrews 4:12 (NIV)
Since God cannot lie, and the Bible is the inspired Word of God, the Scriptures within are trustworthy. Thus, God sent His only begotten Son to earth as a living sacrifice… for us! His death on the cross covered all of our sins and provided a means for reconciliation with our Creator. Sin separates man from God, yet He still desires our fellowship. Thanks to Jesus, we have a mediator who intercedes on our behalf. We are the adopted and well-loved children of God.
“The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs-heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him, that we may also be glorified together.” Romans 8:16-17 (NKJV)
Easter is a time to meditate on the utter love sacrifice of God the Father and our Savior, Jesus Christ. Through the Holy Spirit, we can enter into their presence with a simple prayer. We call heaven, an unseen world that promises eternal life, our home. As “aliens” in this world, God uses our trek through this life as a classroom. Each lesson is a nugget of gold or priceless ruby called wisdom. This knowledge and service will be our reward in the next life. Making the most of every day by living it for Christ is profitable.
“For wisdom is more precious than rubies, and nothing you desire can compare with her.” Proverbs 8:11 (NIV)
“How much better to get wisdom than gold! And to get understanding is to be chosen rather than silver.” Proverbs 16:16 (NKJV)
Take a few minutes to reflect on the life of Jesus.
Who was His family? Did they believe He was the Son of God? No, not at first. Can you imagine growing up with brothers and sisters who teased and resented your claim to be God? Even Mary, who gave birth through Immaculate Conception, had trouble wrapping her mind around His sovereignty. When the shepherds told her what the angels said (Luke 2:8-20), she pondered this announcement as if not completely understanding the meaning.
“Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; He is the Messiah, the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.” Luke 2:11-12 (NIV)
“And all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them. But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart.” Luke 2:18-19 (NIV)
Christ’s disappointment at the faithlessness of His earthly family must have been painful. He had at least four half-brothers and two half-sisters.
“His brothers, therefore, said to Him, ‘Depart from here and go into Judea, that Your disciples also may see the works that You are doing. For no one does anything in secret while he himself seeks to be known openly. If You do these things, show Yourself to the world.’ For even His brothers did not believe in Him. Then Jesus said to them, ‘My time has not yet come, but your time is always ready.’” John 7:3-6 (NKJV)
“Is this not the carpenter, the Son of Mary, and brother of James, Joses, Judas, and Simon? And are not His sisters here with us?” So they were offended at Him.”
Mark 6:3 (NKJV)
At Calvary, during His final moments on the cross, Jesus looked down upon His mother and a small group of disciples. None of His brothers or sisters were present. It was John the beloved disciple of Christ who was issued this command.
“When Jesus, therefore, saw His mother, and the disciple whom He loved standing by, He said to His mother, ‘Woman, behold your son!’ Then He said to the disciple, ‘Behold your mother!’ And from that hour that disciple took her to his own home.”
Jesus understands the pain of living with and loving family members who refuse to acknowledge Him as their Savior. Easter is a time to celebrate the resurrection of Christ. However, should you have relatives focused on the Easter Bunny and egg hunts, do not lose hope. Keep praying for your family members. The siblings of Jesus eventually came to acknowledge Him as their Lord and Savior.
After His resurrection, Jesus appeared to James (1 Cor. 15:7) and we know that James had a change of heart. In time, he became the leader of the Jerusalem church. Both James and Jude were inspired by the Holy Spirit to write books of the Bible.
“For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.” Luke 19:10 (NIV)
It is so good to know that the siblings of Christ, who would not accept Jesus as their Lord, came to repentance and acceptance! This fact should give us hope and comfort. Our Savior understands the pain of having family members who chose to walk in darkness. But Jesus came into the world for all men, including the lost. Continue to share the Good News with them and do not weary from prayer. There is no limit to God’s redemptive power.
“To the weak I became as weak, that I might win the weak. I have become all things to all men, that I might by all means save some.” 1 Corinthians 9:22 (NKJV)
“This is a faithful saying and worthy of all acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am chief.” 1 Timothy 1:15 (NKJV)
“Just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life as a ransom for many.” Matthew 20:28 (NIV)
“How completely satisfying to turn from our limitations to a God who has none.”
– A.W. Tozer