The Easter Story
written by Rev Gary Heard
The road to hell is paved with good intentions... We certainly don’t have to look very far to see evidence of this truth around us. Economic development - which has brought many benefits to society - seems to be killing our planet; the development of antibiotics has created a species of superbugs which require ever-more potent antibiotics with increasing side-effects; building more freeways to improve traffic flow only leads to further congestion and greater pollution. It is hard to find developments which have not brought unintended consequences which have unearthed new and deeper challenges to be faced.
Arthur Schopenhauer once observed that all truth passes through three stages: first it is ridiculed; second it is violently opposed; third it is accepted as being self-evident, revealing a human inclination to defend the status quo rather than embrace new possibilities. The systems humans establish serve to not only to aid in our progress, paradoxically they also stand in the way.
The Easter story emerges in a crucible where this paradox is evident—the people who should have most welcomed their coming Messiah rejected him and called for his crucifixion. But they were not the only ones. Those who followed Jesus throughout his teaching and healing ministry abandoned him. The political leaders arrayed their forces against him, and ultimately public opinion sided with the rest. God’s son had appeared amongst them, and the full array of human forces were deployed against him, sending him to a premature death.
Were the story to end there, we would have heard no more. But the final voice to be spoken was not that of human power. In raising Jesus from the dead, God’s final word was spoken: the most powerful (even though well-intended) human voices would not have the last word. Jesus, who followed God’s call to be himself and to fulfil his purpose, was raised from death to new life.
A central Easter message then is this: the greatest human forces cannot frustrate the purposes of God in Jesus Christ. This is not only a message worth celebrating, it is a reminder of God’s faithfulness.
April 6, 2010