- He was God before he was born in the flesh: “In the beginning was the Word … and the Word was God” (John 1:1).
- After his human birth he continued to be God. On earth, Jesus forgave sins (Mark 2:5-7), something only God can do. He claimed divinity (John 8:58) and thus equality with God (John 10:28-30).
- After his resurrection, he continued to be God. Thomas called the risen Jesus “My Lord and my God” (John 20:28).
- The author of Hebrews, quoting Psalm 104, says of Jesus, “Your throne, O God, will last forever and ever” (Hebrews 1:8).
A Sunday School teacher asked her class on the Sunday before Easter if they knew what happened on Easter and why it was so important. One little girl spoke up saying: “Easter is when the whole family gets together, and you eat turkey and sing about the pilgrims and all that.” “No, that’s not it,” said the teacher. “I know what Easter is,” a second student responded. “Easter is when you get a tree and decorate it and give gifts to everybody and sing lots of songs.” “Nope, that’s not it either,” replied the teacher. Finally a third student spoke up, “Easter is when Jesus was killed, and put in a tomb and left for three days.” “Ah, thank goodness somebody knows” the teacher thought to herself. But then the student went on: “Then everybody gathers at the tomb and waits to see if Jesus comes out, and if he sees his shadow he has to go back inside and we have six more weeks of winter.” What does it all mean? How does Easter make a difference? In an attempt to answer these questions, I want us to explore the ins and outs of Easter. Romans 10:9 and 13 if you confess with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. 13 for, “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.” Silent Prayer Never in a million years did I think I’d begin my Easter message this way, but here goes. I got locked in the bathroom at Target this week! Yes, that’s right. Do you know the feeling of being trapped? The feelings of worry, anxiety and fear that accompany being trapped? Perhaps worse than worry, anxiety and fear is the hopelessness you feel when you realize you can’t do anything to change the fact that you are trapped. There I was, trapped in a bathroom at Target. I’m serious. It happened on Wednesday. I got in, but I couldn’t get out. I furiously tried to jiggle the door lock. The walls began to close in on me. I started to see my life flash before my eyes. I looked down and thought, “There is no way I can squeeze under that door.” I looked up and thought, “I don’t want to preach from a pair of crutches on Easter Sunday.” So I did the only thing I could think of. I started to yell, “Help!” Not really, but I did say in a rather distressed voice, “Is there anyone out there?” Much to my relief, a woman and her daughter were also there. I said, “I’m locked in the bathroom.” She said, “Do you want me to go get someone?” I said, “Well someone from the outside is going to have to get the door unlocked.” Long story short, the lady on the outside was able to open the door to let me out. As I finished laughing at myself, I recalled what I had said to the lady. “Someone from the outside is going to have to get me out of here.” Do you know that’s what Jesus did through His death and resurrection? He unlocked the door of sin and death where I had been a prisoner, where I had worried and been fearful over my future and daily life, where I had been surrounded and confined by the burden of my sin without any hope of crawling under it or going over it or ever getting out of it. He came from the outside of my mess and unlocked the door so I could go free. I had gotten in, but I couldn’t get myself out. I want to tell you about the crucifixion and resurrection was that even though Roman officials accused people inside the ranks of Jesus’ disciples of having something to do with the disappearing body, It was an OUTside job. There was no other way it could have happened. The whole thing, from start to finish, the purchasing of forgiveness of sins, it had to be done by someone on the outside of the whole mess. Someone who wasn’t trapped in their own sin had to be the One to open the door to let us out. Another human couldn’t have taken care of our sin problem. It could only be accomplished by God Himself. Jesus, fully divine, yet fully human, came to earth to open the door to a personal relationship with God and the door of eternal life in heaven with Him forever. Hebrews 2:14-18 14 Since the children (that’s us) have flesh and blood, he too shared in their humanity so that by his death he might destroy him who holds the power of death–that is, the devil– 15 and free those who all their lives were held in slavery by their fear of death. Verse 17-17 For this reason he had to be made like his brothers in every way, in order that he might become a merciful and faithful high priest in service to God, and that he might make atonement for the sins of the people. 18 Because he himself suffered when he was tempted, he is able to help those who are being tempted. One of the mysteries of the Christian faith is the fact that Jesus was and is God and that when He walked the earth, Jesus Christ was also fully human. One moment the Lord Jesus Christ was robed in robes of glory. The next moment He was wrapped in swaddling clothes. God became a man. Hebrews 2:14 declares it. However, Jesus, the eternal God became a man uniquely. When you and I are born, when we become people, when we are born into the human family, we have eyes, ears, nose, mouth—we partake of flesh and blood. Jesus shared in our humanity in every way but one. We were born with a sin disease, passed on from Adam and Eve’s sin. “Just as sin entered the world through one man (that is Adam and Eve) and death through sin, and in this way death came to all men, for all have sinned.” (Romans 5:12) Jesus’ humanity had a uniqueness about it. He became a man by means of the virgin birth, so He was born sinless. Not only was He born sinless, but He lived a sinless life. Hebrews 4:15 says that “He was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin.” He became a man, but He became a man uniquely, making Him an outsider, different from us. He also became a man voluntarily. He decided to be born. You and I didn’t decide to be born. We weren’t just floating out there and one day had the idea, “I think I’ll be born” and there we were! No. You just woke up one day and there you were. In fact, when I was born I was so astounded it took me almost a year to say my first words! We had no choice in the matter. Jesus chose to be born. He became a man uniquely. He became a man voluntarily. It’s an astounding thought. God took upon Himself human nature apart from human sin and He voluntarily chose to be born as a human being. In Philippians 2, Jesus is said to be “in very nature God” (verse 6). The New Testament continuously insists that Jesus is God: