I tend not to listen to the news very often. I glance at the BBC news website once or twice a day, but that’s about all I can cope with. Everything is upside down. So much of this world and so much of our lives are disordered and out of joint. I’ve lived outside of America for so long that I find it difficult to understand what is happening in my own country. I’m a stranger in a strange land. Christians are all strangers in a strange land because ‘our citizenship is in heaven [Phil 3.20].’
Two thousand years ago, one weekend changed the course of world history. It was such an unlikely setting for such an unusual event, and yet more than 2 billion people on this planet will celebrate these events with great joy. The death, burial and resurrection of Jesus changed human history. Jesus continues to change individual human histories. His story somehow intersects with our story in a way that Jesus never leaves where he finds us.
Two scenes in Acts demonstrate the impact of Jesus. There was a riot in Thessalonica. The message of Jesus was turning the world upside down, or more accurately, Jesus was turning the world right side up.
But when they did not find them, they dragged Jason and some other believers before the city officials, shouting: “These men who have caused trouble all over the world have now come here, and Jason has welcomed them into his house. They are all defying Caesar’s decrees, saying that there is another king, one called Jesus.” [Acts 17:6 – 7]
The reaction may differ, but the claims of Jesus remain the same. Jesus was King then, and Jesus remains King now. He demands and deserves the first place in our hearts.
Later, Festus was giving a handover to King Agrippa about an unusual prisoner named Paul. The charges against the prisoner were unique,
When his accusers got up to speak, they did not charge him with any of the crimes I had expected. Instead, they had some points of dispute with him about their own religion and about a dead man named Jesus, who Paul claimed was alive. Acts 25:18–19
If Jason was getting hassle because Jesus was King, Paul was in big trouble because Jesus was alive. This dead man called Jesus refused to stay dead. He is alive now and forever.
As we celebrate Easter 2023, Jesus is King, and Jesus is alive. Following Jesus is never easy. There is no other way because there is no other Saviour.
Following Jesus is never easy. There is no other way because there is no other Saviour.
Whenever you feel that this world is messed up or you are messed up, please remember:
Jesus came into this world.
Jesus lived, Jesus died, and Jesus rose again.
Jesus loves us.
Jesus put us right.
One day Jesus will put right all that is messed up.
On Easter, when someone says, ‘Christ is Risen!’ Respond warmly, ‘He is risen indeed!’
Best wishes for a Happy Easter.
Your friend, Bob Akroyd (Free Church of Scotland Moderator Designate)