What is the “lead story” for Easter?
If you were to ask the average believer what Easter’s “lead story” is, you might receive this response: “God did the biggest miracle of all time.” Or, someone might answer, “God proved that He can do great miracles.” Someone else might answer, “Now we know what our future will be like.” Yet another common response might be, “We now see that humans truly have immortal souls that survive death.” Perhaps a few would answer, “We now see the results of Jesus’ faithfulness and love for the Father.”
But, if we could gather together a few of the “reporters” who were there, and helped write the New Testament, we would perhaps hear these responses to our guesses about the lead story:
“Biggest miracle or God proving God can do great miracles? Well it was stunning to say the least, but it isn’t the lead story for this morning. And, honestly, we have several pretty big miracles in our history with God—liberation from Egypt, Gideon’s victory with just 300 soldiers, the creation of the universe, Daniel’s experiences with God…. And, as Jewish believers, if our God Yahweh cannot do miracles, then whatever God we are talking about isn’t the God of our history.”
“Now we know what our future will be like? Not really. We know we have tastes of God’s future through the working of the Holy Spirit, but we don’t really know what we will be like (1 John 3:2) except that we will be like Jesus when we finally see him again face to face.”
“Immortal souls? No, God alone is immortal (1 Timothy 6:16)! There is nothing inherent in us human beings that is immortal. That thinking and talk came from Plato and from the Eastern religions, not from our history with God. If we are ever to be immortal and imperishable, it will not come from anything inherent in our current humanness, it will come as a future gift from God (Romans 2:7 and 1 Corinthians 15:52-54). That gift will be something new with which God clothes.”
“Jesus’ faithfulness and love for God and for humanity? That is a huge part of the lead story and its good news, but even that isn’t the foundational lead story, as overwhelmingly powerful as it is.”
So, what might those New Testament “reporters” say the lead story is, if it isn’t any of those? Perhaps something along these lines:
“The lead story for this Easter and every Easter morning? God has shown decisively that God truly values, loves, and is faithful to his relationship with human beings. First, with Jesus of Nazareth. It wasn’t some immortal spirit, it was ‘this Jesus of Nazereth…who God made Lord and Messiah’ (Acts 2:22, 32, 36) and granted him to share the very authority and functions of God himself. But, God not only loves Jesus of Nazareth so much that God wants to be with him forever, God loves us—you, me—enough that he wants to be with us forever too.
That is the lead story for today. God is faithful. God is loving. And, we matter to God. It is this gift that God has not only given to Jesus, but through Jesus God is offering to us. (1 Thessalonians 5:23-24)
Pastor Ron Simkins