The most important “Breaking News” that has ever been told is this: “Jesus Saves”.
God’s redeeming love and restoration plan, for humankind to come into the right and close relationship with Himself, comes to its highest point in the saving events of the Lord Jesus Christ - His death on the cross and His resurrection from the dead:
“Let me now remind you, dear brothers and sisters, of the Good News I preached to you... It is this Good News that saves you. I passed on to you what was most important and what had also been passed on to me. Christ died for our sins, just as the Scriptures said. He was buried, and he was raised from the dead on the third day, just as the Scriptures said” (1 Corinthians 15:1-4).
This Bible text tells us the Gospel or the Good News by which we are saved. It is a brief summary of the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ.
At the Easter festival, in remembrance of Jesus Christ, we celebrate His saving events.
First, that Jesus died to save us, according to the Scriptures (primarily of the Old Testament; and for us today of the New Testament too).
These Scriptures include the following:
“He was despised and rejected— a man of sorrows, acquainted with deepest grief. We turned our backs on him and looked the other way. He was despised, and we did not care. Yet it was our weaknesses he carried; it was our sorrows[a] that weighed him down. And we thought his troubles were a punishment from God, a punishment for his own sins! But he was pierced for our rebellion, crushed for our sins.
He was beaten so we could be whole. He was whipped so we could be healed. All of us, like sheep, have strayed away. We have left God’s paths to follow our own. Yet the Lord laid on him the sins of us all” (Isaiah 53:3-6 NLT).
“He personally carried our sins in his body on the cross so that we can be dead to sin and live for what is right. By his wounds you are healed” (1 Peter 2:24 NLT).
“For God made Christ, who never sinned, to be the offering for our sin, so that we could be made right with God through Christ” (2 Corinthians 5:21 NLT).
“He was handed over to die because of our sins, and he was raised to life to make us right with God” (Romans 4:25 NLT).
We recall the chorus that sings about this plan of God to save us.
“O the love that drew salvation’s plan
O this grace that brought it down to man
O the mighty gulf that God did span at Calvary
Mercy there was great and free
Pardon there was multiplied to me
There my burdened soul found liberty as Calvary!”
Good Friday was an extraordinary time and something very extraordinary was taking place. God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself. God was saving humankind through the death of Jesus Christ on the Cross! And that is how big a thing was happening!
The Rev. Dr John Stott says: “The Christian faith can be accurately summed up as the faith of Christ crucified”. And he notes the following four-fold construction of Christ’s death for us:
• That Christ died for us (John 10:11,15, Luke 22:19 and Romans 5:8)
• That He died for our good – that He might bring us to God (1 Peter 3:18); that the good He died to obtain for us was our salvation.
• That in order to obtain our salvation for us He died to deal with our sins.
• And that in dying for our sins, it was our death that He died. Jesus died to save us is the awesome Good News!!
Second, Jesus Christ was raised again from the dead. The great Good News or Gospel that saves us is inseparably two-in-one: “the death and resurrection of Christ”. A preacher has said: “Christ’s death on the cross is the victory; and His resurrection is the public display of the victory!! Christ conquered death and rose triumphant from the grave to life. Jesus rose from the dead according to the Scriptures:
“For you will not leave my soul among the dead or allow your holy one to rot in the grave” (Psalm 16:10 NLT).
“But in fact, Christ has been raised from the dead. He is the first of a great harvest of all who have died.” (See 1 Corinthians 15:20-23 NLT).
“Through Christ you have come to trust in God. And you have placed your faith and hope in God because he raised Christ from the dead and gave him great glory” 1 Peter 1:21 NLT).
In Christ, we have the victory. Indeed, Jesus Christ alone, has the power to save us and give us an inheritance in heaven.
What should be our response to this “Good News” of Jesus obtaining salvation for us through
His death and resurrection? How can we too experience the full and free salvation He gives?
When the Apostle Peter preached Christ and His Good News to people in Jerusalem, there was a good response:
“Peter’s words pierced their hearts, and they said to him and to the other apostles, “Brothers, what should we do?” Peter replied, “Each of you must repent of your sins and turn to God, and be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. Then you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit” (Acts 2:37, 38 NLT).
And we read in Romans 10:1-3, 9 “Dear brothers and sisters, the longing of my heart and my prayer to God is for the people of Israel to be saved. I know what enthusiasm they have for God, but it is misdirected zeal.
For they don’t understand God’s way of making people right with himself… If you openly declare that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved”.
The Bible is clear on this: “And this is what God has testified: He has given us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. Whoever has the Son has life; whoever does not have God’s Son does not have life” (1 John 5:11, 12 NLT).
“What can wash away my sins, nothing but the blood of Jesus?”
Who saves? It is only Jesus who saves. Not the Pastor; not fat donations in Church; not leadership positions in Church can save you. The Bible says, “God saved you by his grace
when you believed. And you can’t take credit for this; it is a gift from God. Salvation is not a reward for the good things we have done, so none of us can boast about it” (Ephesians 2:8, 9 NLT).
At Easter, it is time to look on Jesus on the cross as our sin bearer; then we should turn away from our sin and rebellion to God and His Word and the things of God. We then turn to Christ and ask Him to save us. Jesus alone saves. Jesus truly saves.
The author is a consultant in authentic Christian Spirituality and Discipleship and former CEO of Scripture Union.