Easter: Resolving Family Dysfunction

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The story of Easter is the story of family dysfunction of sorts, and its reconciliation. Christianity says God is the creator of us all. But since he is perfect and all humans have done evil, people have offended him. (Everyone has done something wrong in their lives.) So there is a break in the relationship. In effect, God doesn't talk to us in our natural state. His back is practically turned to humanity. And people have a natural hostility to God. Thus, it's like the dysfunctional family where the father and son don't speak to each other.


So what? If people don't have a relationship with God, what's the big deal? Like the sun which gives life to the planet, God is the author of life, goodness, and love. He's put those attributes into us. You see them in young children, in humans in their most innocent state. As we age, life weighs us down and we load ourselves down with guilt. We lose much of the 'life' God has given to us.


But he can give those back to us. People want to know God. They know he's out there.


People know there is a point to life. The basic question "what is the meaning of life" remains despite our technological age.


People even know there is life after death. The Bible says God "set eternity in the hearts of men". Does this ring true for you? I see headlines every day of people using technology to extend their lives to strive towards immortality. But we'll never reach it. 


Christianity says God, knowing this tragic situation, created a solution. If death is the punishment for the wrong actions of humanity, then God created a workaround. (It seems God, in addition to being creator, also wears a 'judge hat'. It makes sense if he's going to sort out the injustices of life one day. The tyrant, the sociopath don't "win" ultimately. God will call them to answer one day for their crimes.)


God's workaround means that the punishment of death has already been paid. God offered his son Jesus. God preferred to punish his son than to see all of humanity separated from him in this life and the afterlife.


So now...God can extend his hand to all people for a relationship. His back doesn't have to be turned to mankind any longer. Every prayer offered to God in the name of Jesus is heard! Anyone who wants to know God...can. The real hurdle is simply to acknowledge that God is our creator, offended by sin, but offers grace to all through Jesus. Everything is through Jesus.

And as a statement that Jesus's death was from God (not some coincidence that we've gotten confused about), he raised his son Jesus from the dead. Jesus is the only great man who ever claimed to rise from the dead. Does it take faith to believe this? Yes. But no more faith that it does to believe in the Big Bang or in Einstein's theories that people accept even though they have no way of independently verifying these. They go through a checklist of sorts: does this make sense? does this explain how the world works? is this reasonable? are the people who promote these theories deserving of my trust? And they make a decision.



Appendix: Some clarification...Christians still naturally die. We know that. All people will undergo that transition but Christianity says the "Holy Spirit, is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance". That means when we have relationship with God, he comes to live in us. We feel his presence. That is our assurance for our eternity with the author of life, love, and goodness. Put another way, the Bible says to believers: "...the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus." True Christians will have the peace of God resting on their hearts. This is their assurance. 


Ari Silverstein Added Apr 14, 2017 - 8:35am
People know there is a point to life. The basic question "what is the meaning of life" remains despite our technological age.  People even know there is life after death.
I don’t agree with any of that.  I believe all life is a product of evolution. I also don’t believe there is life after death.
Billy Roper Added Apr 14, 2017 - 10:01am
Isn't it great when a Jew chimes in on an article about Easter? That's like me, as a racialist, going to a candlelight vigil for Martin Luther King.
Paul Robbins Added Apr 14, 2017 - 10:41am
What a great article written by Patrick.  The Messiah has come and was crucified by the religious heretics of the day. The good news of the Gospel is that Jesus was raised from the dead; remained on this earth for 40 days and was seen by over 500 believers  before he ascended to heaven.  He had promised His followers that He would sent the Holy Spirit and after 10 days He did.  The day of Pentecost.  And his disciples from that day forth, went to work teaching the Gospel.  When Peter first spoke, over 3,000 believed.  We serve a risen Saviour who will return as He has promised.  Gods laws were fulfilled by His Son Jesus so that we sinners who believe may have life eternal.  Hallelujah!  All Glory belongs to the Lord.  Praise Him!
Dino Manalis Added Apr 14, 2017 - 5:17pm
Happy and Holy Easter!
Ric Wells Added Apr 14, 2017 - 6:32pm
Happy Easter Patrick.
Mircea Negres Added Apr 15, 2017 - 1:28pm
Stigmata (1999)
Friar Petrocelli: “Edward Kiernan?”
Father Kiernan: “Okay…”
Friar Petrocelli: “I went to see Father Alameida”.
Father Kiernan: “I don’t know any Alameida”.
Friar Petrocelli: “Delmonico faxed me his copy of this document…”
Father Kiernan: “The girl wrote this, I saw her do it. What is this?”
Friar Petrocelli: “It’s maybe the most significant Christian relic ever found…”
Father Kiernan: “Why?”
Friar Petrocelli: “It’s an Aramaic scroll from the First Century, discovered near the caves of the Dead
                              Sea Scrolls outside Jerusalem. Alameida and I concluded that it is Gospel, Jesus
                              Christ in own words, Aramaic, but there are some factions in The Vatican who
                              believe that this document could destroy the authority of the modern Church.”
Father Kiernan: “How?”
Friar Petrocelli: “It was Jesus’ words to His disciples, on the night of His Last Supper, His instructions
                              to them on how to continue His Church after His death.”
Father Kiernan: “Why would that be so, so threatening?”
Friar Petrocelli: “When we gave our initial conclusions to the Gospel Commission, Houseman
                              ordered us to stop our work immediately- Alameida refused, he stole the document
                              and disappeared.  Houseman excommunicated us in our absence.”
Father Kiernan: “You’ve no idea where he is?”
Friar Petrocelli: “He doesn’t want to be caught until he finishes the translation. That’s Delmonico,
                              me and Alameida, we were all translating the new Gospel together.”
Father Kiernan: “I’ve seen this man, three weeks ago, in Brazil.”
Friar Petrocelli: “Yeah.”
Father Kiernan: “He’s dead.”
Friar Petrocelli: “How do you know this?”
Father Kiernan: “Because I saw him in his coffin in the church of Bello Quinto… I’m sorry.”
Friar Petrocelli: “Then it’s all over, it’s gone forever.”
Father Kiernan: “Why was your work stopped, what was so threatening about this gospel?”
Friar Petrocelli: “Look around you, Father. What do you see?”
Father Kiernan: “I see a church”
Friar Petrocelli: “It’s a building. The true Church of Jesus Christ is so much more, not of buildings
                              made of wood and stone… I love Jesus! I don’t need an institution between Him
                              and me! You see- just God and man, no priests, no churches. The first words
                              in Jesus’ Gospel are “The kingdom of is inside you and all around you, not in
                              buildings of wood and stone. Split a piece of wood and I’m there. Lift a stone and…”
Father Kiernan: “I am there.”
Friar Petrocelli: “Yes, Father.”
Mircea Negres Added Apr 15, 2017 - 1:34pm
Apologies for how it appears, I had to transcribe it for my mother just now, and pasted it here in reply. Still, the words at the end (from "Look around you, Father. What do you see?"vdownwards) probably encompass more of Christianity than Bible, dogma and Christian philosophy have in the 1984 years since the death of Yeshua bar Yosef...
Mircea Negres Added Apr 15, 2017 - 1:38pm
Um, yeah- Yeshua bar Yosef was the actual name of Jesus Christ. What is it with the world and its need to change names in order to suit itself?
Patrick Writes Added Apr 16, 2017 - 7:36am
Thanks all for comments (and for reading). Happy Easter. 
This isn't the sort of post that I feel the need to debate. You are entitled to your opinions and beliefs in the realm of spirituality and faith. 
@Mircea - My understanding is you're correct. Jesus would have been called Yeshua in Aramaic, the spoken language of his day. But since the New Testament was written in Greek, the Greek form of that name was Jesus. (And Christ is simply the Greek word for Messiah.)

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