As I drove I had the radio tuned to WMBI, the radio station of Moody Bible Institute in Chicago. I enjoy much of the Christian programming that comes out of WMBI, whether it is music, teaching, preaching or just talk. Saturday afternoons are devoted to music, and not surprisingly, yesterday the program was all Easter music. It was a nice blend of old hymns, favorite popular Christian songs that I have enjoyed for decades, and some of the newer beautiful songs that are currently being played on the radio.
As I listened to the lyrics about the cross, the empty tomb, a risen Savior, love, grace and victory, a deep feeling of contentment and joy came over me. This is what Easter is all about, I thought – the Gospel, pure and simple. That Christ died for our sin, was buried and rose again. I thought of I Corinthians 15: 1-4. “Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the gospel which I preached unto you, which also ye have received, and wherein ye stand; by which also ye are saved… For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures.”
The Gospel – pure. The plan of Father, Son and Holy Spirit since before the foundations of the world that the sinless and beloved Son of God would take upon Himself the sin of the world and pay the penalty of our sin – the redemption of blood. “In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace; Wherein he hath abounded toward us in all wisdom and prudence; Having made known unto us the mystery of his will, according to his good pleasure which he hath purposed in himself: That in the dispensation of the fulness of times he might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven, and which are on earth; even in him: In whom also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestinated according to the purpose of him who worketh all things after the counsel of his own will.” (Ephesians 1:7-11) The plan that included victory over death and sin and Satan for all eternity. “O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory? But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.” (I Corinthians 15:55, 57)
The Gospel – simple. So simple that there is nothing left for the sinner to do to receive that redemption but to believe. “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.” (Romans 10:9) So simple that even a little child can believe. So simple that we have only to become as little children and open up our hearts – and simply believe. “Verily I say unto you, Whosoever shall not receive the kingdom of God as a little child shall in no wise enter therein.” (Luke 18:17)
The beauty of Easter is not in a pretty spring day. It is not in a church filled with lilies or tulips or daffodils. It is not in lovely spring dresses or new shoes. It is not in a basket full of colored eggs and chocolate bunnies. It is not in a table filled with ham and fruit salad and cheesecake, and not even in the family and friends gathered ‘round that table. The beauty of Easter is in an old rugged, blood-stained cross, and a rough-hewn stone rolled away from an empty tomb. The beauty of Easter is in the love of a Father who gave His beloved Son, and the love of a Savior who gave His everything.
It is as pure and simple as that.