I love Easter on every level. It’s such a wonderful opportunity for the Church to shine; our church and churches all around the globe.
Many of you would never miss this occasion to gather with your church family and worship Jesus – remembering His death and celebrating His resurrection. But this year, we face the reality that perhaps for the first time in history, church buildings will be closed all over the world. Obviously, this Holy weekend is going to look different than what we are used to, but it will still be wonderful. Church is coming to us – right to you – and right inside your own home.
For your family and friends, this Easter will also look different as we all endeavour to abide by restrictions to our normal way of life. But if there’s one thing that doesn’t need to change, it is our values and our priorities – worshipping Jesus and making time for the people we love.
I have many cherished memories of both our church and our family at Easter time from the years when our kids were growing up. We juggled being heavily involved in Hillsong’s Easter services and for at least a season, spending time at the Hawkesbury River in the Northwest of Sydney with not only our own kids, but a whole tribe of their teenage friends. It was the best kind of chaos.
Yes, this weekend will be very different for everyone as the world we live in continues to grapple with the Coronavirus. But praise God, the true power of Easter is the message of Jesus Christ – His death on a cross and His ultimate resurrection from the grave.
The Easter story is anchored in history, yet profoundly current as we remind ourselves that the resurrected Saviour, Jesus Christ is alive, victorious and seated at the right hand of God the Father. It is the ultimate message of new life, victory, hope and freedom as Jesus continues to change lives and set people free.
Worldly religion often paints a picture of a God who wants to keep you low, supressing and oppressing you. It regularly portrays God as angry and judgemental, determined to keep you small. But the Bible paints a very different picture of God… He is a God who lifts you up, who raises, who honours, who exalts. God loves you, and ultimately desires to bless you.
As Paul says in Ephesians 1:3 (NIV)
“Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ.”
And again in 2 Corinthians 9:8 (NIV)
“And God is able to bless you abundantly, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work.”
It’s a message that flows throughout the New Testament, all the way through to the very last chapter of the Bible.
Revelation 21:4 (NIV) reads
“He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death’ or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.”
Don’t get me wrong, God hates sin and evil – He hates it so much He sent His Son and allowed Him to die on the cross to eradicate it. Have you ever asked why God hates evil so much? Because He loves humanity. He loves you. He loves me. And all sin does is distort, corrupt and destroy what God loves.
Psalm 3:3 describes God as the “One who lifts my head” and that is the picture of God we see throughout the Bible; from the very beginning to the glorious end, He is a God who lifts humanity up! Take a moment to let that truth sink in. His whole plan from Genesis all the way through to Revelation – from Creation through the Fall, through Israel, through Jesus, through the Church and through to the end of time – is woven together by His heart to love and lift humanity up.
With Easter approaching, my prayer is for you to remain strong and full of faith and I really do hope you will join us online for our Easter services at hillsong.com/online.
Stay in faith my friend, the best is yet to come.
Global Senior Pastor