By Bill Webb
Sunday is the most significant holiday on the Christian calendar, Easter -- or Resurrection -- Sunday. That is the commemoration of the day in history when God revealed the final detail of His plan for mankind, including victory over death.
This was the day in history when God ultimately revealed His character and assured His followers that the Way of Christ was the only way to live life as He intended. This was the day when what had seemed senseless to the disciples made perfect sense. This was the day that -- as a friend of mine describes it - God staked the devil to a chain, forever limiting the evil one's influence on believers.
It was on this day and in the days following that God defined what Messiah really was about. God revealed that He had something bigger in mind than the Kingdom of Israel. He invited mankind to become a part of the kingdom of God, a concept that even today theologians struggle to fully understand.
This was the day that God declared that He stood on the side of struggling and sinful humanity, and that people had only to accept His offer to come over to His side to discover fully why they had been created in the first place.
It is remarkable enough that Jesus the Messiah would bear the sins of the world and present Himself as a sacrificial lamb - as an expendable animal, no less -- to fulfill His destiny and set the ultimate example for those who would be come His namesakes -- Christians, as they were first called in Antioch.
It was no small thing that Jesus submitted Himself to a violent and demeaning death for followers and would-be followers who were fickle and fair-weather at best in their devotion.
It was the day that humankind -- without really realizing it -- laid all its burdens upon the back of the Messiah. In actuality, He voluntarily lifted those burdens.
The historicity of that day in old Jerusalem is important to us today. Christians hang their hats on the reality of those miraculous events.
But each believer has his or her specific Easter, when the reality of a personal commitment and an eternal relationship with God through Jesus became a reality. Many of us can recall the moment in time when we experienced the reality.
The purpose of the thoughts in this column are to remind those who already have a relationship with God of all that they have to be grateful for. But I also write for the benefit of those who stand outside a relationship with Christ.
Spiritual salvation is not something a person can work out, develop or achieve on his own. No one has ever pulled himself into heaven by his bootstraps. There is no such thing as a self-made Christian.
By the same token, God does not hide salvation from those who desire and seek it. His love, mercy and grace are freely given. In fact, He is by one description "the hound of heaven" who relentlessly pursues every person. His gift of eternal life is freely given.
The Scriptures are clear that every person has sinned and fallen short of a glorious relationship with God, who made a way to bridge the gap between sinners and Himself in the form of Jesus.
If you have a place in the kingdom, give thanks. If you haven't yet gotten serious about your relationship to Christ, do something about it. Now is all the time any of us have. God bless you.