Listen to the Easter Alarm
The past few months our church has been experiencing problems with our fire alarm system. The first problem was a notification from the fire panel that our phone lines were not functioning – no dial tone. The phone company told me they could check it out the following week; they did not feel my sense of urgency with a fire panel unable to notify the fire department.
The second problem occurred a week or so later when the panel started buzzing again; this time due to a ground fault somewhere in the wiring. Our support company said they would be glad to help, but since the problem was intermittent it would need to be in fault when their technician arrived to trace it. Of course, it was working correctly by the time they arrived.
Then one day, about a month and a half ago, I walked in the doors and the whole alarm system went off. Horns blaring, strobes flashing, bells ringing. There was no fire and in a panic mode I called the alarm company to report a false alarm while someone else found the alarm silent button. When the fire company arrived, they said that the smoke detector had triggered the false alarm – maybe a spider had crossed the photo sensor…
Then a week later, while a homeschool group was using the building, the alarm went off two more times; the second time after a company cleaned the sensor. After another call to the support company someone came and change some settings in our panel. I have a new smoke detector on order, should this not solve our problem.
What’s my point is? When I apologized to the firemen about their having to come out on false alarms they said it was their job. Firemen cannot assume that there is no problem when an alarm goes off. A wrong assumption could be deadly.
There is a spiritual lesson here for us to consider as Easter approaches. While you know the story of Easter, have you taken the message seriously or have you blown it off? Many of today’s so called intellectuals, scoff at what they deem a feel-good message of Easter. Like some in Jesus’ day, they know the truth - dead people don’t raise. On the surface their assumption may appear reasonable, at least until we take an honest examination of the evidence for the resurrection.
According to the Apostle Paul, the Christian faith either stands or falls on the truthfulness of the resurrection. Paul presents his argument saying, “Now brothers, I want to clarify for you the gospel I proclaimed to you; you received it and have taken your stand on it. You are also saved by it, if you hold to the message I proclaimed to you—unless you believed for no purpose.” (1 Corinthians 15:1-2)
What is this gospel? That, “Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that He was buried, that He was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, and that He appeared to Cephas, then to the Twelve. Then He appeared to over 500 brothers at one time; most of them are still alive, but some have fallen asleep.” (3b-6) Notice how their hope was established in both the facts and in the testimony of eyewitnesses. Together these offer assurance.
Contrary to what some may say, our hope isn’t found in a belief in the resurrection, it is in the historical truth of the resurrection. For, “If there is no resurrection of the dead, then Christ has not been raised. And if Christ has not been raised, then your faith is useless and you are still guilty of your sins. In that case, all who have died believing in Christ are lost!” (16-18) If the resurrection is nothing more than wishful thinking then we are fools. Yet, we have hope because Christ did rise from the dead as Paul concludes, “But in fact, Christ has been raised from the dead. He is the first of a great harvest of all who have died.” (20)
What does this mean for us? This Easter don’t ignore the alarms. What alarms? Those calling us to examine the claims of Christ and to recognize our brokenness and our need for wholeness before God and to receive the salvation he died to give you. Remember, “If you confess with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.” (Romans 10:9) This Easter heed the call of the gospel that saves us.