Better than dying for you…

The Good News–what Christians like me call “The Gospel”–is not that Jesus died.

No, that is the bad news.

Who would say it is good news to see their Hero die for crimes he didn’t commit?

Who would say it is good news to see their Hope hang hopeless on a stake in the ground?

No, the death of Jesus is not good news. It is bad news.

No, not even that.

It’s not news at all.

It’s what we expect.

We’re not blind. We read the headlines. We scan social media.

We’re old enough to know: This is the world in which we live.

This is what the world does to our heroes and our hopes.

And, more sadly, this seems to be what our heroes and our hopes always to do us in the end.

The world we know all too well killed the Hero, killed the Hope.

It would be bad news if it was news at all.

But then comes the morning of the third day after the world did what the world always does.

The news on the morning three days after the Hero and the Hope died on Skull Hill–that news is real news.

It is good news.

He is risen.

That Jesus died is not news. The world kills heroes and hopes all the time.

That Jesus died “for you” is nice, but also pointless and sad, unless…

Jesus came back to life for you, too.

And he did.

He is risen.

As sure as birth.

As sure as spring.

As sure as the sunrise.

As sure as the flower breaking through a crack in the dirty sidewalk.

As sure as the forest springing up where an industrial wasteland used to be.

As sure as the next breath and the next heartbeat.

As sure as the universe is a newborn that keeps growing deeper and wider in all directions, swallowing up the Nothing in cosmic life.

The great lie is that death is ultimate.

It is not.

He is risen and with him comes the truth: Life, not death, is inevitable.

Life will have its way with all of it.

Because he is risen.

This is news.

This is good news.

This is the Gospel.

The Hero, the Hope died for you.

But, more important, he lives for you.

He is risen.

He is risen indeed.

And because of that, this old world and everything about it that is dead and dying will also rise with him.

You will rise with him.

Do you believe?

Happy Easter.


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One of the best Thanksgivings of my life

This is the story of how my emptiest Thanksgiving turned out to be my fullest. The year was 1998. I was a senior at Harding University in Searcy, Arkansas. That year, as always, my dad and mom hosted a big Thanksgiving celebration at... Continue →