Even the church buildings are empty in Sweden and around the world.
This does not mean that we are not able to “celebrate” Easter. The Bible says that “the word of God is not chained” (2 Tim 2:9). Never have we had such an opportunity to dive into the true history, meaning and application of the Passover holiday.
Recently, I thought about an interview that I saw on TV in the 90s. A man, who had just taken up his duties as the archbishop of the Lutheran church in Sweden, was interviewed. The man who interviewed him, Göran Skytte, described himself at the time as a “seeker”. Later, he became a Christian with a very clear testimony. During the interview, Skytte pressured the bishop concerning a few issues. He wanted to know whether he believed in a Living God or if he considered “God” to be a manmade concept. Furthermore, he desired to know if he considered the resurrection to be a real physical event. Or, did he just believe it was “wishful thinking” on the disciples’ part, serving as an inspiration for them to carry on the message conveyed to them by Jesus during His earthly life. After much “mangling”, the head of the Lutheran church admitted that he didn’t believe in a Living God, neither did he believe in a literal resurrection. In his mind, God was only a “concept”. The resurrection was just the reviving of the great memories in the minds of the disciples. This served as a muse to later build the “Christian church”.
Many of you probably remember our old friend Michael Ewens, who is now with the Lord. During his lifetime, this connoisseur of the art of living had many different jobs. One of them was to drive a transportation service bus. Sometimes he drove a young disabled lady who studied at a seminary. She told him that she and another student were the only ones who believed in a Living God. Altogether, they were 19 people in the class. The other 17 considered “God” to be a manmade concept, perhaps capable of making the world a little bit better, if correctly applied.
Is the situation better in the evangelical community in Sweden? Perhaps a little bit, but, unfortunately, we see many negative trends related to how believers view the Bible, God’s inspired, eternal and infallible Word (Ps 119:89; 2 Tim 3:16-17; 2 Pet 1:21). Not all have toed the line, though. We believe expectantly that this elongated country accommodates many Christians who love the Word of God and its content.
Whatever is the case, today we can rejoice over the fact that our names are written in the Book of Life in Heaven (Luke 10:20). God has rock solid control over all things. Our days were also written in a book before we were born (Ps 139:16). A further book is mentioned. The one who records the conversations of those who are excited about the Lord and His mighty deeds (Mal 3:16). We would love to appear in many chapters in that book, correct?
We don’t have to doubt. God is real, a Living God in Heaven, who will come back physically to rescue us from the wrath to come (1 Thess 1:10). Equally real is His resurrection. The Apostle Paul says that he delivered to the Corinthians the most important things – Christ died for our sins, was buried and rose again on the third day (1 Cor 15:3-4). Those who belong to a “Christianity” that denies the resurrection are considered to be the most pitiable of all men in this world (1 Cor 15:19).
God, who is spirit and therefore invisible, is obviously difficult to grasp for the finite and fallen human mind (John 4:24; Col 1:15; 1 Tim 1:17). However, through the incarnation, Christ has “declared Him”, or made Him known (John 1:18). The Greek word used here (translated “declared” in the NKJV) is the word where we get the English word exegesis. To exegete means to bring out the meaning of a text. In other words, the incarnated Son has exegeted the Father, or “brought out” the “content” of God, in such a way that we can comprehend Him (cf. Heb 1:3).
Concepts cannot save, deliver or protect. Furthermore, a concept cannot be resurrected from the dead. Contrarywise, a Living God, whose Son has been resurrected in a glorified human body, is capable of those things. In this body, He will come back to earth to fetch His bride, the church (John 14:1-3; 1 Cor 15:51-52; 1 Thess 4:13-18).
This resurrection power is now at work in our lives all the time, not just during Easter and when the Corona virus is ravaging (Rom 8:11). The Bible says that to deny the incarnation, and thus the resurrection, is to manifest the spirit of antichrist (1 John 4:1-3).
It is through the confession of the death and resurrection of Christ that we pass on hope to a fallen and dying world. This year, we have countless opportunities to convey this message, despite the unusual circumstances we are dealing with.
We can joyfully declare what Paul said 2000 years ago – “But now Christ is risen from the dead, and has become the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep” (1 Cor 15:20).
Happy Easter and God bless!