“The Easter message remains as relevant today as at any time in human history…. Jesus offers an
alternative life transforming narrative that can be accessed by anyone. Easter celebrates this fact.”
THE MESSAGE OF EASTER CAN STILL CHANGE LIVES
In an age where more and more people are ignorant of the power of the Easter Story, Rev
David Shosanya shares that the message of Jesus, dying on the cross to bring about the spiritual
transformation, still has the power to change lives
Allow me to share two stories. Some time ago, I was speaking at a church in East London. The
sermon was about to come to an end and I was to make an altar call. “Eyes closed and heads bowed,
please”, I requested. I then asked the congregation to respect the solemn moment of individuals
being confronted with a decision that may ultimately determine their eternal destiny. I proceeded
to ask if there was anyone present who wanted to commit their lives to following the teachings of
Jesus Christ. There was silence, for a moment. Then some responses. One, in particular, springs to
mind. It was a young lady, a teenager, who recognised her need for a life-transforming encounter
with Jesus. She got up from her seat, and walked towards the front of the church.
As the young lady approached, I sensed that God was speaking and wanted to say something to
her. He did! I shared the thought that was on my mind. It was all so simple – perhaps a thought that
passes through the minds of most people who respond positively to an invitation from a preacher
to leave their self-centered life and to follow Christ: ‘I don’t think that I can make it.’ I looked at
the young lady and said to her, “You don’t think that you can make it, do you?” She replied, “No, I
don’t”. At that point, I felt the Holy Spirit urge me to ask if she had ever smoked a spliff, and how
she felt after smoking it. Yes, all this was happening in the service, as others were responding to the
altar call… The church was praying for me at this stage! The young lady said that she had smoked
a spliff and that she felt invincible. I told her that the sense of invincibility she felt was what would
happen to her when the Holy Spirit filled her life with His power. She began to weep, then said a
prayer to commit her life to following Jesus, and was baptised.
The second story I read in a book about Post-Christendom. The author was illustrating the extent to
which society at large, particularly the younger generations, had become largely ignorant of both
the stories and personalities present in the Bible.
The author narrates a story of a young boy, who was present in an assembly delivered by a local
Christian. The speaker, a woman, constantly made reference to Jesus by name, and shared stories
about His life and teaching. Once the talk was over, the young boy raised his hand with a view to
asking a question: “Miss”, he said, “Why did they give the Man you were talking about a swear
word for His Name?” The young boy had only ever heard of Jesus in the context of His Name being
used in a disparaging and dismissive manner.
I recount these two stories, because they both highlight the need for the Church to offer a
comprehensive yet simple account of the Easter story.
Easter is not about eggs and entertainment. To say that is not to disregard the symbolism of the
egg as a sign of life, or to suggest that we should not enjoy the company of family and friends
during this holiday season. However, the danger remains that, in the midst of exchanges of gifts and
enjoying the pleasantries of the season, we overlook what we are, in fact, meant to be celebrating.
Easter is about the birth, life, death, resurrection and ascension of Jesus Christ, the Son of God,
who died for our sins, and who has the potential and capacity to transform lives that are freely
and willingly submitted to Him. Denying one’s self and following Christ can be a difficult
message to proclaim and to swallow in a consumer age. The significant and rapid developments
in technological advancement; the age of austerity, and a general sense of hopelessness that
pervades the outlook of many individuals, communities and societies, has the potential of eroding
the relevance of Jesus Christ to life in the 21st century. However, as churches and individuals,
Christians must not fall victim to this outlook of despair.
The Easter message remains as relevant today as at any time in human history. An encounter with
Jesus continues to inspire human beings to look inside, to stare the contradictions, paradoxes and
often hidden realities of human nature, and not to be bound or defined by them. Jesus offers an
alternative life-transforming narrative that can be accessed by anyone. Easter celebrates this fact.
The challenge we face today is to retain a sense of courage and clarity to make the Easter message
relevant to the rapidly-changing world in which we live. I wish you a very Happy Easter, where
Christ is remembered and celebrated.
Rev David Shosanya is a Regional Minister & Director with the London Baptist Association.