For all the brokenness in the world —all the devastation, hurt, pain, and heartache; the 33% of children that go to bed without a daddy, the school shootings, the 1 in 3 girls who are sexually abused, three-month old babies that go to sleep one night and never wake up, for all of it, does biblical Christianity have an answer? What is the impetus for the “churches on every corner” in Fort Worth? For the tens of thousands that will congregate on Easter Sunday, wearing their best suit or Spring dress? Is it merely a cultural tradition to adhere to? Is there really a truth or reality to celebrate? Lying within this particular Sunday that draws in even those furthest away from God into a building they normally wouldn’t be caught dead in (except for, well, if they were literally dead…where else would the funeral be?), is there an answer to all that is broken?
N.T. Wright said,
“Take away Easter and Karl Marx was probably right to accuse Christianity of ignoring problems of the material world. Take it away and Freud was probably right to say Christianity is wish-fulfillment. Take it away and Nietzsche was probably right to say it was for wimps.”
The Apostle Paul claimed something similar, “If Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile and you are still in your sins…[Christians] are of all people most to be pitied” (1 Corinthians 15:17, 19). If Easter isn’t true Christians should be “pitied”? Really? South Park shouldn’t make fun of us, they should feel sorry for us? Jon Stewart shouldn’t mock us, he should pity us?
What about all the good we do? What about the programs we offer, the poor we serve (kind of…), the great services we put on, the “relevant”, practical teaching? It’s all for naught?
What this world needs, what our Southern, Bible-belt culture needs, what Fort Worthians need, is not relevance or cool, tradition, morality or religion, more conservative politics or liberal progression, what we need is an answer to the brokenness.
The message of Easter is that God fixes brokenness. How? By becoming broken for us! Jesus —perfect, spotless, sinless…unbroken— is broken on the cross. Physically, he is beaten, scourged, and crucified. Emotionally, he is mocked, reviled, and shamed. Relationally, he is abandoned and betrayed. Financially, he is stripped of all that he owned. Spiritually, the sins of the world are laid upon him and the wrath of the Father is poured out —our sins and wrath we deserved. He was broken. Jesus died.
But that’s not all. It didn’t end there. His last breath wasn’t his last. No pulse, no heartbeat, no life…and then there was! He raised to life, conquering death. As John Owen said, it was “the death of death in the death of Christ.” Jesus physically, bodily resurrected from the dead. This means everything!
It means Nietzsche was wrong, Christianity represents the greatest power, power to raise things from the dead. Freud was wrong, a Risen Christ is our only hope. And Christians should absolutely care for the material world because our God rose in bodily, physical form, announcing that this world does matter.
But most importantly, the resurrection of Jesus Christ shouts, “God fixes brokenness!” God in Christ entered brokenness with us, he was broken in our place, and he conquered brokenness for us.
“On Friday a thief
On Sunday a King
Laid down in grief
But awoke with keys
Of Hell on that day
The first born of the slain
The Man Jesus Christ
Laid death in his grave”
– John Mark McMillian, Death in His Grave