The Moderator of the Presbyterian Church in Ireland, Rt Rev Dr Ian McNie, reflecting on the impact of the Easter story on his own life, has called for people to allow it to transform their lives too.
In his Easter address he said the resurrection of Christ had resonated down through the ages, impacting and transforming the lives of millions of people.
What happened at the Cross, he said, was God’s ultimate response in order that forgiveness, reconciliation, peace and salvation could emerge in keeping with God’s ultimate plan for the world.
“The circumstances surrounding that first Easter morning have been for many down the ages the subject of much debate and division. But for generations this unique event has changed the lives of millions of people who have been transformed by the power of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, through His life, death and resurrection.
“What happened at the Cross and that ‘Easter Rising’ nearly 2,000 years ago, was God’s ultimate response in order that forgiveness, reconciliation, peace and salvation could emerge and a new kingdom would be established in keeping with His plan for the world.
“Frank Morison, a sceptic of Christianity, attempted to write a book about what he saw as the ‘myth’ of the resurrection. After careful research he published a book entitled ‘Who moved the Stone?’ The first chapter he called, ‘The book that refused to be written’.
“Having examined the facts around the first Easter, he confessed that his initial belief, originally calculated to discredit the bodily resurrection of Jesus Christ, simply did not hold water. He concluded with the words, ‘The third day He rose again from the dead’.”
Dr McNie said one indisputable fact associated with Christ’s resurrection had been the phenomenal growth of the Christian Church: “Christ’s resurrection has taken the world by storm, drawing people from every age and generation to the Gospel of God’s Grace.
“No other single event in history has touched and changed the lives of so many people. As it continues to impact and transform today, I simply ask: Has it impacted you?
“The church of Jesus Christ today has been entrusted with a responsibility and message that no other institution, or organisation, has been called to share. In simple terms, the Church is commissioned to present the unique message of the Gospel of Jesus Christ; a message that calls people to respond to the teaching and work of Jesus Christ in order to become Children of God.
“This response leads to self-examination, repentance and acceptance of Jesus Christ as our Saviour. My personal response to the Gospel has enabled me to understand clearly the meaning of life: Where did I come from? Why am I here? Where am I going? How will I get there?
“The resurrection of Our Lord Jesus Christ has impacted me, as it has millions of others. I hope and pray that this Easter it impacts you.”