— by Mark Avery, General Manager and Editor, Herald and Banner Press, from his article in the December Banner.
Thirty-three years. Nearly half of a thirty-three year life span today gets one old enough to qualify for a driver’s license in most states. Often the balance of those thirty-three years involves finishing high school and college, marriage and the beginning of a family, and getting started in a career.
Three and a half years is not very long. Church leaders say that a pastors most effective years begin after his sixth year in a given location. Jesus did not have time to waste. Nor would any of us consider His three and a half years of ministry in vain. Traveling from town to town, teaching in the streets, synagogues, and open places, He got His message across. Healing was an important ministry. He touched the sick, the blind, and the lame and they were healed. The dead rose to life; lepers were made whole; the demon-possessed were freed.
Then Jesus died. His body was placed in a grave. Roman soldiers guarded the sealed tomb so the disciples who had already run away could not steal His body. It was over. The teacher, healer, supposed Messiah was dead.
It was over.
It was over for three days, that is. The story is too long to tell here, but you know it. You can read it again in the Gospels. Sunday morning after He was crucified, Jesus was no longer in the grave. He met some of the ladies who visited the garden tomb. In turn, they told others who told others.
That is what Christmas is about. The same message comes through in the Easter story. The gospel message, focused in the person of Jesus Christ, is still the powerful, life-changing force Jesus designed it to be. It will change you. If you share this message with others, it will change them, too.