so a quick recap then:

# everyone has sinned and as the bible says “fallen short of the glory (or high standard) of God”
# the wages/punishment/outcome of sin is death (both now in various areas, but also spiritually and eternally at the end)
# on Easter Friday, the man many believed had come to save the world is lying stretched out on a cross, dying an agonising death.

# one of the statements Jesus calls from the cross is “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do”
# a second statement from the cross is where Jesus asks one of His followers John to look after His mother
# a third statement occurs when Jesus grants salvation to one of the thieves dying on the cross alongside Him, who acknowledges Him and Jesus tells him “this day you will be in paradise with Me.”

but this is where the twist occurs:

# Sunday arrives, the third day, a significant number to God as witnessed throughout the Bible and as spoken of by Jesus while He was alive and the women who are heading to the tomb to anoint the body with traditional herbs are surprised by an empty tomb and the news that Jesus is alive

# various of His followers witness Jesus alive over the next few days – He speaks to them, walks with them, even prepares a fish braai on the beach for some of them and finally He sends them off with a mission [“Go and make disciples of all mankind, baptising them in the name of the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you.”] and then, before their eyes, He is taken up to heaven.

# in John 3.16 Jesus has spoken one of the most well-known passages of scripture to Nicodemus the pharisee who visited Him at night – “For God so loved the world that He sent His only Son that whoever believes in Him will not perish but have eternal life.”

# and so yes, we all have sinned and are all due the penalty of death that is spoken of in the Bible. But God in His love has made a way [which still satisfies His justice] of coming Himself and taking on the punishment in our place [as evidenced throughout most of the Old Testament when an animal was sacrificed in the place of a person and why Jesus is referred to as the lamb of God, fulfilling that same duty] so that we do not have to die.

and so the bottom line of the Christ-following faith is this – God is offering a gift, the gift of life – when Jesus was here He spoke about bringing “abundant life” or “life to the full” which speaks both of life now on earth as well as life after our physical bodies die – and you either choose to receive it [acknowledge Jesus as God and bow your knee and life to Him] or reject it [and one day be turned away by God] – the choice is yours – it is a free gift on the one hand, but also a gift that costs everything [nothing you can do can earn you the gift, hence it’s free, but God calls for you to follow Him with everything you have, and so it is costly]

the choice is yours. choose life.

‘Then Jesus said, “If anyone would follow Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross daily and follow Me.” [luke 9.23]