Last week I found myself with a broken motorbike surrounded by jungle and stranded in a mountain pass with no cell phone reception. There was no other choice but to split the group up and push the heavy ass bike back the way we came – up and down the mountain in the heat of high noon. Between the two of us we had a half bottle of water left. We were completely cut off. We were unreachable by phone and without access to a repair shop or clean water. Unless we conquered the mountain and called for help there was no hope for us. As I was pushing the motorbike in sweat soaked clothes I thought about the irony of the situation.
Millions of people live in hopelessness and are completely cut off from the life-changing message that Jesus created the universe, died for their sins, rose on the third day and is their only hope for salvation. This is the Gospel. This is Easter. Easter doesn’t exist for millions of people on this planet. Easter doesn’t exist for the thousands of tribes who live over mountains and down in valleys. Easter doesn’t exist for the prostitutes, orphans and students who live in countries that are closed to the Gospel. Easter doesn’t exist among hundreds of people groups because no one has yet translated the name Jesus, in their language.
Unreached people groups are considered unreached for a reason. Entire societies of people are born, live and die without ever hearing the Gospel message. They are lost in every sense of the word. They are lost in broken relationships. They are lost in physical disease. They are lost in poverty. They are lost in demon worship and in the false sense of power it brings. They are lost in the pursuit of self.
Truthfully, many Christians are lost in the celebration of tradition. Easter was not meant to be a self-reflective holiday as we Christians often make it out to be. It is meant to be a testimony of God’s glory to all nations. It’s meant to be a story to our neighbors. It’s meant to be a hug for a homeless guy. It’s meant to be a witness with a stranger on a bus. It’s meant to be shared over a meal with a business partner. It’s meant to be proclaimed in some thatched house somewhere in rural Asia.
So go ahead and celebrate Easter. Celebrate Easter with all the fanfare, dollars, enthusiasm, emotion, and passion that usually characterize it. Then go and share the Gospel. Share the Gospel with all the fanfare, dollars, enthusiasm, emotion, and passion that rarely characterize it. Go make Jesus real for the lost.
Oh…and we finally made it out of the mountain and called for help. A friend brought another bike and roped us back into town. The good news is that the other half of our group made it to our original destination. On that day, down in the valley among unreached villagers, Jesus became real for several families. This Easter, they’ll have something to celebrate.