A couple of weeks ago I crossed the international border between Austria and Slovakia twice. The first time was in a bus, taking the scenic route and stopping here and there to pick up passengers. The second time, two days later, was in a taxi using the motorway to get back to Vienna Airport with a little more haste. On both the back road and the motorway the border between the two countries was only evident in the former border security buildings, now surplus to requirements, but still in place straddling the roads.
The last time I travelled from Vienna to Bratislava was in 1998. Slovakia had not joined the European Union and the border posts were manned. Every vehicle had to stop. Passports were checked, and questions asked. The queue of trucks seemed to go on forever on both sides of the border. Cars were moving through much quicker.
The removal of border controls between many countries in Europe is a reminder of the barriers God removed when He allowed His Son to die on that first Easter. Before Jesus died there was a huge barrier between God and humanity that God calls sin. Man in his deeply flawed condition then, as now, had to have a means of being forgiven. But he couldn’t directly approach God. Only the High Priest, could enter the Holy of Holies in the first Temple just once per year and experience the presence of God.
When Jesus allowed cruel men to flog Him, spit on Him, taunt Him and crucify Him He removed all barriers. For the first time since the fall in the Garden of Eden there was a way for men and women to enter directly into God’s presence. That fact that the Son of God was prepared to suffer so much to make a way for the barrier of human sin to be removed sends a clear message at Easter more than any other time of the year. The message is simple. Take a trip across the border and enter into the presence of the Creator. He is waiting for you.
For God so loved the world that He gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through Him. (John 3:16-17 NIV)