Today is called Good Friday and I’m trying to write this post about Easter. On Sunday we’ll say Happy Easter to each other and probably not give it a second thought. After all, there are brunches to eat, egg hunts to attend and let’s not forget the chocolate in the Easter baskets!
For much of the world, this is how Easter is observed. A celebration of spring and renewal. Colorful eggs, bunnies, new outfits and much-welcomed spring flowers are the themes of the day. The season where we can put winter behind us and look forward to better days.
For Christians, today and Easter Sunday should be much, much more. It’s hard to put into words the significance of Easter outside of the well-worn bible passages. I think so many times we gloss over the events of Good Friday….which was anything but “good” some 2,000+ years ago.
Easter is about renewal…but not of the springtime variety. Sure, spring is the perfect analogy for Easter. It’s the season the world awakes from the “deadness” of winter with new life. Easter is really all about awakening from a different sort of darkness. It’s the sober realization that God didn’t throw up his hands in frustration with us and all the terrible things we do that go against everything God is. It’s the realization that God loves his creation so much that, when sin entered into our lives, he had a plan to reconcile his children back to their rightful place in the universe. But it came through an act so heinous and disturbing that it’s hard to comprehend.
Enter Jesus. Born of a woman in the most humble of circumstances, he grew up and became a very unusual man. Consider him the original Renaissance Man…someone accomplished in a variety of areas of expertise…like the creation of the universe. Yeah, that would qualify.
But this Jesus person….he didn’t spend his time in libraries writing thesis papers or with scholars in intellectual debates. Noooooo, this man spent his time among the poorest of the poor; the outcasts; the ones “respectable” people shunned. He ate with tax collectors and wasn’t afraid to associate with lepers. He went out of his way to heal the sick, blind, deaf, lame….and raise the dead. His knowledge of the Scripture was unsurpassed (probably because he inspired its writing) and his ability to defy the natural laws of the universe both amazed and terrified those that witnessed the events.
As Christians, we understand Jesus was the Son of God, the second person in the Godhead Trinity. As Jesus, he was 100% God and also 100% man. He came to put an end to the separation of a holy God and his creation that fell from grace through Satan’s trickery. For it’s through the sacrificial death of Jesus that mankind is made spotlessly clean in they eyes of God. It’s an action so monumental that only God could pull it off. (If you want something done right, do it yourself……)
I understand it’s almost impossible for some people to see why one man’s death by crucifixion would hold such significance more than 2,000 years after the fact. Why we wear this symbol of torture around our necks and make it front and center to our beliefs. In a nutshell, the symbol of the cross helps us remember God’s grace and the ultimate sacrifice that was made to once and for all put to death sin’s hold on our souls. His resurrection over sin and death is both literal and symbolic…that we have new life in him through the ultimate sacrifice he made for humanity’s sake.
We remember the darkness and death of Good Friday paired with the joy of the resurrection on Easter Sunday so we never take for granted the sacrifice that was made to set us free from death.
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold the new has come. ~2 Corinthians 5:17
Behold, I make all things new. ~Rev. 21:5
And, as a mother, I cannot imagine the pain Mary felt watching these events unfold in front of her eyes. After all, this was her first born! Even though she knew her son’s purpose, I’m sure it was little comfort during those dark hours. And I don’t believe any song personifies this more than Mary Did You Know.
So, to you I sincerely wish a very blessed Easter.