I’ve often wondered, since the moment I became a Christian, what exactly is it we’re celebrating every Easter? I know what the proper answer is – the one we post on Facebook and might even say out loud to a co-worker…or maybe not.
We’d say that we’re celebrating the resurrection of our Lord! Because He suffered and died for our sins and is now with His Father in heaven!
I won’t even get into chocolate bunnies and colored eggs and all the other stuff we do that has absolutely nothing to do with the resurrection of Christ. You know, go right ahead. We can probably tie just about any tradition back to some pagan belief, and I really don’t think our salvation is threatened because we ate a chick shaped blob of marshmallow coated in yellow sugar.
But…what are we celebrating?
Are we celebrating our Christ who overcame death and hell for our sake? Because, my friends, if we are, it shouldn’t be one continuous celebration. And I’m not just talking about Maundy Thursday, where a infinitesimal percentage of Christians give up a weeknight to remember the suffering part of the suffering and death.
No. What I’m looking for is that somber moment when we meditate long and hard on why Jesus suffered and died.
Because of you. Because of me.
You and I may as well have handed the whips to the Roman soldiers and drove the nails into His hands and feet.
When you really, really think about it, what we’re celebrating this Easter Sunday is the fact that we are so sinful by nature that God had to sacrifice His own Son on a cross. When you really, really think about it, we should be weeping in some dark closet, having turned our backs on God. Just as the disciples were doing on that first Sunday after the crucifixion.
Before you decide to dress all in black this Sunday, I’ll offer this bit of encouragement: the disciples, while they began that Sunday grieving the loss of their messiah, ended it in great shouts of joy and celebration.
So yeah, celebrate His rising. Without it, we have no hope. With it, we need nothing else. But take a few moments, perhaps before leaving for church, to consider the why. Reflect on the fact that you and I are the reason for His suffering on the cross. We’re not worthy of His forgiveness.
But we are forgiven. Don’t hang your head long when you consider the reason. This isn’t what Jesus intends for us. But try to imagine, impossible though it may be, the infinite depth of love that God has for us. It is a reason to celebrate. But also a reason to reflect.
He is Risen, my friends. And He will return. I pray He finds us in a humble, thankful frame of mind.
Now go ahead. Prepare yourself and anyone who will listen for the approaching day.