The Truth About Easter
The Truth About Easter
I have many fond memories of Easter as a child. I was raised in a Christian home and there was always excitement in my home and in my church when it came to Easter Sunday.
As a child, I remember learning about how Easter was a celebration of Jesus Christ being put to death to pay the price for my sins, and three days later being raised from the dead. I remember hearing that He was the first among those who would receive eternal life. We would also experience resurrection when we die if we have accepted Christ into our lives.
However, as a kid I remember my excitement being tied to searching for candy eggs in the backyard of our Phoenix home. I remember having to wear our best outfits to church and taking family pictures on the church lawn after service. I remember my mother cooking a nice dinner for our family and spending the day together.
I can’t help but think back to those childhood memories and realize how much has changed. How much I have changed. I look back at pictures and remember the innocent smile on my face that thought things would always be this way. Life really has a way of catching us off guard. People we love pass away and leave an empty space in our lives. Family or friends leave and cause hurt and pain. Hopes and dreams of our childhood seem to fade away into a life of mediocrity and routine.
Easter means far more to me than it did in my childhood. It is no longer about Easter egg hunts or candy. It’s not about a great church service. It’s not about an extravagant family meal together. These are all things I am sure we will enjoy, but the curve balls life has thrown me have made it about so much more. The pain of life causes us to look deeper and uncover the meaning of it all.
Easter means I serve a God who knows what it’s like to go through long lonely nights full of questions.
The Easter story begins with a distraught Jesus crying out to the Father in the Garden of Gethsemane. All of His disciples that were with Him have fallen asleep and He is alone. He is questioning the Father about His impending death and those closest to Him seem unconcerned with His fate. This is something we all understand! We know what it is like to feel all alone on a sleepless night as we cry out to God. It comforts me to know we serve a God who understands our distress and will never fall asleep on us.
Easter means I serve a God who knows what it is like to suffer.
When I find myself going through physical, mental, or emotional suffering it can make me want to give up! When I look to Easter, I am reminded of the terribly excruciating (this word comes from the word crucifixion) pain that Jesus suffered on the cross. He hung there abandoned by His closest friends and suffering the greatest physical pain I can imagine. He did it for you and I. As I go through pain and suffering myself, I drag myself to the cross of Jesus Christ and am drawn to worship the One who suffered for me so that I could experience eternal life apart from the suffering I experience now.
Easter means I serve a God who faced death so that I no longer have to fear it.
Fear has a way of creeping into our hearts as we think about our mortality. Will I be around to see my kids grow up? Will I be at their graduation or their wedding? Will I meet my grandchildren? We face mortality and something inside of us begins to say, “this just isn’t right.” Many would use this as a reason to believe God does not exist, but this points to the entire purpose of Easter. I believe God agrees wholeheartedly that something isn’t right in this life we live. That’s why He sent His Son Jesus Christ to die in our place. Sin brought pain into a world that was free of suffering and death. As a result, God made a way for our eternal life free of suffering and death to be restored by paying the price Himself for our sins. The truth is, every one of us will face death. Easter means He went first and He beat it! Death is no longer something I need to fear as the end. It is only the beginning of our eternal life. He is alive and with Him are those loved ones that I have watched pass away. I miss them dearly, but there is no room for fear. I trust that death has been defeated for those that have put their faith in Christ. “Death where is your sting? It is swallowed up in victory.”
Lastly, Easter means He LOVES me
There have been seasons of my life where I have watched people I cared about walk away from me and leave. I have disappointed people I cared about. I have felt abandoned and rejected. Easter is a reminder to me that God will never leave me. He gave everything for me while He knew every mistake I would make and every disappointment I would cause in my life. He knew all of that, but He still came!
Maybe you are reading this and you don’t believe a word I am writing. Maybe for you, Easter is nothing more than a chance to have a backyard Easter egg hunt. I can respect that, and I hope you have a wonderful celebration.
But for me, after experiencing some of the pain and struggles of this life, Easter means something far more urgent and beautiful than it did before. I love chocolate bunnies and even an occasional peep, but more than that I need a Savior. I need someone who walked through what I am going through and overcame it. Through a relationship with Him, I can overcome too!
Happy Easter everyone! Whatever your Easter looks like, I pray your celebration points to the greatness of the story of the resurrection of Jesus Christ. It is the best story of all. I hope you have the Best. Day. Ever.