I was working at a landscape company some time ago and Easter was fast approaching. Easter, you see, is a special time for me, for it fills me with thoughts of transformation and a desire for new beginnings. I cannot say why, it just does. I see this time of year as an opportunity to yet again set aside the old man so that the new man, like Christ, may arise to the light of day. This makes Easter a holiday; a holiday unlike any other.
That being said, my mood was upbeat and my step light and lively and a co-worker, noticing this, asked me why I was so happy.
“Why, it’s Easter,” said I, making no attempt to hide my glee.
“That’s no reason to be happy,” she said. “Jesus Christ died a painful death on Easter.”
Alas, my flesh cried “Killjoy” before I could stop it.
Yes, it is true. Easter is indeed the time of some of the most somber events in human history and yes, Jesus died. However, He did not stay dead and because of that, I don’t have to either. Easter is, in my mind, the most precious of holidays and should be looked upon that way regardless of the beating that my Lord took, His pain and His anguish, and His humiliating death, hanging nearly naked on a wooden cross.
“He is not here; for He is risen, as He said. Come; see the place where the Lord lay.” Matt. 28:6.
He is risen. These are three of the most important words in scripture, for without the resurrection, the gospel of Jesus Christ is nothing more than another story. Another story of another good man, relegated to a piece of folklore that we pass to one another around the campfire. However, because He is risen, He has become the only hope that you and I have of ever becoming reconciled with Almighty God.
Am I happy about the beating He took, the thorns of the crown, the crimson stripes of the lash? Of course not. I would rather it been myself that felt the sting of the leather and bore the brunt of the humiliation. However, due to my sin and my iniquities, (and there are many), I can hardly present myself as a sacrifice worth of my sins, much less the worlds. No, it had to be Christ and only Christ, for only He was innocent enough a lamb for so holy a sacrifice. You see, God is holy, and His holiness requires a blood sacrifice in order to bring about the reconciliation of man unto Himself and in this case, a sacrifice of only the purest type will do.
So, yes, on this Easter I do celebrate. I celebrate all that Christ is, all that He has done and I marvel at the fact that He found a worm such as myself to be worth it all. And why did He do it? He did it because He loves me.
“Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends.” John 15:13
I weep for His pain. I cry out for the fact that it had to come to this, this brutal sacrifice, this violent act. I do not shy away from the fact that, in my own mind, I feel unworthy of every lash, unfitting for each drop of His blood and untouched by every ounce of His pain. But Jesus feels differently. In His eyes I am worthy and for that reason my sad weeping gives way to tears of joy, of celebration. He is risen and because if that so will I, one day. So will I.
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