As long as I can remember, I’ve always looked forward to spring.
More time outside to play, less time until the school year’s end and chocolate.
And not the check-out aisle chocolate, but that solid bunny-ear kind of chocolate, the cream-filled and caramel-filled egg kind of chocolate.
Even now, I am eyeing those rows of pastel-colored candies and making plans to fill baskets up for baby boys who cannot yet even eat them (because, we all know who can — pointing to myself).
We will take the boys to see the Easter bunny, and we will hunt for plastic eggs and likely break some real ones. We will fill baskets with jellybeans and malted chocolate, and we will celebrate and enjoy the goodness of this season. Not because of the bunnies and the candies and eggs on Sunday.
But because of what happened to a man named Jesus the Friday before. You may know Him well or have heard His name spoken before. I’d like to share a little more.
Paul writes in Philipians 2:
“Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a servant, and coming in the likeness of men. And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross.”
This is our Jesus, God in flesh. The relational part of a three-part, immeasurable, incomprehensible God (Father, Son and Spirit in one). He came to us to show us meaning in life. In Scripture, He tells us how to enjoy our God and Creator, how we can call Him our Father. He had to come down to be raised up, so we can rise, too. He came to suffer for our sake, to take every sin that separates us from a Holy God and carry the punishment down to the darkness of death itself.
“He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. By His wounds, you have been healed.” 1 Peter 2:24
The only sacrifice required.
“For the life of a creature is in the blood, and I have given it to you to make atonement for yourselves on the alter; it is the blood that makes atonement for one’s life.” Leviticus 17:11
The only sacrifice worthy. Spotless Lamb of God.
“He was oppressed and afflicted, yet he did not open his mouth; he was led like a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before its shearers is silent, so he did not open his mouth.” Isaiah 53:7
Life gave way to death. It was dark.
Children are often afraid of the dark. Many adults can be threatened or tricked by it, too.
Walking into it, I can feel a little hand reach up to hold mine. All he needs is my assurance and direction, and he knows we’ll find our way back to the light.
There is peace in knowing we have a way back.
To get to the end, let us go back to the beginning. Genesis, Book One of the Bible.
“So the Lord God said to the serpent: Because you have done this, you are cursed. And I will put enmity between you and the woman and between your seed and her Seed. He shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise His heel.” Genesis 3:14-15 (condensed)
The snake. He lurked in the garden. He tempted and deceived. Still does today. All of our guilt and shame, disease, loss, ugliness, bitterness is from an evil bite that looks as healthy as an apple. Death is his domain.
Take away our bunnies and jellybeans and chocolates if it all ended here. Hope would be lost. God would be far.
Praise God, It Does Not.
“But the angel answered and said to the women, “Do not be afraid, for I know that you seek Jesus who was crucified. He is not here; for He is risen, as He said.” Matthew 28:5-6
He crushed the snake.
And this is why we can celebrate. We can eat chocolates, and we can play games, and we can get to know Him, our Savior Victorious, in this life before those of us who give our lives to Him are led Home with Him for good. And I am witness to His victory. I have felt freedom and the peace of my Prince, simply by taking His hand and letting Him lead.
Jesus. He is not a secret. He told us to go and tell those who will listen, and I am telling you.
Jesus. He is the only way. The only God who left heaven to come and rescue His children. We need not hide from Him but trust Him instead.
Jesus. He looked death and darkness in the eye and took the pain for us, so we can escape a pain like no other: of being forever apart from God. Apart from anything and everything good.
Jesus. He teaches us to love more than anything. We can feel His presence when we do.
Our Risen King Jesus. He told us to Rejoice and delight in His love. The only reason to celebrate every. single. day.
“And as they went to tell His disciples, behold, Jesus met them, saying: Rejoice!” Matthew 28:9
“Rejoice in the Lord always. Again I will say, rejoice!” Philippians 4:4
This Easter, we will party.
We will celebrate Jesus in praise and in worship; His love that required everything; His victory that overcame.
And we will have some chocolate, too.
go & tell & share the Good News
Friends, when did Easter first find a real meaning to you? Have you met Jesus, really met Him? I urge you to Google the book of John from the Bible and spend some time considering His purpose, His plan and His love. Talk to God as you do. ALL because of Jesus, He listens. He loves us.