Why is Easter celebrated? Is Easter just a long weekend at the beginning of spring? Is this weekend an opportunity to open up the cottage or go camping? Is Good Friday an extra day to clean up the yard from winter, or if the weather is nice enough to start planting your garden? Or is it just an extra day to kick back, and relax from the stress of work, possibly spending time with family or friends.
A long time ago, before computers, before televisions, before the telephone, before the printing press, before chariots and coliseums, before the pyramids, God appointed a day when everything would change. Easter is celebrated, because Easter is that day when everything changed.
Now you may look at the world around you, and think that everything keeps going the way it has been going. As you enjoy all the modern conveniences we have today, you may think that things are getting better every day. Or you may look around at the atrocities in the world, and think that things are getting worse. Or all you might care about is yourself, and what is happening in your world today. Whatever the case, you are correct none of these things changed at Easter.
So what was the dramatic change that causes the world to take a break from their routine and celebrate Easter?
The Time Of Change
At the time that God appointed for everything to change, Jesus, the son of God, joyfully took on a human body, and walked among us. (It is a mystery as to why God chose that period of time to send his Son to earth, but that isn’t what is important). Jesus wasn’t an alien space invader. Jesus wasn’t a superhero from another galaxy coming to bring advanced technology or to prevent an inter-galactic war. Jesus, the Creator of the universe, stepped into time and space, stepped into His creation to walk among us.
Jesus never did anything wrong. He worked in work environments like you work in; he enjoyed good food and drinks and knew what it was to be hungry, thirsty, and exhausted. At times he lacked money, and at other times he had everything he needed. He dealt with lots of difficult people – people who didn’t understand him, people who wanted to use him for their purposes, people who hated his guts. Yet never once did Jesus make a mistake, yell, lose his temper, get angry, get frustrated, lust or sin. Since he was without sin, Jesus could have entered into God’s presence at any time.
Yet on Good Friday, Jesus, the immortal, eternal, creator, Son of God, did something totally unexpected, something you would never see in a super-hero movie.
There was no bloody battle scene. There was no major fight between a hero and a villain. There was just an innocent man hanging on a cross who died that day. Not just any man, but the Son of Man, the Son of God. The plot thickened that Easter weekend – Jesus didn’t remain dead. God raised Jesus from the dead. Not resuscitation but resurrection!. Easter is celebrated because something happened that had never happened before, and has never happened since … Jesus was resurrected from the dead!
The Resurrection Of Jesus
Jesus’ resurrection changed everything. The worlds of heaven and earth intersected that Easter, and a doorway was opened so that you could choose to enter into the Kingdom of Heaven, and invite God to enter into your life and have fellowship with you. This doorway into God’s perfect, holy, righteous kingdom was opened through Jesus’ blood, that he lost on the cross when he died.
Since God is holy, and we are not; since God is prefect and we are not; Since God doesn’t make any mistakes and we do; Since God never does anything wrong, and once and a while we do, God could never tolerate us in his presence. When we celebrate Easter we are celebrating God’s intelligent, gracious, and loving response to our situation. Easter is a demonstration of God’s holiness and grace.
That first Easter Jesus paid the ultimate ransom price so that you and I could enter into God’s presence. Jesus paid the only price that could cleanse our consciences from all our less than perfect behavior and thoughts, cleanses us from little guilts to big guilts. That price was the shedding of his blood. There is no more noble blood than the blood of Jesus, the blood of the Son of God, the blood of the high priest himself which secures for you and me an eternal, complete perfect redemption.
History Or Reality?
Easter is so much more than just a historic event. Easter is a present reality. If in faith we believe that Jesus blood truly does cleanse us from all our sins, then we are free from the bondage of our sins. We celebrate Easter because Jesus took away our shame, and restored our dignity. We celebrate Easter because Jesus took away our fear and replaced it with love. We celebrate Easter because we have been released today to serve the living God the way we were created to. The very inner core of our being has been transformed from darkness into light. God dwells in our heart, calls you his child, and welcomes you into his Holy presence.
We celebrate Easter, as a reminder that there is nothing you or I need to do (or can do), that nothing we can create, and nothing that is created can save us. Only by faith in Christ are our sins forgiven PERIOD. Only through the blood of Christ are we cleansed from all our mistakes, and failures and sins PERIOD. Easter reminds us that Jesus doesn’t have to die again. Easter reminds us that there is nothing that anybody can do to take away our redemption.
At Easter we pause to appreciate where Jesus is today. Jesus is in God’s presence. Right now Jesus is having personal face-to-face communication with God the Father about you and me. Jesus blood keeps on cleansing you and me, so that we also can stand in God’s presence.
A Promise For The Future
Easter is also a precious personal promise that Christ will return. God came, lived among his people, paid the price of redemption for his people, and now has temporarily returned to His Kingdom. But having left, he has also promised to return. And when he returns, we will get to enjoy perpetually, completely all the blessings he obtained by his sacrifice.
This Easter as you enjoy time with your family, as you enjoy a shortened work week, as you enjoy camping or gardening or whatever you are doing – celebrate that the blood of Jesus continues to cleanse you from all your shame and guilt, all your mistakes, anger, frustration, bitterness and jealousy. Celebrate that because of the blood of Jesus you can enjoy fellowship with God. Rejoice that there is nothing else you have to do be viewed as holy in God’s presence – celebrate that “It is Finished”. No matter how discouraging this world may be, no matter how silent the heavens may seem celebrate that your redemption has been accomplished. Amen!