Today is the most unique Easter that I've ever experienced and ever will because the Destroyer has come in the form of a deadly virus that has killed tens of thousands of people and sickened hundreds of thousands more! It makes a difficult case for celebrating Spring much less Easter.
Or does it?
Easter is a special holiday because it celebrates the resurrection of Jesus the Christ. In doing that, it also respects death. The only person who has ever died and resurrected Himself is Jesus the Christ. The question is why? Some people may be more interested in how. How did Jesus do it? But the point of today's blog is not to try to answer every question that Easter raises except one: Why? Why the resurrection?
The Bible teaches that human beings stand condemned to die because they offend God. Every single human being ever born is condemned to die. God is the judge and the condemnation has already been announced. So, we must accept death. Death awaits us.
Easter also recognizes that God is merciful to us. God is just. God is righteous. Therefore, he also offered us a way to escape death: Jesus.
When Jesus said, "I Am the way, the truth, and the life," among the many things that he meant was, "I am your escape from death."
What is death? Why is death so frightening? Because people perceive death as the end of what they enjoy or want. And more than anything else, no matter who you are, people want meaning and purpose. Death is the end of someone's purpose. Furthermore, they don't know what will happen next. The unknown causes anxiety and fear.
God teaches in the Bible that death is a new beginning. And warns us that it includes His presence or not! The way to God's presence is paved by Jesus the Christ. Or, in a word, Easter! See, Jesus lived the morally perfect life God expects of you, and then died the death you are condemned to die! Jesus did two impossible things for us. Therefore, Easter is a celebration of a gift. God's gift to us. God's substitutionary life and death, that grants us forgiveness. And makes life in God's presence for eternity possible!
All God asks of you is this: accept that you are a sinner (that you have not and cannot live up to God's moral expectations). Confess your moral failures. It is between you and God, but if you've done something that is against the law, you will have to also confess it to the police. A murderer walked into the Simsbury Police Department last year, accompanied by his pastor, and admitted that he had murdered a random stranger he had encountered one morning. The crime would have remained unsolved forever without his confession! The killer had left no physical evidence! And the randomness of the crime, with no witnesses or evidence, meant that it would have remained a mystery except to God! Fortunately, this man learned that he faced God's judgment! He believed it. He came to terms with it. Soon he repented by confessing it to God, his pastor, and the police! Therefore, he will spend the rest of his life in prison in a CT state prison, but he will spend eternity in God's presence! The point: he faced the dark consequences to achieve a bright new beginning!
That's Easter! Easter is the acceptance of death to receive a resurrection. Jesus accepted death, though He was innocent, to conquer death! He proved it by rising from the dead! Jesus died so that we might be saved from a fate worse than death: the second death! The second death is separation from others and God forever! That is something to fear! No wonder it is called Hell. Imagine being lonely, uncomfortable, angry, and miserable forever and ever! Once we accept that is a possibility, we can reach out to God and say, "Yes, Jesus, I accept your gift. I want to receive it now. I open my heart. I open my mind. I give you my life. Use me to help others be resurrected."
On this death-filled Easter Sunday, we may be wearing the black instead of bright Spring colors. It's the first Easter in my life that I've worn black and wholly empathize with the tragedy of death. I also accept that resurrection is our destiny! The world has changed! But God has not! Jesus said, "I am the resurrection!" Today, I ask you to receive Jesus the Christ in a new way than you ever have before.