It can be so easy for Easter to be a moment in time and not a moment that changes time. Our experience with Christ should change our lives. We shouldn’t experience the resurrection and then just go back to the day to day lives we lead unchanged. Life should be different because of the grace of Christ. Did Easter change you, or are you back to the daily grind? Jesus wants more from us than to just experience the joy of the resurrection – He wants us to live changed lives!
I know the resurrection is a fact, and Watergate proved it to me. How? Because 12 men testified they had seen Jesus raised from the dead, then they proclaimed that truth for 40 years, never once denying it. Every one was beaten, tortured, stoned and put in prison. They would not have endured that if it weren’t true. Watergate embroiled 12 of the most powerful men in the world-and they couldn’t keep a lie for three weeks. You’re telling me 12 apostles could keep a lie for 40 years? Absolutely impossible.
It is not for us now to rush ahead to Easter. Rather, it is necessary for us once again to undertake the surrender to Jesus of all of our false expectations and selfish hopes. It is necessary for us to watch as our sin burdens him and bears down on his head like a crown of thorns. It is necessary for us to see him die as the Lamb of God who absorbs the sin of the world and bears it away. It is necessary for us to suffer patiently the dark night of sorrow and death, if we are to enter the brilliant new light of Easter and receive the eternal life offered to us in the resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ.
The only way you can be delivered from that sin is to have your false expectations destroyed, once and for all. And that is precisely what happened between Palm Sunday and Good Friday. Jesus drew the false, sinful expectations of the world unto himself, absorbed them, and bore them on the cross. His death was the death of all of our false expectations, and therefore his death was the death of sin itself. The false piety of Palm Sunday is crucified on Good Friday and buried that night, in order that true faith in God might be created on Easter through the resurrection of Jesus Christ.
No tabloid will ever print the startling news that the mummified body of Jesus of Nazareth has been discovered in old Jerusalem. Christians have no carefully embalmed body enclosed in a glass case to worship. Thank God, we have an empty tomb. The glorious fact that the empty tomb proclaims to us is that life for us does not stop when death comes. Death is not a wall, but a door.
Psalm 30:5 Weeping may endure for a night, but joy comes in the morning.
This Easter Saturday, reflect on the dashed dreams and hopes of the disciples as they awoke the morning after Jesus’ death. Peter’s heart was crushed, for he denied the One he loved most. John tried to console an inconsolable Mary as he held the mother of the one who died a seemingly shame-filled, gruesome death. Other disciples cringed as they remembered their desperate dash into the night, abandoning Jesus. Others dealt with the death of their revolutionary dreams; Jesus wasn’t going to take the physical throne of Jerusalem, ousting their oppressors once and for all. Yes, it was a dark time for the disciples. However, It is only in the darkest of nights that the stars shine their brightest. Joy comes in the morning.
The Bible is the story of two gardens: Eden and Gethsemane. In the first, Adam took a fall. In the second, Jesus took a stand. In the first, God sought Adam. In the second, Jesus sought God. In Eden, Adam hid from God. In Gethsemane, Jesus emerged from the tomb. In Eden, Satan led Adam to a tree that led to his death. From Gethsemane, Jesus went to a tree that led to our life.
God visited us… and… well… we killed him. Funny thing is, He didn’t stay dead. And… not only did He not stay dead, when He got back up, He still loved us. By not staying dead, He showed us that life is more than the eye can see. By still loving us, He revealed the ethic of Heaven, the character of God, and He turned our retributive world upside-down.
Christ was the greatest Victim on one side of the cross but the greatest Victor on the other.
Satan thought he had won, and was smug in his victory, smiling to himself, having the last word. So he thought. Then God raised Jesus from the dead, and life and salvation became the last words.