What's the big deal about Easter?
To some it's just another day to get candy and hunt eggs.
To others it's sacred, set apart to remember an event that their faith is centered around.
But what about you and I?
What does it mean for us?
I grew up with the understanding that Easter was about something much bigger than a bunny. But for as long as I can remember, it was about wearing pastels and going to church. Everyone put on their best face and showed up for a Sunday service that usually consisted of the story of Jesus coming back from the dead.
And if I'm being honest I think it just got played out.
I think people came to expect the same routine. The same explanation for what this holiday represents. And I just think it's time to look at things a little differently.
What is Easter really about?
Bring up God in any conversation nowadays and I'm sure they'll be controversy. This is because we're just not sure what to do with God. For so long human beings have created systems and dogmas, trying to place God in a box. But if this Creator is worthy of any accolades or praise, then rest assured He cannot be contained. He cannot be defined. This God, if He truly exists cannot be explained.
And that scares us.
It terrifies us.
The idea that God won't fit into our ideas, opinions, and doctrines is insane.
But it’s also the truth. And sometimes when the truth runs contrary to everything we’ve ever been taught, we’re left feeling lost.
But what if this God is real? What if He’s so much bigger than we imagined? What if this God who cannot be defined nor contained chose to reveal Himself to us by entering our story? Who’s to say He can’t do exactly what He wants to? After all, He is God.
And if this God really chose to become a man, then that changes everything doesn’t it? In fact, I would say that the claim that Jesus was God is perhaps the most insane, absolutely ridiculous idea that anyone could ever make.
Unless it was true.
And if it was true, then you and I would benefit by paying attention to the story of Jesus’ life.
Jesus lived a life of love. A life that dripped with acceptance and grace. He never found Himself too busy to look someone in the eyes and let them know He cared. Jesus showed us what it truly means to be human. I would even say that the reason Jesus lived was to show us how to do the same.
And if Jesus really lived, then Jesus really died.
The story goes to say that He was betrayed by a friend and murdered on a Roman cross like a common criminal. This Jesus who offered life and lived love suddenly stopped breathing. Just like that, it was over. In a matter of 12 hours, Jesus went from celebrating with His closest friends, to dangling between two thieves, slowly suffocating as the crowds watched this so-called “Savior” breath His last.
And everyone held their breath.
Jesus was dead.
And three days passed. By now the people who followed Jesus found themselves shaking their heads in confusion.
Was it all fake?
Was this really the end?
They believed Jesus would change the world and bring freedom, but now He laid in a cold, dark tomb, leaving the world waiting in expectation.
But Sunday, things changed. His tomb was found empty, and His disciples feared the worst.
Someone must of stolen His body.
Why would anyone do that?
Panic ran wild through the minds of those who loved Jesus.
Until one day, we’re told in the book of Matthew that Jesus appeared to His followers on a mountain top. Now you would expect this to be a crazy experience for those present. Most of them believing this man to be the Messiah, King. But that’s not exactly what we’re told.
Sure, many saw Jesus and fell down at His feet in worship. If He beat death than anything was possible. But we’re told that some doubted. Some just didn’t believe it. Now matter how hard they tried, they just couldn’t wrap their minds around the idea that Jesus was alive.
“And when they saw him they worshiped him, but some doubted.” Matthew 28:17
And maybe that’s where you’re at.
Maybe that’s you.
Maybe you just don’t believe it.
It just doesn't seem plausible to you. And I just want to tell you, that’s ok. It’s ok to have doubts. I sure thought I had it figured out. But life has a way of reshaping you. It has a way of deconstructing what you believe and then reconstructing it with a new set of lenses.
For the next two millennia, the followers of Jesus wrestled through their doubts as they gathered each week to celebrate Jesus’ resurrection. It was such an occasion, people would end up getting drunk and eating themselves into a coma. There was just something about the resurrection that evoked a response.
And here we are over 2,000 years later, this simple Jewish Rabbi from Bethlehem still transforming the way we think and feel about everything. He’s still reshaping hearts and transforming lives today. And I think what Easter means for us is that we can experience what life really is. Not some future version of life above the clouds where all pain is gone and we experience some trippy out of body existence.
Easter’s about right here, right now, and the opportunity that Jesus presents for you and I to live life fully aware of who God is and what he's doing in our lives. How He’s transforming us and using us on a daily basis with every person we meet, and in everything we do.
Jesus is life. So what will you do with the story of Jesus now?
Are you willing to let it change you?
Even if you don't believe it?
Even if you're still skeptical?
Even if there's doubts? Are you willing to at least try to see if Jesus can change your life?
I don't have all the answers. I thought I did, but God is so much bigger than we can fathom and there's no way we can define him. No way we can put Him in a box. There's no way we can understand Him fully. But one thing I have learned is that this God is good and that He loves us.
And that even though we don't understand everything that happens, there's always a way back home.
There's always a hope that we have and that hope is because of Easter. Because of the resurrection. It's not about the stone that rolled away, or pastels and Easter egg hunt's. Those things are really great and we should keep doing them and celebrating them. But Easter is about something deeper ----- something even more meaningful. Easter is about life. And you and I have an invitation and opportunity right now to experience that life. And it comes in the shape of Jesus.
So what are you going to do?