It isn’t about bunnies, or chocolate, or eggs brightly colored. Certainly those things can be enjoyed. Who doesn’t love eating a chocolate bunny? Or watching children run through the yard in delight as they find a cleverly hidden egg?
Yet all of those things have sadly been given preeminence by the world. It’s no wonder though. The powers and principalities of this world don’t want us to know what happened. Why Easter is important. Why we celebrate. The truth, as it is said, will set you free.
You see, on that Friday, so many years ago, those very same power and principalities cheered. They watched as the sky turned black. They heard the cries of the One on the cross. You can almost picture them dancing as He declared “It is finished.”
But on Sunday morning, something happened that no one expected. Even though they had been told. Repeatedly. For centuries.
Jesus shattered the power of death. On Friday the veil was torn from top to bottom. The separation from God was removed. And on Sunday morning, Jesus walked away from the grave. The power of death was destroyed. It’s sting removed. The shackles shattered. The grave clothes lay useless, unneeded. The stone was rolled away. The grave could not hold Him.
Matthew’s gospel tells us the story.
1 After the Sabbath, at dawn on the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went to look at the tomb.
2 There was a violent earthquake, for an angel of the Lord came down from heaven and, going to the tomb, rolled back the stone and sat on it. 3 His appearance was like lightning, and his clothes were white as snow. 4 The guards were so afraid of him that they shook and became like dead men.
5 The angel said to the women, “Do not be afraid, for I know that you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified. 6 He is not here; he has risen, just as he said. Come and see the place where he lay. 7 Then go quickly and tell his disciples: ‘He has risen from the dead and is going ahead of you into Galilee. There you will see him.’ Now I have told you.”
8 So the women hurried away from the tomb, afraid yet filled with joy, and ran to tell his disciples. 9 Suddenly Jesus met them. “Greetings,” he said. They came to him, clasped his feet and worshiped him. 10 Then Jesus said to them, “Do not be afraid. Go and tell my brothers to go to Galilee; there they will see me.”
Mankind had a problem. Sin. It seperated us from God. No sacrifice was truly sufficient. God’s wrath was against man. Yet in His mercy, His love, He lived among us. Immanuel. God with us. Jesus Christ.
He hung on that cross on Friday. But it wasn’t the nails that held Him up there. It was His love for us. For me. For you. Because only the perfect, unblemished sacrifice could atone for the sins of man. The only real mercy from justice had to come from the creator of mercy and justice.
Jesus walked away from that grave. And in doing so removed the barrier between God and man. He gave it to us as a true gift. One undeserved. Unwarranted. A gift given out of love. And all He asks is that we accept it.
Because it is the only way to deal with the problem we have. Sin. Not what we can do. But what He has done.
The world tells us there are other ways. That there are other paths. That if we are somehow good enough, or say the right things, or so many other lies whispered by the Thief, everything will be alright.
That’s the thing about Truth though. Truth isn’t negated by lack of belief. It is not replaced by foolishness sold as Truth. Reason does not replace Truth. Careful study of the things of man do not negate the Truth of God. The created does not tell Truth it is lie.
The Truth is this- Jesus Christ was crucified on Friday, and He arose on Sunday. In doing so, He made way for sinful man to be reconciled with a perfect and holy God. He bridged the gap that man could not. All for the price of belief in Him, acknowledging it is only by His sufficiency we are justified.
Jesus, on that Easter morning, walked away from the grave. Death and the grave was dealt with for all mankind. For once. Forever.
Let us celebrate this day in every way- all focused on the Truth. Celebrate it joyfully, celebrate it gratefully. Celebrate it with ham and chocolate and bunnies and eggs and family and your best Sunday clothes.
But never forget what all the celebration is focused on.
He has risen. He has risen. Praise God, He has risen!