It’s that time of year again. Over the weekend we’ll all eat more peanut butter eggs than we should (Reese’s are the best) and see plenty of awkward looking pictures of kids with the Easter bunny on Facebook.
I like Easter, but I don’t get excited about it in the same way I do when Thanksgiving or Christmas rolls around. And while for me it doesn’t bring the same level of anticipation as other holidays, when I’m actually sitting in church there is always a sense of awe that comes over me while I reflect on Jesus’ death and resurrection. For that reason, I love Easter.
What is it about what Jesus did that inspires this sense of awe and gratefulness? Is it because He died an innocent death on the cross? Or is it that He rose from the dead three days later? It’s both His death and resurrection that has inspired generation after generation of Christ followers.
You see, Jesus lived an incredible life. He packed more miracles and life-changing moments into three years of ministry than most of us will experience in a lifetime. And He did it all without sinning. Yet, He suffered a grueling and untimely death when the religious leaders couldn’t bear His scrutiny any longer. The Bible tells us in 1 Peter that in His innocent death He took the weight of the world’s sin upon Himself, “Christ suffered for our sins once for all time. He never sinned, but he died for sinners to bring you safely home to God.”
So, we see the incredible act of selflessness that occurred when Jesus died on the cross. But why did He need to be resurrected and come back to earth? Couldn’t He have just gone to heaven at this point and enjoyed time with the Father? Wasn’t what He had gone through enough?
While what Jesus had done was incredible, He wasn’t done yet. When He was resurrected three days later it sent a powerful message that He was the Son of God. People in Biblical times had seen many prophets and religious leaders come and go. Many had claimed to be God and some had even died on Roman crosses just as Jesus had. But none of them had returned. Jesus was the only one to completely conquer death.
When He appeared to His disciples and over five hundred others the news that He was alive spread like wildfire. And it was in those moments that Jesus gave His disciples (and us) the greatest life calling we could ever receive.
Not only did the resurrection prove that He was the Son of God, it also proved that all Jesus had said and done was more meaningful than any other religion. If it wasn’t for the resurrection Christianity would look much like every other religion. Jesus wouldn’t stand out from the rest of history’s leaders. But because of this event we can say with confidence that our God is living and active!
And it’s for these reasons that I find myself in awe every Easter. That is why I will always be grateful for Jesus’ death and resurrection. I hope you also experience the awe and wonder of what Jesus has done for us as you celebrate this year.