I love Easter, though not nearly as much as I should. I’ve written before about this, but I think it bears repeating. Easter is the most important day of the year for believers. Without it, without the resurrection, our faith is futile. Hopeless. Worthless. The resurrection of Jesus is the interlacing color that makes the vivid picture of redemption come to life. Take the resurrection off the canvas and we are left with something fractured, ugly, and chaotic. So, believers should relish Easter in a way that proclaims the importance of this day above all others.
Easter is over, though. We are five days removed from all of our Easter celebrations. What do we do now? Before I dive into that, I have a thought or two about the resurrection and the events that led it.
“He is not here; He has risen, just as He said.”
Have there ever been more important words written? “He is not here; He has risen.” Jesus was dead. Now He is alive. He was in the tomb, dead and buried. Now, He is not there. I hope we don’t gloss over those words, or any of the Gospel accounts, when we read this passage every year. We can’t miss the sheer wonder and glory of them. “He is not here; He has risen.” I’m not a big exclamation point guy, but I want exclamation points all over that sentence. As many as you can fit.
As important as those words are, and they are more important than I can articulate, I’m more focused on the last part of that phrase. “Just as He said.” I’ve known this my whole life, having grown up in the church and as a part of a Godly family that taught me the truth. Jesus was fully God and fully man. He knew what was going to happen to Him.
As I taught Matthew chapter 28 to the teen class at my church on Sunday, that phrase kept bouncing around in my head. “Just as He said.” As I said, I’ve known these things my whole life but this Sunday God used that verse to really drive them home in my heart. Nothing that happened during Passion Week came as a surprise to Jesus. He was not caught off guard when Peter didn’t want his feet washed. Jesus was not surprised when His disciples fell asleep in the garden instead of praying. He knew Judas would betray him. Knew that Peter would deny Him three times.
Everything that happened to Jesus on those final days and hours were not just known by Him. He was fully in control. At any point, He could have chosen to stop the whole thing and walk away. And He would have been fully justified in doing so. We were utterly undeserving of His love, His sacrifice, and His death. But, that didn’t stop Him. He suffered, bled, and died, “just as He said.” And even more importantly, He rose again, “just as He said.” I hope I never forget the power of that simple sentence. It needs to be part of my daily adoration and worship, not just at Easter.
Easter is over. Now what?
My church does a great job of celebrating the resurrection throughout the year. We sing about it. Our pastors talk about it. Even with all that, it’s easy to forget about it until Easter rolls around again. That is my call to action and I hope you will take it up as well. Let’s be Easter people. Let’s be resurrection-minded every day of the year.
Have you ever put yourself in the sandals of the women who visited the tomb from Matthew 28? Yes, they were afraid. They were confused. But, the joy they felt when they saw Jesus must have been overwhelming. They fell to His feet and worshipped Him. They “grasped His feet.” We don’t see people fall to Jesus’ feet very often in the Gospels. After all, from outward appearances, He was a man. Even His closest disciples didn’t spend their days falling to His feet and worshiping Him.
But, when the women saw Him, the veil was lifted and they saw Him for who He truly was, is, and forevermore will be. All doubt had been removed. This teacher they had followed was the King of kings and Lord of lords. He was the promised Messiah. The Holy Son of God. He was the Author and Perfecter of their faith. The spotless Lamb, foreknown before the foundations of the world. He was the Light and Life of men. Death could not hold Him. The grave could not keep Him. What transcendent awe and joy they must have felt!
These faithful women saw Him and they fell to His feet in worship. That should be my mindset every day. I’m not advocating we prostrate ourselves 24/7. But, our hearts should be turned to Him every hour of every day. His great love for us, demonstrated on the cross, is all the reason we should ever need. Easter is once a year but my prayer is that I will live with that same sense of awe, thankfulness, and joy the other 364 days.
Easter is never over. Because He lives, we can live the reality of Easter every day of our lives.