Saturday, March 22, 2008
It's Easter time again, and for many that conjures up images of Easter bonnets, new dresses and Easter eggs. But for us Christians, Easter means a lot more. We think of the triumphant resurrection of Our Lord Jesus Christ, Mary Magdalene and the other women coming to the tomb and finding it empty, Peter and John running to the tomb and also finding it empty, and Jesus appearing to the two disciples on the road to Emmaus.
Yes, it's a happy time, a glorious time, a time of hope that follows a period of excruciating pain for Our Lord. Just three days earlier He was crucified, betrayed by one of His friends(Matthew 26:48). That marks the beginning of sorrows. Then comes more sorrow as Peter, a member of His inner circle, denies knowing Jesus Christ(vv 69-74). But the most excruciating pain comes when Jesus is forsaken by God, His Father on the cross as the crushing weight of the world's sins are thrust upon Him and He cries out "Eli, lama sabacthani, that is to say, My God, My God, why hast thou forsaken me?" (Matthew 27: 46)
But three days later, Jesus shakes off the grave clothes and rises in victory from the tomb. The stone that has held His body is rolled away, and nothing stands in the way of His triumph. The weight of sin and death are off Him, signifying that we, who are in Him, can be rid of the weights that have buried us for so long. Drugs, alcohol, sickness, financial burdens, failing relationships, whatever might be in that stone can be removed through the resurrection of Jesus Christ.
Yes, Easter is the most significant day in the Christian calendar. We have only to look around us to see that this is a time of new beginnings. Tender green leaves are sprouting from those dead, dry tree branches. Flowers are blooming everywhere, birds are singing, and the air is invigorating. Everything in nature salutes this time of year. And so it is for us. We, too, can salute our new beginning with praises to the One who has given us a new birth. Let us rejoice for our victory is won. Hosanna to the King!