What’s that one holiday you love more than all the others? Is it Thanksgiving? Is it Christmas? Is it the 4th of July? For me, it’s Easter. Forget the furry bunnies, colored eggs, peeps, and jelly beans. I could care less about those. I love Easter for a completely different reason. I love it because its purpose is to celebrate the resurrection of my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.
If you’ve read some of my other articles, you’ve probably realized that I spend a lot of time talking about Jesus. I don’t talk about him because I get paid to talk about him or because I think I’m going to earn special standing with him. I’ve made a whopping total of $0 from writing these articles and I certainly don’t earn any type of prestige for it. Instead, I talk about Jesus because of how much I love him. I can’t help it. So what holiday could possibly be better than one which celebrates his work?
What Did Jesus Do That’s Worth Celebrating?
In a few of the articles I’ve written, I’ve shared about my belief that I have an evil heart condition. That doesn’t mean I run around purposely trying to hurt people, but it does mean that I’m, by nature, a sinner who lives in rebellion to God. The wages I’ve earned as a result of my rebellious nature is not only spiritual and physical death, but also having the cup of God’s wrath poured out on me. None of this is unjust; I deserve every bit of it. I don’t believe this to only be my condition, but I also believe it to be the intrinsic condition of every human who has ever walked the face of the earth, all that is except Jesus.
According to the Bible, when humans were first created, they were not enmeshed in sin. Instead, they were perfect beings who were spiritually alive and not deserving of death. But they betrayed their creator, God, and became enmeshed in sin. This sin continued to carry over into their offspring and was passed down from generation to generation with no hope of ever being able to do anything to set themselves free from this condition.
But God, being a loving Father, chose to rescue some of their offspring from this inherited condition. He chose to set them free from their captivity so that they could be raised to life spiritually and experience eternal life with him. However, it didn’t come without a price because the price still had to be paid for their sin. It wasn’t like God could just sweep it under the rug and act like it never happened. So God chose to offer someone else who wasn’t a sinner and wasn’t deserving of death to die in their place. And the person he chose to be the substitute was himself.
Two thousand years ago, God the Father sent God the Son to earth as a human being known as Jesus. He lived a life just like all of us, only without sin. He was turned over to the governing authorities by people who thought he was a heretic and was killed by being hung for hours on a cross. During that time, he not only experienced the physical pain of being flogged and hung on the cross, but he also experienced the Father’s divine wrath being poured out on him.
Jesus didn’t deserve any of these punishments. He had done nothing wrong. Instead, I’m the one who deserved those punishments. Moreover, all of us deserved those punishments. But God, being loving, gracious, and merciful, chose to suffer his own punishment, a punishment he didn’t deserve, in our place. Wow! Isn’t that amazing? But it wouldn’t have nearly the same significance if the story ended here.
Oh Death, Where Is Your Sting?
After having passed away on the cross, Jesus was buried in a tomb. This tomb wasn’t like what we think of when we think of a tomb. No one dug a hole and buried him in the ground. Instead, his tomb was cut into the side of a rock. And a large stone was rolled over the entrance for obvious reasons.
Three days later, a few of his followers went to the tomb. Upon arrival, they observed that the stone had been rolled away and his body was gone. At first, they thought someone had come and stolen the body. But then he appeared to them and showed them the marks on his body from where he had been crucified three days earlier. Jesus accomplished something no one else had ever done: he resurrected from the dead! After showing himself to about five hundred people over the course of forty days, he ascended to heaven where he is currently dwelling with the Father.
Does that mean Jesus’s work is done on earth? Not at all. He continues to do his work on this earth every single day. He’s intimately involved in every single detail of everything that takes place in order to draw all of his people to him and transform them into his image. And ultimately, his goal in accomplishing these two things is to unite all his people not only to one another, but also to him for all of eternity.
What Did I Do to Receive God’s Gift?
Nothing. I did absolutely nothing. I didn’t confess my sins, pray a prayer, or walk an aisle. God did all of this for me before I was even born. Once he opened my spiritual eyes to understand that this is what took place and gave me the faith to not only believe, but life in accordance with it, I chose to follow him. But my following of him was merely a byproduct of his work; it wasn’t the cause of his work. There’s a big difference between the two.
My hope and prayer for all of you reading this article is that God has and will continue to show you the same love, mercy, and grace he’s shown me. I hope to one day be united together with you and Jesus as we collectively and joyfully worship him for all of eternity.
I love to celebrate Easter because I love to celebrate the resurrection of Jesus! I can’t even begin to imagine what my life would be like if he hadn’t risen from the dead.