Easter is the most important day of the year for a Christian. The resurrection of Jesus proves to us that sin and death have been defeated. The empty tomb shows us that the kingdom of God is breaking into our world in a real way. This is cause for great celebration.
But I’m afraid that all too often we have reduced Easter to chocolate bunnies and hunting for bright plastic eggs.
In fact, Christmas has become the most important day of the year for most Christians. We get together with friends and family and exchange gifts. We start planning months in advance to get ready for Christmas. Christmas is a huge deal. Just look at the amount of money we spend at Christmas
Christmas is very important. I’m not trying to say that it isn’t. God coming to earth as a flesh and blood human being is incredibly important and demonstrates God’s love and commitment to God’s creation.
But think about Easter. Jesus rose from the dead! Jesus was beaten and was crucified and he was dead. But then three days later he was alive again! That doesn’t happen every day. Sin and death are defeated all because of the resurrection of the Son of God.
Maybe like with the crucifixion we are so used to hearing about the resurrection of Jesus that it has lost some of its power. In fact, it seems to me that most Christians focus more on the crucifixion than the resurrection. I’m not sure why this is.
Just like I said about Christmas, I’m not trying to downplay the crucifixion. As I stated in my last post the crucifixion was a central part of God’s plan. Jesus’ death somehow brings life to us. But for some reason we focus only on the crucifixion and the fact that this allows our sins to be forgiven. Maybe it is our own guilt which causes us to focus so much on our own sin and our need for forgiveness.
Listen to the talk that goes on at church. We talk about the crucifixion most every Sunday but the resurrection is not mentioned nearly as often. Even at Easter the talk will probably be more about the crucifixion and the forgiveness of our sins than about the resurrection and what the resurrection means.
It’s the same thing with the songs we sing. Both the songs we sing at church and most contemporary Christian music speaks of the crucifixion and forgiveness of sins, but the resurrection isn’t mentioned nearly as often.
Forgiveness of sins is important, but it is not the end of the story. Our sins are forgiven so that we can be transformed and be in a relationship with God and work with God. The crucifixion and the forgiveness of our sins are part of the journey. They are not the final destination.
The crucifixion would not matter at all if it weren’t for the resurrection. The incarnation wouldn’t amount to much either if the resurrection didn’t happen. The resurrection changes everything. It changes nature itself and how the world works.
The resurrection helps us to make sense of everything that happened before it.
The resurrection proves that the crucifixion was part of God’s plan.
The resurrection proves that God is not done working in our world.
The resurrection proves that God’s kingdom is breaking into our world in a real, tangible way. That the eschaton, a whole new way of doing things has begun.
The resurrection proves that sin and death hold no power over us any longer.
The resurrection is the single most important moment in all of human history.
And we celebrate it by hunting for eggs? We strip the resurrection of its power without even thinking about it. I pray that this Easter we will remember the power of the resurrection and will praise God for this.