What is the first thing that comes to mind when you think of Easter?
For the general public, a blitz of media images, speckled coloured eggs, Easter bunnies, instore merchandise and public holidays are more likely to spring to mind.
To the discerning Christian, the first image might be the cross or the empty tomb. Easter is essentially the worldwide Christian celebration of the resurrection of Jesus from the tomb on the third day after his crucifixion. The earliest Christians celebrated the resurrection on the fourteenth of Nisan (our March-April), the date of the Jewish Passover.
Jewish days were reckoned from evening to evening, so Jesus had celebrated His Last Supper the evening of the Passover and was crucified the day of the Passover. Early Christians celebrating the Passover worshiped Jesus as the Paschal Lamb and Redeemer.
Easter is therefore the fulfilled prophecy of the Messiah who would be persecuted, die for our sins, and rise on the third day. (Isaiah 53). Remembering the resurrection of Jesus is a way to renew daily hope that we have victory over sin. In the context of our current global crisis, many people are asking where is God? We cannot see him; we cannot hear him. We cry out to him in anguish but no voice answers us. Is he there and why doesn’t’ he speak to us?
The Easter answer to these riddles is that God has revealed himself to us and that he has spoken – but not in our superficial and presumptuous human way. God’s communication with us was to unveil his mystery and come to us to live and dwell among us as the person of Jesus Christ. Jesus thus becomes the epitome of God’s full and unconditional love towards creation – “For God so loved the world” (John 3:16). God’s saving action continues through the sacrificial work of Jesus’ death, resurrection and promised return.
So the application of the Easter message for our contemporary world is love. Love because God first loved us; while we were still sinners unaware of our sin. Love unconditionally because God doesn’t keep a record of our wrong and saw it fit to forgive us of all our sin (past, present and future). Love into action because God just didn’t say ‘I love you’ but proved his love for you and the world by sending his most precious gift, Jesus, to die for the salvation of the world.
This Easter, ask yourself how you can help transform our divided and struggling world into a place of peace, justice and joy?
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