What kind of faith do you have this Easter?
I love Easter.
I love the power Easter demonstrates.
I love the love Easter celebrates.
I love the Jesus at the center of it.
But don’t get me wrong, I’m not always super spiritual. These days, just finding some quiet reflection space is a task-and-a-half, and my cellphone battles for it.
My belly is bulging as our next baby is just weeks away. Our toddler is bursting with energy before the sun rises. I have a job I love, I write, I serve, put food on the table, clean toilets and wash boxers, not to mention the people I love and care about making time with.
Your list might be different, but my guess is your days are full, too.
Except… this Power, this Love, this Jesus deserves our pause.
What do you really believe about Jesus? Have you given it much thought?
It’s easy to go through our days – task by task – event by event – hour by hour – without giving much thought to that question.
It doesn’t always seem the most urgent. What if it is?
Pause. Please, just stop for a minute. Whatever is next on your to-do list or schedule, pause.
Let’s ask the question.
Who is Jesus?
Who do you think he is?
If you’re not sure about Jesus, do you know what his eye-witness testimonies say about him? Or have vague comments in passing formed your opinion?
Have you read the accounts of Jesus life for yourself, or do you build your thoughts off of other’s opinions?
Most of us have heard of him. Many of us have heard the Easter story – likely dozens of times.
In my own words, here’s Easter in a nutshell:
Writers note: I debated whether to link to scripture references for the following, but I’d be linking every sentence! Instead, I just want you to know that this understanding is drawn from looking at my life and the world through the narrative the Bible gives us on the human experience.
We are hurting and broken people… we know that because we’re always searching for the remedy. Searching for the next thing to make us feel good, whole, complete. We don’t live up to our own standards half the time, let alone anyone else’s.
Scripture would point this brokenness back to the Garden of Eden, where Adam and Eve chose to walk away from God’s wisdom in exchange for their own. You and I do that too. Whether you believe it’s real or just a mythological story, there’s important meaning under it – our selfish motives to control and prevail over our own worlds damage us, damage each other and, most importantly, damage our relationship with God.
God would call those things sin. Not a popular word in today’s culture, I know, but sin is ultimately that which damages you and your relationships, including the one you were meant to have with God. None of us are immune, and we need help. We need freedom. And forgiveness.
This desire for power and control prevents us from knowing and being in a relationship with a God who is all-powerful.
Our sin causes a separation between us and our Creator, our Purpose-giver, our Life-giver.
The crazy thing is, we actually have no idea the depths of the impact sin has on us.
If God really is perfect love, completely pure and totally holy, just the slightest speck of our anger, jealousy, or selfishness simply can’t exist in the same place as He does. Darkness can’t exist where there is perfect light. It gets destroyed.
Our sin, our darkness, leads us to destruction. We can’t help it. We need a way out.
God didn’t give up. Because He loves you.
Here’s what makes the Easter Story so powerful.
God actually decided to fix our problem of sin, to make us new, to heal us and restore us to Him. The Old Testament (the first half of the Bible), while it has many twists, turns and difficult-to-grasp stories through the lens of today’s culture, is the story of His chosen people and the path He laid out for human redemption/renewal… promising a solution, a saviour.
He claimed to be the One and only God. He claimed to be the light of the world. Our solution to sin and pain and death. Our salvation. He fulfilled 100’s of prophecies written over 1000’s of years. He did countless signs and miracles, pointing people back to his Father.
Jesus predicted his own death and resurrection. Then he actually did it.
His claims were an absolute abomination to the religious leaders of the time so, through the Roman government, they sentenced him to crucifixion. When he was crucified, the earth shook, the sky went dark. The curtain in the Jewish temple separating God from people (that was nearly 60 feet high!) was torn in half. Jesus’ body was wrapped and laid in a borrowed grave, guarded by soldiers and blocked by a boulder.
On the 3rd day, two women who loved Jesus very much, visited his tomb, just as you would visit the grave of someone you love. But… they found it open and his body was gone! Jesus appeared before them and before many witnesses, teaching people, letting people see his wounds, touch his body and proving he was, indeed, alive.
Jesus conquered death. He bore the destruction of sin on his shoulders, and rose up with our freedom in his hands. That freedom is given simply, with one instruction, “believe in me.”
Jesus is the solution.
He’s the solution to sin and pain and death.
He is that freedom we need. That forgiveness. That love.
Through his triumph over death, there is eternal life and freedom so personal it’s sometimes difficult to put into words.
Those 1st-century Christians who believed in him ignited a grass-roots revolution that radically changed the world’s super power, the Roman Empire, and changed the face of the earth as we know it today. Even if we don’t believe, we have no idea what the world could look like without the love and hope of Jesus Christ in it.
This story is overflowing with a wealth of rich and exciting depth, meaning, connection and symbolism I can’t possible capture here. Studying it can be thrilling.
So there it is again, the Easter Story.
When you hear the Easter Story, do you dig in with questions or just let it hang?
One of my best friends doesn’t share my faith in Jesus, and every once in a while whiles she pipes up with what we call her “Jesus Questions.” One Easter she said to me…
“I get that Easter is because Jesus died and came back to life. But if Jesus came back to life, when did he die again? Because he’s obviously not here anymore…”
What a great question!
And honestly, one I’d never heard before.
I love when people ask curious questions. I need to keep asking them, too…
[ Incase you want to know ] After Jesus’ resurrection, he spent 40 days teaching and proving that he was alive. Then his disciples witnessed him ascend upward, disappearing in cloud. Witnesses would say Jesus didn’t die again. This account is recorded in the Book of Acts, Chapter 1.
If you’re skeptical of the New Testament’s reliability – the portion of the Bible written after Jesus’ life, death and resurrection – I understand. Turns out, we can depend on its accuracy as much, if not more, than other ancient texts you probably already respect, check out why.
Whether you’re not even sure if Jesus was real, or whether you’ve been following Jesus for many years, what questions do you have about him? Have you ever asked them?
If you’re a believer, when is the last time you read one of the Gospels? Or asked a tough question? Or looked for rich meaning in the Easter Story that expands your understanding of your saviour? Do you rely on messages and sermons to deliver your food-for-thought, or do you ever dig in for yourself?
Don’t let your curiosity die.
Curiosity doesn’t kill the cat, complacency does.
So, why don’t you wake up your curiosity, this Easter?
Ask your questions. Don’t have any? Think of some… and may it lead you to the most important question of all:
Who is Jesus?
And what could that mean for me today, this week, this year?
Don’t just answer in your head in the context of this blog post. Start looking for answers.
Try starting with any one of the following:
- Read one of the Gospels, my suggestion is the Book of John (it’s not that long, I promise :). Before you start, ask God to show himself to you.
- Think of someone you respect that you know follows Jesus, ask them why they do.
- Find someone you trust to have a thoughtful, intelligent conversation (that’s not afraid to say I don’t know) and ask them a question or two.
- Watch this series called Imagine Heaven – people’s real-life, near-death experiences of an afterlife – or pick up the book!
- Read The Problem of God and explore some compelling logic. Or watch the series here!
- Have a specific Bible question? Gotquestions.org is a great resource.
- Check out a local church you’ve heard something great about.