What does Easter mean to me? This is something I often get asked at work. Colleagues jokingly cajole me, asking what it is all about. It's about hope.
Hope, freedom and love.
I tell them there was once a man. He was no ordinary man,for he was filled with a love for humanity that has never been surpassed by any philanthropist, protestor or freedom fighter since. This man was fully dependant on his father and would speak to him everyday. This is where his love came from.
You see, his father had loved humanity for longer than anyone could remember and longed for the day when humanity would realise it's full potential. He longed for the day when every one of us would step into our destiny and become all we were made to be.
So the man wandered the land, sharing this message of love, hope and freedom, yet those who did not understand his intent were quick to judge, quick to blame and quick to condemn. The man who had done no wrong was sentenced to death for nothing more than exposing their lies by living a life of love.
As he learned of his fate, he turned to his father and asked what should be done. “Win them back, my son,” was the reply “you know what must be done.” And with that an ancient plan's climatic finale was put in motion and, to the onlookers, the outcome looked bleak.
You see, this plan involved the death of the one person who did not deserve to die. The death sentence was reserved solely for the worst criminals yet all this man had done was feed the hungry, care for the sick and offer love and friendship to the marginalised and oppressed. How was that just?
The plan was to bring freedom, but appeared to end in death. The aim was to end oppression but seemed to simply demonstrate the oppressor's power. As he died a criminal's death, he held no grudge, no unforgiveness. His final words, before his soul left his broken body, were for his father's ears: “Forgive them…”
The days that followed were marked by anguish and blame. His friends had thought he would do more. His talk of freedom and promise of love seemed to have done nothing to change the status quo. Their oppressors remained in power and all that had happened was the loss of a friend…
Disheartened and disillusioned they turned and walked away.
This, however, was not the end of the story for our subject was no ordinary man. He was royalty. The son of a king. The prince, who had lived as a pauper and died like a thief, had not yet finished his story.
Three days later, the man named Jesus was no longer in his grave. The tomb where he had been laid to rest stood silent, empty.
This should not have been so unexpected for the plan had been described and foretold for hundreds of years. His birth, His life, His death and His resurrection, all foretold, all awaited.
In His death, an incomprehensible exchange, his resurrection assuring The truth of His words.
You see, it's in that mystery that our independent nature dies. It is at the point of surrender, when our hearts believe what our minds cannot comprehend and we place our trust in the inexplicable sacrifice of Jesus, that we stop relying on our own strength and lean on the everlasting love of God.
It is here, at the foot of the cross, yet in the light of resurrection, that freedom is found.
For God so loved the world that He gave His only son, that whoever believe in Him will not die but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son to condemn the world but to save the world through him. (Jn 3:16&17)
We have all sinned, all chosen independence from God, taking glory away from Him and the consequence of this is physical and spiritual death, but God has given us the gift of eternal life through the death and resurrection of Jesus. We must simply declare with our mouths that Jesus is Lord and believe in our hearts that God raised him from the dead and we will be saved. (Rom 3:23,6:23 & 10:9)
As we surrender our minds to the inexplicable, our hearts to the incomprehensible, our lives are transformed forever and the truth of the Easter story radically and continually affects every moment of every day, now and into eternity.
So take a moment to consider what is available to you. Will you remain as you are or will you give up your independence to discover a gift that is so much greater than you could ever possibly imagine?