This is part three of a three-part series on Easter. You don’t have to read them in order, but it’ll make more sense if you do! Enjoy.
For those of you faithful enough to have read all three of this short series (and I salute you for your sticking power), this post will look a little different to the last two. I’ve written stuff about Easter Sunday before, and reading back over that post (found here), I realised I quite liked what my original piece said. So I’ve quoted bits of it in the piece below, which is why it might sound familiar for those of you who are really keen on this blog (you guys get a double salute).
Part one of the series can be found here.
Part two of the series can be found here.
Today is a happy day. A day of flowers and chocolate and families, a day of roast dinners and smiles and Easter egg hunts, of fluffy lambs and giant, benevolent rabbits.
Today is disconnected from the grief of Friday and the emptiness of Saturday. Today is a celebration of new life. The resurrection of Jesus and the newness of spring. Everyone knows the story.
I imagine that, on that first Easter morning, things seemed a little less comprehensible. Terrified women babbling about an angel. An empty tomb, the body vanished and the clothes left behind. After the hysteria that had turned to shock and was slowly becoming mourning, this must have seemed like a cross between a cruel trick and a mass hallucination. Because people don’t come back from the dead, especially not if they’ve been crucified by the Romans. There couldn’t be any way back from such a brutal state execution. And then, suddenly, Jesus is there! Right in front of His friends, standing alive three days after they’ve watched Him die. How on earth do you make sense of that?
One of my favourite films is called ‘The Illusionist’, partly because it has one of the most unexpected endings of any film I’ve ever seen. One of those endings where, as the plot twist is revealed, you suddenly realise the film has been telling you all along that this will happen, but that you missed all the clues. And as you watch it back, it all makes so much sense that you can’t believe you didn’t see it coming.
Easter Sunday commemorates the biggest plot twist in history, the one you never saw coming. The ultimate comeback that left everyone speechless.
Sometimes I wonder if Satan saw it coming. Did he realise, somewhere between leading Judas to betray Jesus and the final cry of pain, exhaustion and triumph on the cross, that he had assisted in orchestrating his own downfall? Or was it on that Sunday morning, when the earth shook as the sun rose and the indomitable spirit of Christus Victor sledgehammered the lock on hell’s gates and paved the way to freedom for all of humanity, that Satan screamed in anger and frustration as he realised that he’d been outdone for the last time?
Today is a happy day. A day of astonishment and shock and daring to believe, a day of faith and hope and gratitude, of the end of death at the hands of a powerful and loving God.
Today, in the light of the grief of Friday and the emptiness of Saturday, is all the more glorious. Today is a celebration of new life. The resurrection of Jesus and the newness of the life that is offered to anyone who desires it.
Is it any surprise that, in response to this cataclysmic change of direction for the fate of humanity, the disciples fell down and worshipped Jesus? In awe of the Almighty, in gratitude for the forgiveness and new life they’d been granted by the God who stood before them in human form, they knelt and acknowledged Him as Lord of the universe and Lord of their lives.
Christians have been doing the same thing ever since. People across the centuries have come to the conclusion that the only response to the glory and grace of God is to live their lives to tell others of His glory and grace. I hope that this Easter series has shown you a little of why I’ve come to this conclusion, and brought you a little closer to reaching the same one.