Easter is one of my favorite Christian celebrations, because it brings to mind so many life-altering truths. Here are three of them as I think about this year’s Easter celebration:
Easter reminds us that death isn’t the end: When Jesus was placed in the tomb, most people thought it was the end of His story. But on Easter Sunday when the tomb was empty, God’s story of redemption was finding completion. 1 Corinthians 15:54 tells us that “death [was] swallowed up in victory” when Jesus rose from the grave. Death wasn’t the end of Jesus’ life, and now it doesn’t have to be the end of anyone else’s life, either. Easter Sunday reminds us that death has been defeated.
All of us will face the end of this life one day -- but that isn’t the end of living. Existence will go on, but whether that is with or without God will be determined on what you do with the story and message of Easter. If you will believe in Jesus, believing that He was the perfect sacrifice paying for your sins and mine, then you too can experience the victory over death! The Bible makes it clear that all of us have a sin problem, and that sin problem keeps us separated from God. Left to ourselves, there is nothing we can do to remedy our sin problem. If we die with our sin problem not dealt with, we spend eternity without God. But God didn’t leave us by ourselves to resolve our sin problem.
Instead, He sent Jesus to take care of our sin problem. Jesus lived the perfect life, and when He died, the sin of the world was placed on Him. The penalty you and I couldn’t pay was paid by God’s perfect Son. And when He walked out of the tomb on Easter Sunday, He proved He was the lamb of God who could take away our sin.
Easter reminds us that God always triumphs: It can be easy to think that evil is winning the battle; that the world is going to hell in a hand basket. In some regards it is, but can you imagine how the disciples felt the night Jesus was crucified? They must have thought the biggest evil was about to overcome the greatest good -- they must have been certain that Satan had won.
Imagine the scene three days later when the tomb was empty and Jesus was showing up in locked rooms, popping up on roads near Jerusalem and being seen by over 500 people at one time. Suddenly evil didn’t seem so strong and God’s triumph was certain. No matter how dark things become, no matter how impossible the victory looks for God -- He will always defeat evil! Sometimes we get into the idea that God and Satan are equal titans of power and the shift from one to other is volatile. Nothing could be further from the truth! God isn’t “competing” with Satan. God isn’t going toe-to-toe with evil. God has won, and no matter how powerful or dark evil is -- God is always stronger.
Easter reminds us that the brightest days can come from the darkest nights: Jesus experienced excruciating pain and sorrow the nights leading up to His own death. His disciples deserted Him, they let Him down when He needed them most and one of His closest friends actually betrayed Him to His death. On top of that, Jesus experienced a separation from His Heavenly Father that words cannot express. On the cross, Jesus said, “My God, My God, Why have you forsaken me?” right before He died. The penalty for the world’s sin was placed on Him, and the Father and Son experienced some kind of interruption in their relationship that neither had ever experienced before. No words can describe how dark those nights before Good Friday were.
But Easter Sunday reminds us that the brightest days come through those dark nights. Hebrews 12:3 tells us that “[Jesus], who for the joy set before Him, endured the cross, scanning it’s shame…” Joy? Yes…Joy! The darkest of nights brought the brightest of days, and Jesus knew that walking through the darkness of the crucifixion was a precursor to the joy that only God could bring.
When you and I walk through the darkness of trials and hard times, we must remember that the the brightest days come after those dark nights. When it seems like everyone or everything is against us, God’s ability to bring beauty from ashes isn’t reduced; instead, His power is manifested more clearly!
Easter is a great celebration, and a great time to remember that an Overboard Life is possible, not because of who we are, but because of who God is and what He has done for us.
Happy Easter. And now's a great time to take the plunge, because life is always better on the water.