By: Kevin Gosa
To say that Easter is overlooked culturally might be an understatement. The Christmas hullabaloo is almost oppressive. Easter gets a lot less press. To Christians though, Easter is everything. Or at least it ought to be.
The trouble is, we can get caught in a rhythm with Easter and miss its weightiness. When we say the Apostle’s Creed we remember the big point: “on the third day he rose again.” Jesus rose from the dead and now we can go to heaven. That’s Easter in an, ahem, eggshell.
But what if it’s even more significant than that? What if we could see Easter as the single most important moment in the history of the cosmos? Think about it. It’s the day a man rose from the dead. He was dead for three days. Buried. Gone. Until all of a sudden he wasn’t. This man became alive again. Alive again and no longer subject to death. That man now lives on forever. In the same – yet transformed – body that died.
Perhaps that’s why Easter just doesn’t carry the cultural weight of Christmas. It’s easier to get behind the birth of a baby or understand the notion of a savior. Angels and wise men and shepherds are all pretty palatable.
But a guy coming back from the dead? Not as much. We just can’t process it. It doesn’t make any sense. People don’t do that.
I once read an article in a Christian publication about how we can make Christianity more “relevant” to people. How it could be less off-putting, more accepted. And I thought to myself, we actually believe a man came back from the dead, then disappeared to another plane of existence, and will come back again and raise from the dead all those people who are part of his adopted family so that they can live forever too. That’s not “normal.” People don’t just accept those things as regular, everyday concepts or ideas.
Before Easter, people died and they didn’t come back. That was it. There was no resurrection of the dead. No one came back from Hades or Sheol. You got one life. But Easter is the day when that became untrue.
It was even hard for some of the early Christians to really wrap their minds around this idea.
Paul writes in 1 Corinthians 15:
12But if it is preached that Christ has been raised from the dead, how can some of you say that there is no resurrection of the dead? 13If there is no resurrection of the dead, then not even Christ has been raised. 14And if Christ has not been raised, our preaching is useless and so is your faith. 15More than that, we are then found to be false witnesses about God, for we have testified about God that he raised Christ from the dead. But he did not raise him if in fact the dead are not raised. 16For if the dead are not raised, then Christ has not been raised either. 17And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins. 18Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ are lost. 19If only for this life we have hope in Christ, we are of all people most to be pitied.
Easter redefines existence. I think it’s the fulcrum on which the whole universe balances. On Easter we went from a world without resurrection to one that promises it. So one of the great hopes of Christianity is that death is now empty. All who are in Christ will live forever. They will be resurrected on the last day. I feel like I need to type that again. All who are in Christ will live… forever.
Eternal Life.
How much time do the people in our culture spend fretting over death? How much money do they spend seeking to avoid it? How often do we see people in denial about the reality of it? How often do they dream of living forever?
Yet death is still real. An as yet unavoidable aspect of being alive in the world as it still is. But for the Christian death has no sting – because of Easter. That thing which people of this world have for ages longed – eternal life – can now be had through Christ.
When you “share your faith” with others, this is part of the hope that you are sharing. You have the answer to the question that eats at the heart of every person. You know the one who is the way to eternal life. You know the one who forgives even the darkest corners of our hearts. You know the one who loves like no other. That’s something worth sharing.
And this Easter season is a great opportunity to do just that. To have a conversation about the “crazy” stuff you believe about death. Or invite someone to come to church on Easter and understand a little better why Christ is the most important person anyone can know. So let us “always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks [us] to give the reason for the hope that [we] have.”
Happy Easter!
©Redeemer Hoboken
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