Easter Reflections

 

EasterThe sun is rising over the low hills casting a copper glow and a lonely tree’s shadow stretches narrowly across the meadow.  A dewy mist opens its arms to reveal the small petals than have blossomed. The world is quiet, unaware that heaven is loudly exalting its beloved Messenger’s ascension from the tomb to triumph.

He is Risen. He is Risen, indeed.

The glory of the morning that Christ arose from the dead was as bright as the trial, torture and the cross were dark. For a moment, leave the peaceful hillside of the resurrection scene and go back to three nights earlier to the Garden of Gethsemane.

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As God would have it, my Bible study lesson this week was on Matthew 26 and 27 (and we also referenced the other Gospel versions of the story), the chapters that describe the proceedings that lead up to Jesus’ death. As I read these chapters and answered the Bible study questions, I fell in love with Him all over again. He displayed such majesty and wisdom in every action; knowing the suffering He willing endured makes the joy of the resurrection that much greater. Had he simply suffered, he would have been a good man. A man that had a heart like few other humans. But is the fact that He did not stay dead, the fact that he could overcome the injustice of his own death on a cross, that makes him Lord, and makes our outlook for life and eternity so wonderful if we simply would accept His gift.

I’d encourage you to read any of the Gospel versions of Jesus’ death and resurrection this Easter season. Ask God for fresh eyes and new meaning to the story. Here’s what stood out to me this year in the text:

-Jesus was sorrowful and troubled. “My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death,” He says in Matthew 26:38. He understands our very deepest pain because He has been there Himself.

-He is willing to do the will of God, even though the circumstances will be painful and unfair. “My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me. Yet not as I will, but as you will,” Matthew 26:2 and Matthew 26:42, “My Father, if it is not possible for this cup to be taken away unless I drink it, may your will be done.”

-Though he had all the power to stop His own arrest, He submitted to the will of the Father and treated all those involved with kindness and care. If their hearts would have been open to the Truth, they would have seen that He was indeed the King. Consider the following words and actions of Jesus.

  • When Judas kissed him to betray him, Jesus said, “Friend, do what you came for,” Matthew 26:50. How gracious was Jesus to the man that turned his Teacher over for 4 months wages?
  • In response to Peter’s unwieldy sword cutting off a servant’s ear, “Do you think I can not call on my Father, and he will at once put at my disposal more than twelve legions of angels? But how then would the Scriptures be fulfilled that say it must happen this way?” Matthew 26:53
  • He performed a miracle and healed the man’s ear. He also likely saved Peter from suffering any legal consequences of such an action but making it a mute point. In Luke 22:51 it states, “He touched the man’s ear and healed him.”

– In John’s version of the dark night of Jesus’ arrest, he included a detail I had missed in the past. When the soldiers pronounced they were looking for Jesus of Nazareth, Jesus stated “I am he,” (John 18:6)  the soldiers drew back and fell to the ground. He was so powerful that even his words caused grown men to fall down. How could have they written that off and just continued on like nothing happened? Probably like I can completely ignore signs of God’s power and majesty in my own life when I’m focused on my own sinful plots.

-He was quiet before his accusers. “But Jesus made no reply, not even to a single charge-to the great amazement of the governor,” Matthew 27:14 He spoke very rarely to Pilate, Herod and the high priests, often choosing not to answer their questions. The self-control that he showed both fulfilled prophecy (Isaiah 53:7) and is the opposite of the response that most of us would be able to display. I would have been livid, not to mention afraid beyond anything I could now imagine–the injustice of it all, the foolishness of the accusers, the lies of the false witnesses, the envy of the priests that caused them to want to bring Jesus to trial in the first place. He knew His innocence and that He was the true King, but He allowed all of this injustice because it was what He came for. The will of the Father, to make a way for us.

– Jesus makes a bold statement that few have ever made. When the high priests asked Jesus, “Are you then the Son of God?” in Luke 22:70 Jesus answered, “You are right in saying that I am.” Yes, more than a prophet, more than a good guy, more than a heavenly being. He claimed to be God. And to that, we must respond.

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What was that first Easter morning like? The one that changed everything? Did Jesus stretch out his worn, damaged body before he rose up, folded his tunic and left the shadowy enclave that could not hold him in? Did He smile in relief as he reflected, maybe a little bit like a mother after a hard labor, that he was “on the other side” of the work he had come to do? Did he see our faces in his mind? Did he think about when he would come back again for his own?

We will never know those details in this life…but what we do know about Jesus’ death and resurrection is that it changes everything. Read the story again and let him amaze you all over again today.

Blessings & Happy Easter,

Heidi

Comments

  1. Yes, Heidi, I feel the same. Pure amazement. We can never consider our trials too hard to bear when we just try for a minute to picture what agony it was for Jesus to know the sins He was taking on himself. Our sins. Sins we have only read about that are even too horrific to begin to let our minds feel them. Just the mental suffering would be beyond words not to mention the actual crucifixion. As you said, can we even imagine the joy in being resurrected on the last day as being as intensely exhilirating as Christ’s death was intensely painful? It takes the scariness of dying away. Thanks for the great reflections.