I was asked to write about Easter (Resurrection Sunday) and what it means to me. For many, today (Saturday) is traditionally spent coloring eggs to hide tomorrow and filling baskets for the kids and grand kids. I do this too, as it is all a part of the holiday. For some, Easter is the one day a year they will attend church.
After I was saved and learned more about Jesus, this holiday became much more to me than hiding eggs and dressing up to attend church. As I searched the Gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John, I realized how little understanding even Jesus’ closest followers had about what His death and resurrection would mean.
Mark tells us in chapter 9:31 For he taught his disciples, and said unto them, The Son of man is delivered into the hands of men, and they shall kill him; and after that he is killed, he shall rise the third day.
32 But they understood not that saying, and were afraid to ask.
They didn’t understand Jesus’ words to them, but were afraid to ask. Evidently, they knew he was telling them that He soon would be leaving them, so the next question they had…and evidently discussed as they traveled…was which of them would be considered the greatest, and the one most likely to be chosen their leader after Jesus was gone?
33 And he came to Capernaum: and being in the house, he asked them, What was it that ye disputed among yourselves by the way?
34 But they held their peace.
Of course Jesus knew what they had discussed and told them in verse 35: If any man desire to be first, the same shall be last of all, and servant of all.
He expanded on this comment later in verse 45: For even the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many.
We are all so easily distracted by the things of this world, and the important questions…the ones we are sometimes afraid to ask…go unanswered and pushed aside in our race to be first. It’s time to stop worrying about what we will wear to church on Easter Sunday and who will find the ‘prize’ egg, and ask ourselves: What does Easter or Resurrection Sunday really mean to me…and what did it mean to the entire world that needs to be shared?
It means that Jesus had fulfilled His purpose as ‘God among us.’ He had become the ultimate sacrifice for all our sins…carried the weight (the guilt) of these sins on His own shoulders…covered our sin with His own blood…and gave His life that we might spend ours with Him in heaven for eternity. What in life is more important to know and to share than that?
Let us not let this Easter pass without remembering what we are truly celebrating. Let’s not let our thoughts wander or fall asleep as the disciples did when Jesus was praying that God’s will and not His be done. Take time to hear the brutal words that were being said to our beloved Savior as these men, who had tried from the beginning to find fault with Him, finally got their way. See and feel the agony Jesus felt as a crown of thorns was pushed onto his head and blood pored from His brow…He was beaten, spat on, and forced to carry the cross He would be nailed to…and what did He say, once He finally spoke? He said, “Forgive them, Lord, for they know not what they do.” Then He cried out in pain as the earth shook and He gave up the ghost…died that we might live!
If His disciples were scared before, now they were terrified. The one they had followed was now gone…but then it happened…just as He said it would…on the third day, He rose. The soldiers that guarded the tomb saw it happen. Matthew 28: 2…for the angel of the Lord descended from heaven, and came and rolled back the stone from the door, and sat upon it.
3 His countenance was like lightning, and his rainment white as snow.
4 And for fear of him the keepers did shake, and became as dead men.
Once they regained their senses, the guards rushed into the city and told the chief priests what they had seen. Immediately, a meeting of the counsel was called. The counsel then paid the soldiers large sums of money and made them promise to tell any one who asked that Jesus’ disciples came in the night, while they were sleeping, and took His body away.
Soon, Jesus was reunited with His disciples and He convinced them of what had actually happened. In Matthew 28:19 He tells them: Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost:
20 Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world.
So that is what Easter means to me: Hope, faith, newness of life, and the promise from one who loved us so much that He gave His only Son that we may have eternal life. May we all realize the true meaning of Resurrection Sunday and may it take us one step closer to fulfilling what we now call ‘the great commission.’ Let us we go therefore and teach all nations… Happy Easter!