Rejoice! Rejoice! Christ has Risen, Christ is Risen. Today, Easter Sunday, we celebrate that Jesus Christ has risen from the dead. After three days in the tomb, the stone is rolled away because Jesus has risen from the grave. The empty tomb is the symbol of Easter Sunday because Jesus has overcome death.
When we look at our society today, it is hard to explain this victory to people. People celebrate the most amazing victory ever with cheap chocolate that gives you a quick sugar rush, then a crushing low only a short time later. This is hardly the appropriate symbol to celebrate a once and for all victory over death.
Here is a more appropriate image:
In our society we celebrate people who overcome great adversity to succeed in a task. How much more then should we celebrate someone who overcame death?
Let me give you a few examples:
- My Son’s Year 5 teacher went in the Melbourne IronMan event that involved a 3km swim, 100km bike ride and a 42km run. It would be a great achievement to complete one of these legs but she finished all three. The school community celebrated her achievement; she was a hero to all the boys in her class. It was because the task involved difficulty that people celebrated her achievement.
- I worked with a teacher who was planning a trip to Mount Everest. In the training he discovered he had cancer. He was determined to beat cancer so he could make to Everest base camp. After months of therapy he had overcome cancer and made it to base camp. Overcoming cancer made him a hero to many people but then going to base camp was even more impressive. It was because he overcame difficulty to achieve his task that people celebrated.
- We celebrate all kinds of people who climb Mt Everest. Anyone who makes it to the top is a hero. But if you make it to the top unassisted that is even more heroic. When a blind person climbed Everest that was even more heroic. It seems we celebrate people who overcome great adversity to achieve a task.
- We celebrate people who achieve in business all the time. Yet if someone started out with nothing then we celebrate their achievement even more. But if someone starts out with nothing during a depression, goes through a recession and comes out successful then books are written about them. Even in the secular world of business we celebrate people who overcome great adversity to achieve a task.
So what about Jesus? Why is that we celebrate people who overcome great adversity yet we expect God to give us everything easy or God is not faithful? Why is that we expect God to give us everything we think we want in order to show us God is great? Wouldn’t it be more logical to let us overcome adversity so that we feel we accomplished something?
Here is the amazing thing about God:
- Jesus overcomes death – if you think it is hard to fight cancer in order to climb Mt Everest how much more difficult is it to overcome death itself. Jesus didn’t just wake up from a coma caused by the Crucifixion, he had a new body, able to walk, talk and eat. Jesus walked a few miles on the road to Emmaus only days after dying on the Cross, this is not a simple healing but a new beginning. Jesus overcame the greatest challenge of all and we should celebrate.
- God is faithful – God knows what we are like and sent his Son to die for us as a sign of God’s faithfulness. We don’t have to overcome any great challenge to join in this victory, we have it easy because God is faithful. We can stand before God blameless because Jesus overcame death on our behalf. Isn’t this something that we should celebrate?
My hope is that you celebrate that Jesus overcame the greatest obstacle so that we can believe that anything is possible. My hope is that this Good News is something that you celebrate because it is greater than any IronMan, any climb of Mt Everest or any Business tycoon. What a great day this is.
What does Easter mean to you? Please leave a comment.