Christian holidays are more than just times for families to get together they are significant because they have the potential of changing lives. At Christmas we celebrate through the giving of gifts, family dinners, worship services, festive decoration, and Christian decorations.
But Christmas is more than that.
For Easter our celebrations begin with Lent, then we worship on Palm Sunday, then we worship on Maundy Thursday, then we worship on Good Friday, then on Easter Sunday we begin with Sunrise worship services, Sunrise breakfast, then later we worship one last time where we see people we rarely every see in church and everyone displays their new spring wardrobe. And somewhere sandwiched in on our Easter Sunday Worship on behalf of the Easter Bunny we hide Easter Eggs and give children Easter Baskets.
But Easter is more than all that…
Easter is more than just remembering and celebrating Jesus’ sacrifice for us!
Easter is more than just celebrating God’s ultimate gift of eternal life!
Easter is about transforming our lives in the here and now!
Easter is about journeying down a new road!
Easter is about the dying of our flesh and the resurrection of our spiritual lives!
Easter is about the coming of age of God’s kingdom in our lives!
Easter is about Jesus’ life in you!
Easter is about taking the things of this life and giving them eternal significance!
Then Pilate handed Jesus over to be nailed to a cross. Jesus was taken away, and he carried his cross to a place known as “The Skull.” In Aramaic this place is called “Golgotha.” There Jesus was nailed to the cross, and on each side of him a man was also nailed to a cross. (John 19:16-18 CEV)
John identified Jesus as the person Pilate handed over to be crucified. But guess what? Life has handed you over to be crucified as well! But before going further allow me to turn back the pages of history because before the actual crucifixion the crucifixion of Jesus began not on Golgotha but in the hearts of those Jesus offered peace and eternal life.
Everyone answered, “We and our own families will take the blame for his death!” Pilate set Barabbas free. Then he ordered his soldiers to beat Jesus with a whip and nail him to a cross. The governor’s soldiers led Jesus into the fortress and brought together the rest of the troops. They stripped off Jesus’ clothes and put a scarlet robe on him. They made a crown out of thorn branches and placed it on his head, and they put a stick in his right hand. The soldiers knelt down and pretended to worship him. They made fun of him and shouted, “Hey, you king of the Jews!” Then they spit on him. They took the stick from him and beat him on the head with it. When the soldiers had finished making fun of Jesus, they took off the robe. They put his own clothes back on him and led him off to be nailed to a cross. (Matthew 27:25-31 CEV)
“We and our own families will take the blame for his death!” I wonder if while receiving the death by crucifixion sentence Jesus was silently praying, “Father, forgive them for they don’t know what they’re doing.” I wonder if God was listening. When I was a young lad many years ago my mom told me when we do things that are bad the wounds in Jesus’ hands, feet, and side hurt all over again. If that is the case over the course of my life I have caused Jesus a great deal of pain. I wonder what he’ll say to me when we finally meet face to face. Care to guess?
If you have seen the movie “The Passion of the Christ” you will have witnessed a VERY REAL depiction of the beating that was inflicted on Jesus. I remember each time the flogging devices would wail into his back I would cringe. Each time I saw the satisfaction on the faces of the Roman Soldiers when a new wound would open up I would get angrier and angrier.
“How can they do that? No man in his right mind would want to inflict that kind of punishment on another human being,” I would say to myself.
“How can Jesus endure such a merciless unprovoked beating?” I added.
I don’t have the answers all I know is they did and he did.
But here’s the kicker you and I both know that life has beaten the hell out of us! Sure it wasn’t with a flogging device made of leather and lead balls the instruments used, our beatings was much worse. There were the times when people (sometimes in our own family) turned against us leaving us alone for no reason. There were the times of doubt when our health went sour leaving us seemingly with no future. There were times when we’ve doubted our own worthiness. There were the times when life shouted at us, “Even God don’t care. There were the times when life us the Holy Spirit was just a figment of our imaginations. And now in the midst of a chaotic world that is experiencing unprecedented conflicts of war, poor economy, poverty, and uncertainty the leather straps and the lead balls continue reopen old wounds and open new ones.
Life has beaten the hell out of us!
And now we are slowly and painfully stumbling toward a cross.
And the cross will inflict its own terrible pain on us!
And we will begin to wonder is that all there is to life, is there no better news?
“YES,” a loud voice echoes from a stone cold EMPTY tomb, “YES there is better news!”
Because Jesus has gone to the cross before us at a time set aside by God all the beatings the hellish pain inflicted on each of us by life will be replaced by a new kingdom, God’s kingdom. At the hands of Jesus the Holy Spirit will transform our pain into a blessing, a blessing of life, not physical life but the Spiritual Life of the Father himself. And the life the Father gives swells up into his kingdom not only while we are here on earth but his eternal kingdom as well when our physical bodies will no longer support life.
Jesus was beaten.
We too are beaten and are being beaten.
Jesus embraced his cross.
With the encouragement, strength, and power of the Holy Spirit we WILL embrace our cross too.
What life attempts to destroy Jesus restores!
Suddenly a strong earthquake struck, and the Lord’s angel came down from heaven. He rolled away the stone and sat on it. The angel looked as bright as lightning, and his clothes were white as snow. The guards shook from fear and fell down, as though they were dead. The angel said to the women, “Don’t be afraid! I know you are looking for Jesus, who was nailed to a cross. He isn’t here! God has raised him to life, just as Jesus said he would. Come, see the place where his body was lying. (Matthew 28:2-6 CEV)
As you finish reading The Coming of Age of Easter 2015 God has sent an Angel (definitely not me) to you with a message. “When the adversities and difficulties seem rage out of control in your life look not at what you are experiencing with your 5 senses instead look deep within your heart where you will feel the life of Jesus pulsing in you. Remember the beatings and the cross upon which the hell was beat out of you IS AND WILL BE replaced by the indescribable peace of a Savior that did it all long before you were ever born. Easter 2015 is a celebration of the year of your coming of age in the Kingdom of God! Live and be blessed. Amen!”
Grace and PEACE,
NOTE… Scriptures marked CEV, “Scripture taken from the Contemporary English Version © 1991, 1992, 1995 by American Bible Society, Used by Permission.”