I walked up and down the rows of goodies, staring blankly at shiny plastic eggs, marshmallow chicks and chocolate crosses with awkward cartoon bunnies and yellow sunsets behind them.
I pictured myself eating a chocolate cross and perceived how little our society thinks of it.
An instrument of death.
The symbol of Christianity in edible form on Resurrection Sunday.
Burdened by my discovery that the cross has become so common; treated with nonchalance and looked upon as a mere afterthought overshadowed by the more “alluring” aspects of the holiday, I became sorrowful.
The sweet treats, stuffed animal bunnies and pretty pastel colors surrounding me began unmasking themselves and re-emerging as ugly distractions stealing the true beauty of the day. My spirit went flat. I looked down into my basket and tears filled my eyes.
What message am I sending to my kids who desperately need to know the profound story of the risen Christ?
Makaio and Mikayla were at home anticipating an egg hunt rather than an empty tomb.
God, I’m so sorry… I’ve drifted far away. Lord, it’s hard to live in this world and I so long for the day when all distractions are removed and I can see you clearly; when I can rest in your arms and remain there forever.
As I drove home, I got excited for church on Sunday. I just wanted to be in a place where Christ was the center; where His death and resurrection was elevated to the pinnacle of our Easter celebration. In my heart I longed to be where He is; to remember afresh what He endured on the cross that dreadful day when He was beaten and marred beyond recognition…because of me…for me.
I wanted to drift away and reach for Him; to pour out my compassion and sadness; to show Him the disgust I have for my own sin. I wanted to lay it all at His feet and become unraveled. Although I know I can’t look him in the eye for fear that He will see through me, right down to the blackness of my sin-sick soul, I know He would want me to. For, He wants all of me.
He is making me whole.
On Good Friday morning I just wanted to tell Him…
Thank you, God.
On Easter, my pastor gave a beautiful illustrated message of the cross and the resurrection. At times, I had to put my head down and forcibly hold back my emotions as he spoke of Jesus’ broken body and ultimately, His broken heart.
The cross and the resurrection are the capstones of the Christian faith and for me, Easter is the most important day of the year. But somehow, this time I around, I got lost in all the fillers.
My wonder was stirred afresh when I began recalling the deep history of my favorite holiday.
Did you know that the story of Easter goes back way before Jesus even entered the world in the flesh? Did you know that it is one of the most beautiful and powerful stories you will ever hear?
It’s called the Passover story.
Back in the Old Testament, when the Israelites were enslaved in Egypt, God sent Moses to implore Pharaoh to free His people. But Pharaoh’s heart was hardened to God’s voice and he refused to let them go.
God was so passionate about liberating His chosen ones that He sent ten plagues over the land. The first nine were deplorable but Pharaoh was a stubborn ruler and he would not free the Israelites.
The tenth plague was everyone’s worst nightmare. God sent an angel of death to strike down every first born of both people and animals. For this was His judgement.
However, He told the Israelites, His chosen, beloved children, to slaughter a lamb without blemish and smear its blood on the door-frames of their homes. That way, when the angel of death swept through in the night, he would see the lamb’s blood, know it was the dwelling place of God’s children, and pass over it. Every person in that house would avert His wrath and abide in the shelter of the most high.
As you can imagine, the next day there was much distress and desperation in the land of Egypt.
Pharaoh relented and let God’s people go.
Surely the Israelites were God’s beloved and He saved them from His judgement.
To commemorate the mercy of God on that fateful night, God commanded the Israelites to celebrate the festival of Passover for generations to come…or at least until the real Passover Lamb appeared.
Fast forward to the birth of Jesus. The man who was fully God and fully human. Sinless. Loving. Righteous. Humble. Sacrificial. Wise. Powerful. The one the Bible calls the very Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world.
Jesus became that lamb without blemish. The blood he shed on the cross that dreadful Friday now covers the doorposts of His people’s hearts and those who trust in His sacrifice are passed over and free from God’s wrath. You no longer have to be an Israelite to enjoy the mercy and salvation of God. Jesus’ blood covers the sins of all people; Jew and Gentile.
All who call on the name of the Lord will be saved!
No longer do we need to slaughter animals and perform rituals, trusting in their blood to cover us and keep us safe. For we have received the blood of the true Lamb of God once and for all.
That is what the cross accomplished.
That is what makes Resurrection Sunday so spectacular!
Is the blood of the Lamb covering the doorpost of your heart today?
Embrace the Lamb who was slain before the foundations of the world.
Easter is more than Bunnies and Chocolate. His death and resurrection run so much deeper than we can even imagine.
Read more here: Exodus 12