Wednesday, April 4, 2012

More than just Peeps and plastic grass.....

Usually, I tend to skip the big events, simply because everybody and their dog is talking about X at that time.  This can lead to unimportant stuff being on everybody's lips or important stuff just become part of the white noise that surrounds us.  The big event coming up is Easter, and it has sadly become part of the background.  Easter is the whole point of Christianity, without the empty tomb, the crucifixion, Jesus' ministry, the nativity,they all become meaningless.  Easter is what sets Christianity apart from every other religion.  First and foremost, few other belief systems have a savior, someone who lifts man up from the grave.  Typically, other beliefs hold that it is up to man itself to do the right deeds and be good enough or go through enough pain to be purified and move to whatever the next level is supposed to be.  There are deities, there are leaders, there are prophets, but no saviors.  Jesus was miraculously all four, God incarnate, the head of the Church, he knew and told the future, and He provided a way out of death. 
Next, while every other major religion's leaders/founders/prophets/ect have died, none of them have come back.  There are some who are supposed to come back at some point in the future, but their bones still sit in the grave. You can visit the graves of Muhammad and Confucius,  but while a couple of sites are believed to be the tomb Joseph of Arimethea, there is no body in either one.   This is huge. The world is covered with the gilded graves of not only religious leaders, but of kings, philosophers, musicians and others over the centuries that draw crowds of admirers, followers, zealots, ect.  Even David and Solomon's tombs were part of the landscape Jesus walked.  It is an ancient custom to build memorials to those they believe to be great, as evidenced by the Egyptian pyramids and the emperor's tombs in China.  Yet there is no memorial for Christ, because there is no where to put it.
Christmas gets most of the attention in modern times, yet in the Bible, it is not even afforded an accurate date.  Easter on the other hand, is attached to the Jewish Passover festival, along with the details about how Jesus was crucified on Friday, and hurriedly buried before the Sabbath began.  Easter gets lost in chocolates and eggs, the same way Christmas gets lost in gifts and trees, but Easter is the defining moment of Christianity.  I think we don't like to think about all the death and blood attached to Easter through the necessity of Jesus dying on the cross before He could come out of the tomb, and it's easy to get too wrapped up in the pain and suffering of the Passion, but it is all part of the whole.
This Easter, like every Easter, is a chance to remember what an awesome God we serve.  He sent His own Son to endure human life, to fulfill the promises that fill the Old Testament, to open the gates of Heaven to all.  That Son willingly went to the cross, took the sins of the world, past, present and future on Himself, and died.  Then, as if all that was not enough, God raised Jesus from the dead, glorified and perfected His body, and sent Him back to provide the proof of who He was.  (Stubborn as we are, the miracles, the prophecies, the healings, the resurrections weren't enough.)  Nevermind speaking creation into existence, molding man from the dirt, building the nation of Israel from one old couple, taking that nation out of slavery in Egypt to the land promised to that old couple, even all that pales in comparison to what Easter did for us.  Nothing wrong with enjoying biting the head off a few bunnies too, but keep these things in your minds and hearts this weekend, and the rest of the time too.

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