“As Jesus was going up to Jerusalem, he took the twelve disciples aside privately and told them what was going to happen to him. “Listen,” he said, “we’re going up to Jerusalem, where the Son of Man will be betrayed to the leading priests and the teachers of religious law. They will sentence him to die. Then they will hand him over to the Romans to be mocked, flogged with a whip, and crucified. But on the third day he will be raised from the dead.” – Matthew 20:17-19 (NLT).
What does Easter mean? Have you ever taken a few moments and reflect on what Easter means to you? For many, Easter is a time when we remember Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior. It is a time when we tap a little deeper in our spirituality and we take the time to make church an important part of the day. Easter is a time we spend with family.
But go back two thousand years ago to the very first Easter and reflect on what Easter meant to one biblical figure, Mary Magdalene. (story found in John 20:1-18) Mary wasn’t celebrating. There was only sorrow and grief. She was still in shock because Jesus had been crucified and killed. Mary goes to the tomb while it is still dark. When she arrives at His tomb, the huge stone covering the tomb was rolled away and the tomb is empty. His body is gone.
But then a man appears – presumably the gardener. He asks her, why are you weeping? Who are you looking for? We can relate can’t we? When people ask us who/what are we looking for, our answers would include: I need someone to love me or to share my life with or to make my life complete. I’m looking for someone to tell me I am cancer-free. I need someone to talk some sense into my kids. I need someone to sort out my finances. I’m looking for someone to give my life meaning and purpose beyond just existing.
And then, as Mary stands there in shock and sadness, Jesus specifically calls her by name: Mary. And she recognizes Jesus, who was dead, and rose from the dead. And suddenly, for Mary, Easter changes everything. Everything. Her sorrow has turned to joy, her despair into hope, and death has turned to life.
Easter changes everything for Christians today, too. We know that life is stronger than death. Love is stronger than hatred. Hope is stronger than despair. We know that Christ is risen, and is with us. We know how much God loves us. We know what it means to experience new life-even in small ways in our daily lives. And we know that nothing is ever beyond the power of God’s grace.
Yes, Easter changed everything for the followers of Jesus. The resurrection revealed for anyone who may have doubted, even after seeing Him perform all sorts of miracles, who Jesus really was. “Nothing is impossible for God.” And it offered a preview of the kind of life that awaits all who believe in Him.
- How does Easter change everything for you? How does Easter give meaning to all of our days?
- The proper response to Easter is not warm and fuzzies, but awe. Agree or disagree?
- How would Christianity be different if there was no resurrection?
- Take a few moments and reflect on Easter and the impact of Jesus dying and rising again on your life.