Today is Easter Sunday! My thoughts are focused completely away from my Lupus, and onto the silent conversation going on today in my heart. Easter is not originally about bunny rabbits and Easter eggs, although they are certainly a colorful and fun part of many modern-day Easter observances. Today, I am looking forward to an Easter that is all about Jesus Christ, and the amazing thing that happened early on a Sunday morning 2,000 years ago. My internal conversation dwells on my gratitude for the One whose focal birth divides the Gregorian calendar into two halves, B.C. and A.D. ["Before Christ" and Latin "Anno Domini," or "year of our Lord."]
The Bible teaches clearly and simply that God Himself loved man so much that He Himself condescended to enter into His own creation, and came to earth, born miraculously as an infant in the person of Jesus Christ. It reports that he He lived a sinless life, and then for three years had a ministry preaching and performing many miraculous acts in front of thousands of people all over the land of Israel. He then died in undeserved punishment on a Roman cross outside the city of Jerusalem in Israel.
After His death, Jesus’ body was wrapped in ointments, herbs and fine linen and placed into a new tomb owned by a man named Joseph. A boulder was rolled over the opening in the rock, and Roman soldiers sealed it. The Roman’s remembered that Jesus had predicted in his preaching that he would return to life from death after spending three days in a grave, so soldiers were posted outside the tomb to keep watch for three days, guarding it against tampering, fearing the theft of His body by Jesus’ followers.
Early in the dawn of the first Easter morning, Jesus arose from death miraculously, as He predicted. The soldiers guarding his tomb were astonished, overwhelmed and stunned by His resurrection and the opening of His tomb. Historical passages in the Bible report that after Jesus died and was buried, He arose from death after three days. He then appeared after his resurrection to his disciple Peter, then to the other disciples, and after that to over 500 people at one time.
My heart today ponders and marvels at the love of a Creator that would motivate such selfless, merciful, forgiving behavior, and the importance of that event in connection with my life today.
The term “gospel” or “good news” comes from the Christian belief that Jesus’ death is offered as a substitute punishment for each man’s sin, available to any man who would believe in Him as their own Savior. The “rest of the story” of the “gospel” includes the report of Christ returning to life after three days, and as a result conquering both sin and death. This has the effect of forging a way for man to follow Christ’s experience of resurrection after their own death. As a Christian, I believe that He gave his life in place of mine, and took the punishment I deserved for my own sins upon himself, and then arose from death. This sets me free by faith in Him from the punishment for sin, makes me eternally grateful, and opens a miraculous door for me to have a restored personal relationship with God himself.
Easter for a Christian is the annual celebration of the powerful victory of Christ over death and sin that reaches down through the ages to us, to me, to you, to any person who will believe in Him and trust Him to forgive their own sin and save their soul.
Later this morning there will be some beautiful, glorious music at church, where the worship service will focus on the Bible’s message of the gospel of Christ, the “good news” of Easter. It will be a privilege to sing with the church choir some amazing songs of celebration and gratitude. It will be a blessing to listen to my husband’s magnificent tenor voice as he shares a special solo about Christ’s resurrection with the congregation. Finally, our family and friends will gather at my in-law’s home for a special afternoon Easter dinner, together recognizing and remembering the single historical event most pinnacle to our Christian faith.
Today, my conversation is all about celebrating new life, and faith in the One who makes life possible. I can live, because He lives! Happy Easter!