When someone asks, “What does Easter mean to you?” do you have a standard, off the shelf, 15 second ‘church’ response that you use? I know I do and while the answer is usually technically correct in giving a definition, I’ve realized that kind of response falls short of conveying what Easter means deep down inside me.
You see for me, Easter means God has always had a plan. All the way back in Genesis God started revealing His plan to redeem mankind. He knew human beings were going to be a goofy, messed up species and yet He made us anyway! He made us in His image, knowing that by giving us free choice, we would sin and destroy our relationship with Him.
Easter also means God will go to any lengths to bring his plan about. Mankind’s sin presented God with a dilemma only He could solve. God’s love for us requires that we be saved. His holiness requires our reconciliation; that we be made righteous before Him. His justice requires that we receive the punishment we deserve for our sin which is death and separation from our God. But God’s plan, the incarnation of the Son, Jesus Christ, his death on the cross as the perfect sacrificial atonement for all our sins was and is the greatest expression of love God could give. This was the only way to satisfy His perfect justice and perfect holiness.
Easter means God’s plan worked. The resurrection is God’s assurance that the sacrifice Jesus made paid the debt of sin in full. This is why it is so important for us to celebrate Easter – it is proof positive that we have been reconciled and our relationship with God is restored.
Easter means hope for me. It’s one thing to think about Jesus being the savior of the world; giving his life for our collective sins. That’s big! It’s so enormous that I can see it being worthy of God. It’s another matter altogether to think that He would die for my sins alone. I still get chills when I remember the first time I heard that Jesus’ love for me is so great that he would have died for my sins alone.
You see, God had a plan for mankind from the very beginning; and He has a plan for me and a plan for you. God is willing to go to any length, even death on a cross, to bring about His plan for mankind, and He will go to any length to bring about His plan for me and for you. God’s plan to redeem mankind worked, and so will His plans to redeem and transform me and you. Easter means hope – the kind of hope that I long for, that I’m certain will come about one day – hope of spending eternity with the God I love and who loves me more than I can ever comprehend.
In His omniscience our God knew that our celebration of Easter would look different this year. There may be fear, frustration and a gamut of high emotion all around us, but we can stand firm on the promises of our God in our Lord and Savior. The way we celebrate may be different this year, but the real meaning of Easter has not changed.
“My hope is built on nothing less than Jesus' blood and righteousness. I dare not trust the sweetest frame, but wholly lean on Jesus' name. On Christ the solid rock I stand, all other ground is sinking sand; all other ground is sinking sand.” Edward Mote
What does Easter mean to you? There won’t be a better time to share the message of Easter than right now.