What is Easter all about?
Some would contend that Easter is all about dying and going to heaven as is symbolized in the story of the resurrection of Jesus. This is partially right in that Easter is indeed all about the resurrection of Jesus, but not centrally about the dying and going to heaven part.
Granted that Easter is all about Jesus’ resurrection, then what is the resurrection all about? In a phrase, the resurrection of Jesus is all about the faithfulness of God.
Jesus’ resurrection is not centrally about us, as we tend to make it be. To the contrary, the resurrection is all about God and his longstanding promises being fulfilled. In other words, Jesus coming back to life is the ultimate proof that God has been faithful both to Israel as his covenant people as well as his promise to the world to undo the tragedy of death.
How does this work?
Human existence is a tragedy. No one in their right mind denies this. Even the joyful moment of birth unfolds under the dark shadow of the reality of death. One day this life will come to an end.
No matter how many times we lose loved ones, we fail to adapt to the reality of death. This is something that evolution cannot account for; why have we not adapted, or “evolved” to the reality of death? For everyone, the loss of a loved one is deeply painful, impossible to grasp, and full of sorrow and sadness.
As the world sputters on just shy of destroying itself, we know in the deepest part of us that human life is a tragedy.
Thankfully, God has a solution.
It never was God’s plan for death, decay, sin and corruption to reign over human existence. It was always God’s plan, however, for the human existence to mirror his own existence; it was always God’s plan for this created order to be filled with joy, wonder, happiness, peace, and growth. Death, by way of human pride, stole this away.
In response to the tragedy of human existence, God promises the world (through Abraham in the Old Testament) that he will redeem it all. He will drive the shadow of death away from lingering over the lives of his cherished creation. This creation that has been infected with death and decay will be made new. He has a plan for a new creation. He will redo what he once did in Genesis 1. There will be a new creation that will, in fact, mirror his own.
This is what the resurrection is all about: New Creation and the redemption of all things.
Jesus, the very Son of God, walks willingly into death; he gave himself over knowing that the light and power of love, righteousness, goodness and justice would overcome the pitch black of death.
When Jesus walks out of the tomb after three days dead, he stands as the first born of the new creation. He is the fulfillment of the promise of God to redeem the fallen order of death. Jesus, through the resurrection, ushers in a new era of human history. Jesus is the starting point of the new creation. This, Easter, is Genesis 1 all over again, but starting with Jesus rather than Adam and Eve. This is why through faith in Jesus, Christians can live as members of a new reality in which love, righteousness, justice, and goodness reigns. Where Christ, not death, is King.
Death, where is your sting?
He has risen…he has risen indeed.
(Matt and Stacey Ayars live and work at Emmaus Biblical Seminary of Haiti (ebshaiti.org). They can be reached through this newspaper or at firstname.lastname@example.org and they blog about daily life at mshaiti.blogspot.com.)