Writing this post about Easter ~ a risen Savior, caused me to really think about what this “holiday” means to me. It is amazing how some of God’s most important messages can get shaded in man’s routine traditions. Even with all of man’s well thought out intentions, the true meaning and symbolisms can get lost. So as I’m writing this post, I am faced with the challenge of how can I encourage others and myself to not lose sight of Easter’s true meaning; Jesus is not dead, He’s truly alive. I know this now more then I did as a child growing up in the inner city.
As a young boy growing up I loved Easter Sunday, but for all the wrong reasons. For me, Easter meant putting on your Sunday best and going to church where you would be noticed by everyone. I can still remember my grandmother taking me downtown to Bond’s Clothing Store to purchase my first Easter suit. That was one of the happiest moments of my life. I don’t remember how old I was at the time. I just remember longing for the day that I could have my very own suit. Now I’ll tell you this much, getting that suit had more to do with bringing glory me then it did in bringing glory to Jesus. And as I look back in time, I was not alone. There were also adults attending Easter Service that day who were more concerned about how they appeared to others. I grew up believing that Easter was a time for showing off ourselves and that message seemed to over-shadow the true message. I went with the crowd and missed what was right in front of me. This reminds me of a portion of scripture that so beautifully illustrates going with the crowd and missing what’s right in front of you.
Luke 9:18-22 Once when Jesus was praying in private and his disciples were with him, he asked them, “Who do the crowds say I am?” They replied, “Some say John the Baptist; others say Elijah; and still others, that one of the prophets of long ago has come back to life.” “But what about you?” he asked. “Who do you say I am?” Peter answered, “God’s Messiah.” Jesus Predicts His Death. Jesus strictly warned them not to tell this to anyone. And he said, “The Son of Man must suffer many things and be rejected by the elders, the chief priests and the teachers of the law, and he must be killed and on the third day be raised to life.”
Jesus died so that we might have life. Just take a moment to think about the word life … four letters in the English language, but what does it really mean? To a slave it means freedom; to the starving it means food; to those with diseases it means healing; to the blind – sight; and to the homeless – shelter; the list goes on and on. But the question still remains, what does life mean to you? At one time or another, we have all been at a crossroads and asked ourselves this very question … What is life? And if you haven’t, trust me someday you will ask.
Know that whenever Jesus asked a question, it was to point you in the right direction. In
Luke 9:18-20 Jesus asked his disciples, “Who do the crowds say I am?” They replied, “Some say John the Baptist; others say Elijah; and still others, that one of the prophets of long ago has come back to life.” But what about you?” he asked. “Who do you say I am?” Jesus was asking a life and death question, pointing to eternal life, but they didn’t realize it at the time. You see, there is always what the crowd believes and then there is what you believe. More importantly, whose influence are you under – the crowd or Jesus’? You see the crowd’s answer was John the Baptist, Elijah or one of the prophet’s that came back to life. Isn’t it amazing that even the crowd believed in God’s resurrection power but they had no clue that Jesus was the resurrection and the life. They missed what was right in front of them.
This Easter season, don’t miss what is right in front of you … Life. Who are you going to be like? The crowd? Me as a child, proud as a peacock in my new suit? That’s right, as a child I thought as a child. Now for any of you that know me personally, you know that to this day I still like to dress nicely and I love a new suit. But thanks be to God, I am more concerned about how I look to God on the inside than the outside. When it comes to The Lord, I’ve learned I better “check my suit at the door.” Now for you it might not be a suit that causes you to miss what’s right in front of you. So let me just say, we all need to “check ourselves” at the door. Peter got it right – divinely -when he answered Jesus’ question about who do you say that I am. He answered simply, “God’s Messiah.” Peter was looking with spiritual, not physical, eyes. Easter should be about life … the spiritual life … Now to truly understand the life we have in Christ, we have to understand His death. Next week we’ll look at the crucifixion.