So many people have different reasons for liking Easter. But to a secular world, why Christians celebrate Easter every year may be a foreign idea.
Easter first is NOT about the egg hunts. Easter is not about the bunny rabbit. Easter is not even bout the good old hymns that churches get to sing. Easter is not even the traditions Chreasters (Christmas & Easter) family celebrate maybe once a year.
I love Easter because of the victory over death, the comfort beyond the cross, the hope of the Tomb, through the resurrection of Jesus! Even during a time of war that leads to feelings of hopelessness, real people don’t feel God’s love amid their troublesome worlds.
Easter is the god news, where Jesus came because there was no other way to save helpless sinners in a hopeless world. I don’t know about you, but sometimes I need to be reminded of good news that helps me to face tomorrow.
Easter from the Old Testament Perspective
I love the Old Testament and here specifically, the book of Isaiah. Nowhere in all the Old Testament does the gospel of Jesus Christ shine more clearly than in Isaiah 53. Even the word Isaiah means, “The Lord (YHWH) is salvation”
Isaiah 53 has been called John 3:16 of the Old Testament. As Isaiah over and over said, I echo his words, “God is the Holy one Israel!” He will deliver us, and he will be accomplished through God’s Servant who is Jesus!
The New Testament refers to Isaiah in John 12:38-41 which says, “So that the word spoken by the prophet Isaiah might be fulfilled: ‘Lord, who has believed what he heard from us, and to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed?’
Jesus stepped in place for us as Paul says, “He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.” (2 Cor 5:21). This is the heart of that saving work is substitution.
Jesus was willing to suffer, and we despised him, struck him down, and rejected him harshly by our offense. Jesus was a rejected Servant.
Philippians 2 is true, “Nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant… not only to his interests but also to the interests of others. The mind of Christ, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men.” (Phil 2:2-7).
John even states early in the chapter, “He came to His own, and those who were His own did not receive Him.” (John 1:11).
Seven hundred years before Jesus came into the world, God opened the eyes of his prophet to see into the very heart of Christ’s saving work. This gives us great hope today!
“Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures” (1 Cor 15:3-4). What glorious, good news!
Easter from the New Testament Perspective
When we read the section from Matthew 21:1-11 this is known as the “Triumphal entry” Palm Sunday is no ordinary parade. As people cried out when Jesus rode on the donkey in Hebrew they were crying out loud “Save us” which is a powerful thing to shout.
Jesus’ rode into Jerusalem as the Prince of Peace. In verse 10 of Matthew 21, “When Jesus entered Jerusalem, the whole city was stirred and asked, Who is this?” (v. 10).
The fulfilled prophecy, in this case, is Zechariah 9:9 which says, “Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion! Shout aloud, O daughter of Jerusalem! Behold, your king is coming to you; righteous and having salvation is he, humble and mounted on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey.” (Zech 9:9).
Then many of us are familiar with the rest of the Passion week. Matthew 26:14-10 speaks of the ultimate betrayal from Judas Iscariot. In verse 14, Matthew even mentions, “One of the Twelve” How dare one of this inner band of Jesus’ followers become his betrayer!
Judas then gave him to the chief high priest; into the hands of his enemies. For how much? For the price of thirty silver coins, which would represent 120 days’ earnings in today’s currency.
And here contextually, begins the first day of the Passover (the Feast of Unleavened Bread).
After that even, the Last Supper has ended. Jesus and the disciples likely left the city through the eastern gate and descended into the Kidron valley. Jesus then prays the “High Priestly Prayer” found in John 17.
Scripture indicates before this particular text we read the following, “distressed and agitated” (Mark 14:33) or even, “deeply grieved, even to the point of death” We know in Luke it says, “sweat like drops of blood” (Luke 22:44). His anguish and horror of what was before him should cause us to never minimize the wickedness and awfulness of sin.
As we’ve been tracking through all of Old Testament and New Testament up till this point, we see the sovereignty of God is demonstrated in all the events as they transpired in the garden.
The “king” will be the Messiah. Therefore, Jesus is indeed the Messiah-King. For Jesus came to defeat sin, Satan, and the stain of death.
This all took place in the city of Jerusalem about 2,000 years ago. Yet, this truth is for all of us as well.
Easter from the Present-Day Perspective
Before we go any further, we must clarify this crystal-clear important reality. All the things that happened in the Old Testament and New Testament, these events took place in history. It is not mythology; truth has been decorated with historical facts. All these happened!
As I was studying the text, I am always reminded the Bible was not given simply only to impress upon our minds but transform our hearts.
Let us not miss this gift that God has given unto us! The gift of Jesus who is the Christ, the Messiah, and the King.
Where does your allegiance lie? Money? Is money your master or Lord over your life? The truth is money will come and go. Naked you came into this world, naked you will leave this world. You cannot take anything.
As even witness the disciples themselves, when Jesus rose from the grave, these disciples went from cowards to courageous preachers. That is the reason Christians celebrate Easter every year. This changes absolutely everything!
When we see what Jesus did and why Jesus did it, how can we not worship him? The sincerity of devotion to Him! Willingly knowingly went to the cross to die for us. How can we sing songs that serve just nonchalance! Not following with reckless abandonment to King Jesus is absurd!
However, the example of Judas is a grave warning for Christians today as it shows that the devil will always be at work among God’s people. No matter how strong our intentions are, we are susceptible to becoming disloyal to our king.
Are you a faithful follower of Christ? Or are you an imposter? Are you like a Pirate who is here for personal agenda to cause division like Judas?
The truth is this; steadfast, loyal obedience is more important than our lives. Jesus deserves all our life, and we ought to give our lives to that cause.
Pray this prayer as David himself cried out to the Lord, “Teach me your way, LORD, that I may rely on your faithfulness; give me an undivided heart, that I may fear your name.” (Ps 86:11).