Thoughts on Easter

For me Easter is a time to reflect on the sacrifice of Jesus. The profoundness of this event is inescapable and overwhelming. At Christmas we acknowledge that Jesus was God with us. Emmanuel. God becomes a man. A baby born in Bethlehem. At Easter we see Jesus, this “God-man” entering into the godforsaken situation of all of humanity.

Jesus did not die a natural death of a finite person. He died a violent death. He died the death of a common criminal on the cross. Its cruelty. Its Gruesomeness. Is beyond words. In my opinion to have that much pain and torture placed on one human being is incomprehensible. It would have been unbearable to watch. Jesus as the “God-man” died a death of abandonment by God – his Father .

Listen to his words in Matthew 27:45-46

Now from the sixth hour until the ninth hour there was darkness over all the land. And about the ninth hour Jesus cried out with a loud voice, saying, “Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani?” that is,“My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?

The words spoken by Jesus send a chill through my heart and my soul. The suffering of Jesus is intensified by the abandonment. The rejection by God – his Father. This is how Jurgen Moltmann describes the why of this moment:

God does not become a religion, so that man participates in him by corresponding religious thoughts and feelings.

God does not become a law, so that man participates in him through obedience to a law.

God does not become an ideal, so that man achieves community with him through constant striving.

He humbles himself and takes upon himself the eternal death of the godless and the godforsaken, so that all the godless and the godforsaken can experience communion with him.” Jurgen Moltman, Crucified God.

Paul explains it this way to the Corinthians. “God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.”

That is the mystery of it all. God made it possible for anyone, any human being to move back into relationship with him because of Jesus because of the sacrifice of the God-man. It must be noted that God did this not because he needed to. Or that there was something lacking in the essence of his persona. Absolutely not! God did not have to create humanity. God is and was and will always will be self-sufficient.

God created humanity with the incredible mysterious gift of free-will. God chose to give us, all of us, the freedom to choose our destiny. Our eternities. His heartbeat is that we would choose him. That we would all come to a saving knowledge of Jesus as our Savior. See 2 Peter 3:9, John 3:16ff, & 1 Timothy 2:4. But tragically God knows that not all humanity will respond to the overtures of his love and grace. But some will. John 3 explains it this way…

For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because they have not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son.

God longs for the day when around his throne is a community of humanity that worship. Acknowledge. Praise and worship Him and Him alone. Not because God needs the praise of humanity but because we exercised our wills, our choice, to recognize the profound gift of salvation through Jesus. A gift so profound and mysterious that it will take the rest of eternity to understand it and wrap our minds around it – if we can. And this is why we pray. Why we worship. Why we tell others about Jesus. For that final day, that day when we stand before him forever and ever. Amen.