I stopped in the store yesterday afternoon to pick up a few groceries and walked by what remains of the Easter candy. All the candy was marked down. Easter wasn’t even over and the grocery store was already moving on, hoping to clear out all the remaining chocolate bunnies and jellybeans in order to focus on the next season. That’s the society we live in. Easter is just another holiday observed and a cash-cow for retail stores. When it’s over, it’s over. But for Christians, it’s another matter.
The Crucifixion and Resurrection
On that road to Emmaus a couple of Jesus’ disciples were talking about the “nonsense” spoken by the women who claimed Jesus was alive. There Jesus appeared to these disciples saying, “How foolish you are, and how slow to believe all that the prophets have spoken! Did not the Messiah have to suffer these things and then enter his glory?” (Lk 24:25-26). And with those words, Jesus was not just chastising his disciples but telling them that the message the prophets have spoke is true! The implications of this truth are profound.
The Christian faith rests upon the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus. Without Jesus having suffered death and without God having raised Jesus from death, there is not any victory over sin and death. In other words, without the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus, evil wins. Those with the biggest swords… the biggest guns, they win because that’s the world we live in. It’s a broken world filled with evil where people have been deceived to believe might makes right. Yet it never does, it’s just become a never-ending fight that ends in death.
But the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus is the victory of God over sin and death! It is God’s declaration of a new creation dawning upon history, a world made new in which the days of the old world and its evil are numbered. For those who believe in Jesus, it is the promise of hope that he is coming again, bringing this new creation into its fullness where faith becomes sight and the suffering endured among the old world will be no more. That is our hope, our faith, in Christ!
Easter… Here To Stay
It’s easy to take our hope for granted when the present circumstances of our life seems relatively easy. But yesterday’s explosion in Pakistan, which intentionally targeted Christians, killing at least 72 people and injuring another 300 plus, reminds us once again that our faith is lived among evil.
Regardless of how governments respond to terrorism, our response as Christians must be anchored in the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus. Unfortunately, some Christians will nonetheless sound just like the rest of the world, expressing a desire for repaying evil with evil. Whether motivated by anger, fear, or else, repaying evil with evil only shows our own foolishness and slowness to be believe. Those who engage evil, such as terrorists, do so because they don’t know the truth. They don’t know that God has already won the victory in and through the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus. But we know better, or we should, if we believe that God has raised Jesus from the grave.
At his crucifixion, the disciples of Jesus had all disappeared. The disciples had become deserters. For them, it seemed as though evil had won once again. But when Jesus appeared to them resurrected from death, they eventually believed and a new world was opened for these disciples. They had a new story which we call the Gospel of Jesus Christ… faith, hope, and love, with the greatest being love (1 Cor 13:13). If we truly believe, then our story too becomes one of faith, hope, and love anchored in Christ.
For the world, Easter has come and gone once again. But for us, Easter has come and it is here to stay. Now we must live as witnesses that God has overcome evil in and through the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus. We lament in the wake of suffering and pray for our fellow Christians among other parts of the world are suffering for being believers, asking God to strengthen their faith in Jesus by the power of his Spirit dwelling among them. But here in America, where the dominant response to the evil of violence is more of the same, we must live as a witness among our neighbors that Easter has come and is here to stay because God has won the victory through our Lord, Jesus Christ!
“Therefore, my dear brothers and sisters, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain.” – The Apostle Paul, 1 Corinthians 15:58