By Brenda Black
Easter: Bountiful baskets filled with pastel painted eggs, soft bunnies and girly bonnets. Easter: A solitary tomb filled with a broken body, grave clothes and surrounded by weeping friends. Easter: Death by chocolate. Easter: Life through the Lord's sacrifice. Easter: Spring blossoms that bud and grow and fade. Easter: Life springing from death, without end.
In the midst of all the frivolity, Easter is empty without Him. Christ's Resurrection makes life possible and pretty eggs purposeful. The death, the burial, the Resurrection are the truly beautiful pieces of the Easter picture. For, without His triumph over death, spring would never come and joy would not exist.
“Jesus said to her, 'I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies; and whoever lives and believes in me will never die. Do you believe this?'” (John 11:25-26)
Christ IS, not was, the resurrection and the life. He is not bound by time nor isolated in history as some long ago event that now dims in importance in the grand scheme of things. He IS LIFE! That was then. It is now. It is forever truth. No man-made traditions will alter this fundamental axiom. Time cannot diminish its significance. He IS LIFE and belief in HIM is life instantaneous and eternal all in one sweeping, miraculous moment.
If He is life, then those who place their trust in Christ, get life right here and now and they receive life later. This blessed gift is ongoing and forever. So if the body lives, there is life; and if the body dies, there is life!
Once this reality is internalized, life as we know it takes on an entirely different focus. Sure, there's the hope of heaven – a place so magnificent, the only way we can begin to grasp its grandeur is to compare it to something tangible on earth. So we hear of mansions and streets of gold, flowing rivers and gates made of pearls. But even those superfluous claims pale to the reality of a place beyond our wildest dreams. It's a paradise only visible when we are perfected and able to see the entire spectrum of color and hear and taste it as well.
We think about such a place after life with longing, but settle for whatever comes our way down here. Life in Christ is not a consolation prize to claim in the far distant future. It's life abundant and full of surprise right here, right now! Jesus didn't go to the cross to make life tolerable. He came to seek and to save what was lost and He came to give life abundantly. It won't always be daffodil dandy nor bunny fluffy, nor peeps sweet. But it will be good and filled with purpose and joy and peace.
When John the Baptist heralded His coming, this is what he said, “'A man can receive only what is given him from heaven. You yourselves can testify that I said, “I am not the Christ but was sent ahead of him.” The bride belongs to the bridegroom. The friend who attends the bridegroom waits and listens for him, and is full of joy when he hears the bridegroom's voice. That joy is mine, and it is now complete. He must become greater; I must become less...
“'The one who comes from heaven is above all;...For the one whom God has sent speaks the words of God; to him God gives the Spirit without limit. The Father loves the Son and has placed everything in his hands. Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life...'” (John 3:27-36 selected)
A basket-FULL of life!