Some years I just wanted to skip over Easter. Some days I’m just worn down and brought to a point in which I want to throw in the towel. I think, It’d be easier not to celebrate; I could view it simply as a day to give the kids chocolate eggs in plastic baskets. The wear and tear of life sometimes feels like too much, and remembering hope feels too far away.
The culture I live in is overwhelmingly secular, and my family is in constant danger of drowning in misunderstanding the true meaning of Easter. Eggs hang from trees outside, bunnies and chocolate overflow the store aisles, and the kids get two weeks off from school. But the resurrection, cross, and Jesus have no place in this culture’s holiday. Living cross-culturally forces me to step back and be extra intentional in how I teach my four young children. In how I will remember Easter.
One of my favorite pictures of the Resurrection is from The Jesus Storybook Bible after Mary finds out Jesus is not in the tomb:
Mary ran and ran, all the way to the city. She had never run so fast or so far in all her life. She felt she could have run forever. She didn’t even feel like her feet touched the ground. The sun seemed to be dancing and gleaming and bounding across the sky, racing with her and shining brighter than she could ever remember in the clear, fresh air.
And it seemed to her that morning, as she ran, almost as if the whole world had been made anew, almost as if the whole world was singing for joy—the trees, tiny sounds in the grass, the birds…her heart.
Was God really making everything sad come untrue? Was he making even death come untrue?
Mary’s joy and hope are palpable. Jesus was making death come untrue! Even more so than Christmas, Easter is the central theme of Christianity. It is the answer to why we are wearing and tearing, why we have left our homes to go to new countries to share the Gospel, why we struggle daily being women and wives and mothers in cultures that clash with our faith. Without Easter, we have no hope. Remember, if Jesus didn’t rise again, He would have just been another prophet instead of the Son of God.
In John 21, Jesus prophesied that Peter would die. Peter subsequently asked Jesus about John:
‘Lord, what about this man?’
Jesus said to him, ‘If it is my will that he remain until I come, what is that to you? You follow me!’
We do not know what our future will bring or what kind of cup God will ask us to drink. Maybe we will live until old age and die peacefully in our sleep. We will likely endure many hardships and struggles. But, the key to the Resurrection is that Jesus knew His cup—He looked at the cup that was in front of him and voluntarily drank of it. He knew in the Garden what was coming and He willfully went. He knew He would suffer the consequences for our sins and suffer an excruciating death; yet, He drank and went ahead for you and me. Remember His love.
I think this year I will not skip it. This year, I will remember that Jesus not only perfectly and obediently went to the cross, but He rose again so that we can have life. Not throwing-in-the-towel life, but life abundantly. Remember that the God who has victory over death loves you and knows where you are and has given us hope. He drank His cup so that we can have a hope that will not ever die. Remember.