Today is Good Friday, the darkest day on the Christian calendar and the beginning of the most triumphant holiday as the weekend culminates to Easter (or, in some circles, more favorably referred to as Resurrection Day).
Even more than Christmas, the celebration of the first incarnation of Christ, Easter is the holiday the Christian faith hinges on. Have you ever thought about it that way?
Growing up, Easter to me was more about goodie baskets full of jelly beans and a new movie we would watch as a family (Harry Potter, for a few years). I was more excited about going to my grandparents house to hunt for little plastic eggs full of candy and enjoy Grandma’s irresistible cooking than getting up super early for a freezing outdoor church service. (Those are now precious memories, too, but at the time . . . I cared more about the blankets and cocoa than the message).
But in recent years, that ‘same old story’ has come to life as I go on this walk. It often takes repetition before something really sinks in, and the more often I hear that old, old story, the more I love it, the deeper it sinks in.
Easter is the fulfilment of the Gospel—the Good News. It commemorates and celebrates the death, burial, and glorious resurrection of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ—which is what our faith hinges on. If Christ did not rise from the dead, then, as Paul said to the Corinthians, our faith is futile and we are of all the most pitiable. (1 Corinthians 15: 12-19)
But Christ DID rise! He is alive and mighty to save. Christ bought our freedom with his blood, paid the debt our sin incurred, rescued us from the gates of hell’s depthless punishment, and made a place for us in his house. Not as slaves, but a friends! As fellow inheritors of his kingdom. Through him we are adopted as children into the family of God, and there’s no power in or of this world that can pluck us from his arms.
How often do you mull that over? When you gather at church or in community groups or with any fellow believers, do you consider them family? When you pray for the persecuted church, do you think of those people as your very own brothers and sisters, fathers and mothers?
We should, because that’s how God designed it. Family isn’t always easy to deal with (anything involving humans is bound to experience trouble now and again), but family is also the most precious thing we have. If we have Christ, we have family—and in this life it’s never too late to become a part of it! There’s no wrong too severe to be forgiven. Christ’s blood can cover it all, now and forever. Praise God!
So today, let’s remember Christ’s sacrifice, the depth of his love for us that he would come to this lost and broken world and pay the debt we could not afford. Let us also rejoice, for on the third day he triumphed over sin and death and rose from the grave that we might be born again into his family.
Jesus loves you, more than you can wrap your mind around, and has set a place for you at the feast table. Won’t you come take a seat?