Easter Sunday 2018
Currently one of my favourite choruses for an Easter Sunday is this one:
“See the stone is rolled away,
Behold the empty tomb
Hallelujah, God be praised
He’s risen from the grave.”
– Brooke Ligertwood, Matt Crocker
It puts into song the proclamation by the angel in Luke 24:6 “He is not here; He is risen!” (NIV). The wonder of the Easter story is that beyond the darkest hour of night is this mysterious occurrence: the body is gone, the tomb empty – Christ has defeated sin and death.
The mystery of the Easter story brings full circle many of Jesus’ statements on the nature of the Kingdom of God. He teaches that the Kingdom is not what many might expect. This Kingdom is not one of outward success; of upward mobility; of prestige and power. Why, just a week prior to His death Jesus enters Jerusalem not on a stallion, as a conquering King, but on a young donkey. This Kingdom is upside down: to save your life, you must lose it; to be first, you must be last; to live, you must die.
In rising, Jesus proves that this is the cycle of the Kingdom – this is what we are invited to join. It is the empty tomb we celebrate on Easter Sunday. Jesus has lost His life and somehow saved it; He has been last, and somehow emerged as first; He has died, and yet somehow He now lives. By the great redemptive power of the Godhead we can see this new type of Kingdom at work.
Who would have thought that my path to God would be to enter the very same cycle that Jesus revealed?
To deny the things that hold and control me, and to trust completely in the identity provided to me by God, is a counterintuitive option in this success driven world. So many of the lessons we readily devour as we grow and mature are of the exact opposite. I must be a self-made man/woman; I must prove myself worthy; I must succeed, often at all costs. Jesus’ sacrificial death is an emphatic challenge to this idea. I cannot make anything more beautiful or good than that which God has already created in the identity He has given me. This is life within the Kingdom, to accept God’s view of me and to live the life He has called me to.
So this Easter, the invitation is to journey into the tomb to lay down our lives; to allow God to put to death everything that is not of Him, all the aspects of ourselves that are ‘un-created’. Out of that process of death we may emerge with the Spirit of new life breathed into us. We may now live our core identity – that we are children of the Great Light that defeats the darkness.