Easter is one of the high points of our faith and the most defining part of our story as Christians. Many people see it as a time to go to Easter egg hunts and make baskets for kids and consume staggering amounts of candy. For others the day is about family…get-togethers and meals, and spending time catching up. The whole Easter thing is just a pretense.
For us as Christians the resurrection of Jesus, which is something many Christians understand in many different ways, means so much more. It means that even death, which is a reality everyone must face, is no longer the final word for human existence. Not only does Jesus live on in the presence of the church, but we also have the hope of an everlasting existence with God in some way. A fair question to ask is this: Why couldn’t God just decide to declare that people of faith will live on after their deaths in some kind of presence with God? God is God; God can do that. Why did Jesus have to die and then come back from the dead? One answer to that question is that the death of Jesus was the ultimate symbol of the brokenness that God desired to heal. Not only were people cruel and harmful and violent with one another, but in this case they even rejected God’s own Son purely out of selfishness and an enslaving adherence to their own version of faith. There could be no greater illustration of why the rift between God and humanity had become so great.
In the resurrection of Jesus, there could also be no greater illustration of God’s healing the rift between us and God. God brings God’s own Son back to life, and his Son promises “I will be with you always.” (Matthew 28:20).
We believe that promise to be true today as we gather together and live as Jesus’ own presence in our community. That’s why it was necessary for Jesus to die and be resurrected. There was no other way for God to fully reveal to us just what God was doing in history. The reason why we celebrate Easter in such fashion is because God has assigned us the task of helping the world understand just what God did. In 1 Cor. 5:19 Paul writes “in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself … and entrusting the message of reconciliation to us.” God has entrusted that message to us. Let’s broadcast it far and wide in our words and actions. He is risen indeed!