Is it just me or does it all feel a little broken? It’s been a wild 2+ years on the local, national, and global level. I can’t decide whether it’s my fading youthful optimism or that I’m finally paying attention. Whatever the reason, it doesn’t always feel like the victorious Easter Sunday we’ll soon be celebrating.
It can almost feel like we’re trapped on Good Friday still waiting for an Easter Sunday that hasn’t come. Nothing could be further from the truth! If you, like me, are tempted to despair, it may be time to dwell on a few Easter truths.
1. “He is not here! He is risen, just as he said.”
By conservative estimates, Jesus fulfilled at least 300 Old Testament prophecies during his time on earth. If you’re curious, you can find a nice list of all these prophecies here. Aside from all of these, Jesus repeatedly predicted his own death and resurrection to his disciples during his earthly ministry. (Mark 9:30-31, Matthew 16:21, Luke 22:63-65, and many more)
Why does this matter? Jesus has been keeping his word for a long time.
You would think with all the miracles the disciples watched that they would have been anxiously awaiting for his resurrection on Easter Sunday. But they, like us, looked at their present reality and doubted his power. They, like us, forgot Jesus’ words and promises.
When the women found an empty tomb on Easter Sunday, the Bible says they were confused and frightened when an angel reminded them, “He is not here; he has risen, just as he said...” (Matthew 28:6).
Just as he said.
Even though I am prone to doubt, Jesus keeps his promises.
What other promises of God have I forgotten? How about John 16:33 where Jesus is encouraging the disciples about his coming death and resurrection and says, “I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world."
Well that's relatable.
The world is a mess. Life will be hard, but take heart. Jesus has overcome.
If you are weary today, I would encourage you to look up a list of God's promises and be refreshed. Maybe start with this list.
2. The empty tomb is just the beginning.
Sometimes we think of Christmas as the “beginning” and Easter as the triumphant “end” of Christianity. However, in many ways Easter is actually the beginning!
Because Jesus lived a miraculously sinless life, his death paid the debt for our sin. A death so powerful and victorious that it threw open the doors to direct connection with God for every believer, no more blood sacrifice or priestly mediation required.
On Easter Sunday, death is swallowed up in victory (1 Corinthians 15:54).
I recently mourned the passing of a Christian friend and mentor. It doesn’t feel right that she’s gone. And yet, I’m reminded that we WILL meet again face-to-face in glorified bodies. One day, we all will see our suffering Savior face-to-face, falling on our knees in gratitude and worship. We will look into his eyes and see the kindness, strength, and truth we’ve only known previously through prayer and study. Just dwell on that for a minute.
As author Clarissa Moll pointed out, Jesus’ empty tomb is the first of many more empty tombs. His resurrection is the beginning of all the good that is yet to come.
3. Jesus left earth to give us something better: the Holy Spirit.
Have you ever read through the gospels and felt like they just end abruptly with Jesus leaving earth? Why wouldn’t he just stay and usher in the New Kingdom right away? Beginning in John 16:7, Jesus shares part of the answer,
"Nevertheless, I tell you the truth: it is to your advantage that I go away, for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you. But if I go, I will send him to you. And when he comes, he will convict the world concerning sin and righteousness and judgment."
Living on this side of the resurrection, we honestly don’t know what life was like before the Holy Spirit was indwelling believers. What an interesting concept! I don’t claim to be an expert on the Holy Spirit, but to take Jesus at his word is to believe that having the Holy Spirit is better.
As believers, we don’t walk through this life alone. The Holy Spirit is ever-present leading, guiding, convicting, and comforting us. How have you felt his presence today, in the past week, and in the past month? Take a moment to reflect on how the Holy Spirit is working in your life.
As we approach Easter Sunday in this weary, broken world, we must constantly remind ourselves of the truth and our hope in the midst of the present reality.
Our hope isn’t in squeezing all the goodness (or achievement or recognition) we can out of this life. (Thank God!) Our hope is that one day we will join our Jesus in heaven. One day we will forever be in the presence of our God who is slow to anger and rich in mercy. One day all that is broken and ugly in this world will be mended and made new.
Christian, this is not our home. When we meet Jesus face-to-face, all of the grief, relational struggles, frustration, and evil of this world will seem but a blip in the expanse of eternity.
He is not here; he is risen, just as he said. He will come again in power and victory to make all things right, just as he said.
Article also seen in The Christian Post.