All over the world, believers celebrate the powerful work that was accomplished through the death and resurrection of Jesus.
By Ron Myer
Easter is the main event in the Christian calendar. All over the world, believers celebrate the powerful work that was accomplished through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Easter carries the message of new life. Its festivities include huge floral displays, new outfits and family gatherings. Churches usually observe Holy Communion as we remember all Jesus accomplished in the darkest hours of history.
For some, Easter is one of two times in a year—Christmas being the other—when they feel compelled to attend church and revisit their religious experience. By doing so, they feel they have fulfilled their commitment to God. For others, it will be the most important day of the year. For some, as much as Easter is a special day, it is one more expression of the resurrection power of Christ that we live on a daily basis.
The world is in crisis. I have found that in a family, crises will either bring people together or push them apart. I have seen marriages destroyed, frayed by a couple’s inability to make it through a crisis before them. While they would want to blame the crisis itself, the real culprit is their inability to navigate through it. By the grace of God, every challenging situation Bonnie and I have been through has brought us closer to the Lord and to each other! I remember times when I have fallen into bed at night, Bonnie and I crying in each other’s arms, praying for the Lord’s intervention in a given situation and saying, “I am so glad that the Lord has given me you to help me walk through this!” We should never get angry at God! Get angry at the devil, get angry at the situation, but don’t get angry at God! He is the only one who will give you the grace to make it through whatever you are facing.
One of our children required an operation at an early age. I’ll never forget the emotion I felt as I held our child in my arms and headed toward the operating room. As the father, I carried a profound mandate to protect this child. At the doorway into the operating room, a nurse held out her hands and said, “Sorry sir, you can go no further!” What? She went on to say, “Parents are not allowed in the operating room.” What kind of sick policy is that, I thought. I am the Dad. There is not one person in this hospital who cares about this child more than the two of us! What do you mean, I can go no further? The truth is, there were things on me called germs that would compromise the environment of that operating room and place my child’s life in danger! So as my heart broke and tears streamed down my face, I placed our child into the arms of the caring nurse who was assuring all of us that we would be together again soon.
God lives in perfection and created a place of perfection for Adam and Eve. We find details of this in the first two chapters of Genesis. When Adam and Eve listened to the serpent’s voice, their sin opened the door to all kinds of havoc, chaos, evil, destruction, disease—and separation from the very One who loved them the most. But from that day on, Father God was working to bring them back into right relationship with Him so that once again He could walk in intimacy with the ones He loved so much.
Fast forward to the time when Jesus willingly took your sin and my sin upon Himself. He submitted Himself to torture and death on the cross. Three Gospel writers report that when Jesus hung on the cross, He cried out “It is finished,” bowed His head and died. The Bible then makes this all-important declaration, “Then, behold, the veil of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom” (Matthew 27:51).
You see, in the Jewish Temple, “The Holy Place” was where the presence of God dwelt. The High Priest was only allowed to enter this Holy Place once a year. A veil thirty feet long, thirty feet wide, and thirty feet high separated the Holy Place from the rest of the temple and the people. When Jesus died on the cross, this veil, signifying the separation between sinful man and a perfect God, was torn in two from top to bottom! Hallelujah!
What forgiveness does
Let’s go back to the example of my child going into the operating room and my not being allowed to enter due to the germs on my body. In a similar way, my sins prohibited me from entering into the presence of God. The tearing of the veil signified for all to see what was separating us from a loving Father: sin. It was dealt with once and for all as Jesus took those sins upon Himself through His death on the cross. His forgiveness makes me righteous.
God did not lower the bar by allowing sin to enter the Holy Place. That would be as if a doctor in an operating room would just allow anyone to enter. No, He cleansed me from my sin. I can now come boldly before His throne for grace and mercy to help in time of need (Hebrews 4:16). I can now enter the operating room—God’s throne room of operations—because He made me clean.
“God’s free gift leads to our being made right with God, even though we are guilty of many sins. For the sin of this one man, Adam, caused death to rule over many. But even greater is God’s wonderful grace and his gift of righteousness, for all who receive it will live in triumph over sin and death through this one man, Jesus Christ” (Romans 5:16b-19).
The New Living Translation explains it like this: “Yes, Adam’s one sin brings condemnation for everyone, but Christ’s one act of righteousness brings a right relationship with God and new life for everyone. Because one person disobeyed God, many became sinners. But because one other person obeyed God, many will be made righteous” (Romans 5:18-19).
When I made Jesus the Lord of my Life, I was cleansed from all unrighteousness and brought into right relationship with God. I now have free access to the Throne Room of God, and as the writer of Hebrews admonishes, I can enter boldly!
The Most Important Event in All of History
That is what Easter is all about. All who make Jesus Lord of their life are celebrating forgiveness of sins and a right standing with God. This is not based on what we have done, but on what Jesus has done. Now that is worth celebrating!
That brings us back to communion. When I was growing up, communion was celebrated a few times a year. When I was baptized in the Holy Spirit, partaking of the bread and the cup that Jesus shared with His disciples before He went to the cross took on a whole new meaning. It was done more frequently than the occasional times I remember as a child. About five years ago, I began to take communion almost on a daily basis, not as a ritual, but as an intimate part of my time of with the Lord, remembering all that He has done for me and made available to me. It has not become common or insignificant, but a wonderful experience of intimacy and gratitude. I live in the power and resurrection of the cross of Christ on a daily basis.
As you celebrate the most important event in all of history, remember that with Jesus as Lord of your life, you have been made righteous and have full access and intimacy with the King of Kings. Celebrate that relationship often. Immerse yourself in His presence.
If you have not yet made this most important decision of your life, I encourage you to do so today.
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