As I was reading the Easter story the other day, something refreshing and encouraging jumped out to me that I had never seen before. For those of us who have watched the Mel Gibson movie ‘The Passion of Christ’ (if you haven’t then by all means please take time to watch it before Easter Sunday) we can vividly remember how graphic the movie portrayed the crucifixion of Christ. In fact I have read where some have said that it actually wasn’t as graphic as it could have been, for to correctly portray what Jesus Christ physically suffered for our sins is even beyond Hollywood.
We read when Jesus cried out in a loud voice and gave up His spirit on the cross, it said at that very moment the curtain of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom; a large earthquake took place and as the earth shook, the rocks split. Tombs broke open and the bodies of many holy people who had died, were now raised to life. It went on to say that some seasoned, tough, battle-scarred guards who had once stood at the foot of Jesus’ cross; laughing and mocking Him; after they witnessed this great earthquake, they became terrified and quickly declared about Jesus, “Surely He was the Son of God!” You can imagine the chaos all this caused among the people of Jerusalem that day. Within one week, the people went from shouting, ‘Hosanna to the Son of David! Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord’ as Jesus rode into Jerusalem on a donkey to just a few short days later, shouting for His death. Within one week, everything went from going more than well to fear and terror; clearing up any damage that was caused by this great earthquake and wondering how they could explain how once dead people, were now alive again.
I drove truck for Nabisco for 26 years and though I hated the fact that I had to begin each day so darn early, I really enjoyed and actually looked forward to watching the sun as it peeked over the mountains and the smell of a new day as it broke forth. For a moment, you could hear the birds as they greeted the new day and there seemed such a calm in the air. Yet, that was all short-lived because soon those crazy drivers began to hit the streets on their way to work.
We read in the Gospels, that very early on the dawn of a new day; the day when Jesus would rise from His grave, some women got up and took spices to anoint the body of Jesus. I am sure they witnessed the earthquake and all the commotion that caused when Jesus gave up His spirit on the cross. Earthquakes have the tendency to cause some damage and maybe their home was busted up a bit by this earthquake; I don’t know. Earthquakes also have the tendency to place lots of fear and anxiety in the hearts of those who just experienced it. Yet, in spite of all of this, it was a new day and these women were not going to let anything keep them from anointing the body of their dear Lord. Yesterday they were in sorrow but it was now a new day! Too often I believe we live in the regrets and sorrows of yesterday and forget we have a new day to live our life anew.
When the women arrived at the tomb, they expected to anoint Jesus’ dead body and probably spend time grieving some more, but to their surprise, this new day brought the greatest news this world will ever hear. When the women arrived at the tomb, they encountered an angel who said in Matthew 28:5-7 “Do not be afraid, for I know that you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified. He is not here; He has risen, just as He said. Come and see the place where He lay. Then go quickly and tell His disciples: He has risen from the dead and is going ahead of you into Galilee. There you will see Him. Now I have told you.”
Easter Sunday is the greatest day for all believers; because of what took place that day, we can know we will live again! David declares in Psalm 40:2-3 “He (Lord) lifted me out of the slimy pit, out of the mud and mire; He set my feet on a rock and gave me a firm place to stand. He put a new song in my mouth, a hymn of praise to our God. Many will see and fear and put their trust in God.” I believe too often we go back to singing the old song we sang before we knew Jesus as Lord; a song of defeat, shame, remorse and fear. David say the Lord gave us a new song to sing and that was all because of what took place on Easter Sunday!! Paul writes in 2 Corinthians 5:17 “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!“
Easter Sunday should be a reminder to all Christians of the redeeming work Jesus did on the cross for all your sins! For those who don’t know Jesus as their Lord and Savior, they can know that Easter Sunday is much more than Easter baskets and eggs and the Easter bunny. It’s about being cleansed of your sins and giving you a new song to sing. Easter Sunday is all about a new day for all our lives and we must never ‘forget’ it by choosing to live in the regrets and events of yesterday!! A blessed Easter Sunday to all and be encouragement to live not only Easter Sunday but each new day with much joy as you sing your new song :-)