We are preparing for our Easter celebrations in a much different fashion this year as we shelter-in-place and consider how to gather around the Resurrection triumph without gathering together in our usual tribes. These are challenging times for many, and pondering the truth of the Resurrection may not necessarily be chief among the many things competing for our focus. Yet, while most of life as we know it is on pause, the reality of Resurrection Day has not been delayed or dismissed. Sunday will still come, and we, the children of God, will still have an incredible reason to celebrate!
Easter Sunday has become a great tradition which reminds us that no matter what darkness we may face, Jesus has broken its power to destroy and devastate us. We are not immune to troubles nor are we guaranteed a life free from suffering and pain; but in our suffering and in our pain, we have hope that we are not alone and that it is temporary. We belong to the One Who has triumphed over the grave, and that is truth worth celebrating!
Why should things be any different this Easter Sunday? Though the darkness of infirmity and the threat of death is looming over the globe, Resurrection Day is still a day appointed to remember and reposition ourselves under the life-changing truth that Jesus defeated the power of it all. We should, more than ever before, prepare to feast and celebrate, even if bound to our own homes and limited to sharing our provisions via curbside drop-offs and video gatherings. If the grave could not stop Jesus from rising, why should something less prevent us from rejoicing?!
In John 11:25, Jesus’ friend, Lazarus, had just died and Martha was lamenting that Jesus had not come soon enough to heal him. Jesus assured Martha that she would see her brother alive again and she agreed with what she had been taught- yes, someday she would see him again. Her faith was real, but her hope was delayed. Jesus challenged her understanding by saying: “I am the resurrection and the life.” In other words, “What you are waiting for is here. I’m it!”
Martha was waiting for a future event, but Jesus came with a present reality. He didn’t come to do resurrection. He came as the resurrection. He intentionally did not do what Martha was hoping He would have done - He did not avert the tragedy. Instead, He stepped into it and experienced it with her. Then He demonstrated the reality that the worst we face has lost its power over those who belong to Him.
Jesus gave Martha a preview of Easter Sunday that day. We, too, are witnessing a preview.
While we wait for God to bring deliverance, He is already and still our Great Deliverer! There is no sickness, no death, no threat greater than His victory, and His presence with us in the middle of it. We have so much to celebrate, even in this dark hour, because He is the Resurrection! Because He lives, on the other side of the grave, abundant life is our reality right now! So let’s set our tables and feast with a joy that looks both backward at the empty tomb, and forward to the outpouring of more grace! To God be the glory, both now and forevermore!