For most of my 20 something years on earth celebrating Easter was a must- we dressed especially nice on Easter sunday, and had family gatherings with lots of food and laughter after service. Also, that was one of the Sundays that people you hadn't seen in months came to church; so it was a reunion of sorts. All in all, the entire Easter weekend was always eventful and festive, but in recent years, a question has lingered: Is Jesus who is the essence of Easter carried beyond the religious activities?
This lingering question in my heart has in recent years birthed a deeper longing within. That longing is to abstain from the 'religiousness' of this crucial season and to instead draw closer to the One who gave up so much for the gifts we freely enjoy. More than ever, I am thoroughly convinced, that instead of trying to live our lives the most holy on holy week, God desires for us to walk with him DAILY, all year round.
Easter isn't just a time to acknowledge and celebrate the death and resurrection of Jesus, it is a time to also re-learn the character of our King. This year what has moved me the most, is the power of forgiveness that Christ exhibited amidst his trials. And so, how many of us today will choose to endure one percent of what Jesus endured on this weekend many eons ago? Better yet, endure it gracefully and without sin? It is hard to fathom that Jesus, as a hundred percent flesh like you and I, in the midst of unjust suffering and intense pain never once blamed those falsely accusing Him. As painful, heart-breaking, and depressing as His circumstances were, He looked beyond both the ignorance and evil of his accusers and prayed to the Father to forgive them.
Right there on the cross, after he had been scourged, spat on and treated worse than a criminal, Jesus never once wished evil on His adversaries. Indeed, after the immense pain of long sharp nails going through both hands and both feet, He still had the right outlook on his temporarily despondent condition. And with that mindset alone, could he have according to Luke 23:34 prayed "Father forgive them, for they know not what they do" Those words ought to completely revolutionize our thinking and hearts!
Jesus on the cross not only brings to life the many quotable teachings in his lifetime on forgiveness, but He also models it! How many times have we felt justified to hold a grudge? lash out, or get revenge? Well, if we are indeed striving to be Christlike, there's our model! The dying Jesus- who had more reason than any of us ever could have to curse and be upset, prayed for his offenders in all sincerity. Friends, that moves me to my very core. It is imperative that we release all bitterness and unforgiveness towards anyone from our hearts. It is my heartfelt prayer; that God will lavish us all with the limitless grace needed to love and forgive like him.
In closing, ponder the words of Jesus in Matthew 6:14; "If you forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses."
Happy Easter all! Please post your comments, additional insight & questions for the benefit of all!