We are coming up to Easter – that time of the year: of Easter eggs, Spring, and…well I’m not sure what most people think regarding Easter? I was surprised to read in the Guardian that Carolyn Bailey of Good Housekeeping was saying: “Now Easter is becoming like a second Christmas.” I think she may have meant in terms of buying things for Easter – it is another time of year for family to get together, share more food, and eat lots of chocolate. For us as Christians it is the main thing – it’s bigger than Christmas.
We say ever year that Easter is the most important thing; it is the reason Jesus came, and we say Jesus came so we can go to heaven when we die. It is true, but we miss so much by just saying that Jesus came to give me a ticket to heaven. God’s intention in Jesus was to restore fallen humans to full humanity. Maximus the Confessor said this: ‘Christ has given us an entirely new way of being human.’
Jesus did this by dying for our sins on the cross, and we need to keep looking at this afresh to keep it ‘alive’ in us. I like how Brian Zahand puts it: “Jesus was offered as a sacrifice in that the Father was willing to send his son into our sinful system in order to expose it as utterly sinful and to provide us with another way…We sinned our sins into Jesus (by killing him) and Jesus revealed the heart of God by forgiving us…He then rose again on the third day to speak the first word of the new world ‘Peace be with you.’” It is through dying to our old sinful self, dying to the sinful system, and rising again to new life in Jesus that hope comes to us.
The good news is that this hope, and new life, starts now – we don’t have to wait. It starts by discovering in a deeper way the meaning and significance of the death and resurrection of Jesus so that we can know what it means to be a new people. A new way of being human that is filled with hope. We hold this in tension while we are still waiting in anticipation for its final fulfilment when Jesus comes again and calls us home, his new people, in the new created order when all ‘shall be well and all manner of things shall be well.’