Easter is just around the
corner, so let’s imagine that we are in Jerusalem approximately 2,000 years ago
on the day of Jesus Christ’s crucifixion. What would we see? What would we hear?
Walking along a narrow stone
street lined with markets, we would encounter a large crowd of people, many
yelling out "Crucify Him, Crucify Him!" Peering over peoples’ heads we would
witness a man stumble to his knees as he struggled to carry a wooden crossbeam
to his own crucifixion, and watch a Roman soldier grab a bystander to help carry
the 100-pound beam.
We would quickly notice the
horrific condition of this stumbling man. He was a mass of bleeding flesh. Upon
his head was a crown of thorns, causing blood to ooze down his face. His back
was riddled with lash marks and hanging strips of skin revealed deep and bloody
wounds due to a vicious flogging.
Following the crowd, we would
learn this man’s name as angry words were shouted at this badly beaten man.
Although in whispered voices, we would catch a few words about the Roman
governor unjustly condemning this man Jesus instead of a murderer. We would
sense an atmosphere of excitement as we watched the crowd eagerly follow the
exhausted man to a place called Golgotha, the site of this man’s crucifixion.
At Golgotha, we would recoil
at the awful sounds of the hammer striking nails as a Roman soldier grabbed
Jesus’s hands and powerfully drove nails through each of his wrists to attach
him to the crossbeam. Once the crossbeam was secured on a tall post, the
pounding sounds would begin again when Jesus’s feet were nailed to a post placed
between two thieves. We would observe this man attempt to lift himself up to
relieve his unbearable and excruciating pain! We would view this man struggle to
breathe, while hateful comments - "If thou be the Son of God, come down from the
cross" - were hurled at this dying man.
We would hear Roman soldiers
laughing at the foot of the cross, as they gambled for Jesus’s garments. We
would witness a man offer vinegar to Jesus to drink and watch another man thrust
his sword into Jesus’s side. Shortly thereafter, Jesus cried out, "It is
finished" and He gave up the ghost.
As Jesus’s body was taken
from the cross to be placed into a sepulcher, we would watch as the people,
including the chief priests, teachers and elders, nonchalantly walked away,
totally unfazed by this man’s suffering, and utterly incredulous over
suggestions that this man Jesus would arise from the grave.
Now, approximately 2,000
years later, are we like those who watched Jesus suffer? Are we guilty of
nonchalantly walking away from the Son of God? (John 3:16,17) Are we guilty of
refusing to understand who He truly is? Are we indifferent toward His agonizing
pain and horrific death? Do we reject Him as our Savior? Do we scoff at His
victory over death? (I Corinthians 15:1-8; 10:39-43/Matthew 28:1-8)
As a born-again believer, I,
along with many believers, celebrate Easter. But, unlike much of the world, we
rejoice in the true meaning of Easter every day of our lives.
Easter isn’t about the so-called once-a-year appearance of the Easter Bunny and
the spring ritual of coloring eggs. Easter is ALL about Jesus, our
Savior, our Redeemer, who laid down His life (Galatians 1:4); and arose three
days later (I Corinthians 15:3,4) to gift eternal life to anyone
who believes through faith in Jesus Christ. (Romans 6:23/Galatians 2:20)
We mustn’t let another
Easter…NO… another day go by, without asking God for forgiveness. It
isn’t too late to call out to Him to repent of our sins! (Romans 10:9) It isn’t
too late to reject false teachers that lead us away from the truth of Jesus’s
death, burial and resurrection. It isn’t too late to recognize how much God
hates sin or too late to recognize just how much God loves each of us! Some
2,000 years ago, when Jesus uttered, "It is finished", He was proclaiming that
all of humanity’s sin debt owed to His Father, had been paid…paid in full, if
one believes! (John 3:15) For as long as we have breath, it’s never too
late to place our faith in Jesus Christ. Terrifyingly, for the unbeliever, one
day it will be! (Matthew 25:46)
Up from the grave Jesus arose. He
Lives! This is what Easter is all about! (Matthew 27:38-66/Mark 15:9-15,
27-39/Luke 23:35-49/John 19:23-34)