The Resurrection Factor: From Psalms from a Sparrow
It seems to me that Easter should have a lot more significance than Christmas. It bothers me sometimes that it does not. I tried to explain my feelings to a friend once—how I felt that the Resurrection was the prime distinction between Christian and non-Christian faiths.
She said, Yes, but if Jesus had not been born, he would never have died on the cross.” I agreed because I couldn’t argue the point any better.
We’ve all been born. The difference between us and Jesus is that he made the choice to be born. But Jesus’ choice did not end with his birth. What would have happened to the world if, after only twenty days in the desert, he had made a compromise with the devil? “Silly,” you say. Not really. He actually had that choice. The Bible tells us that he was tempted. He had to choose for himself which course he was going to take.
The celebration of Jesus’ birth has really become a farce. We romanticize it by putting manger scenes and pretty lights on front lawns, when in reality, it was far from beautiful. But because of our humanness, we are bound to romanticize something. Maybe it’s better that we romanticize his birth rather than his death. The gruesomeness of that should not be taken away.
Oh, we have taken away a lot of the horror, I’ll grant, but if I had to choose, I would rather see his birth mocked by a Christmas rush than see the Easter bunny made any more important than it already is.
What excites me about Easter is that it distinguishes us from faith in any other god. Buddha was born; Muhammed was born. Ghandi was born and even died a martyr’s death as our Lord did. There’s one difference, though, and it shows that there is only one true God and all the others are either wood or stone or mere men.
That difference is that God sent his Son to be the Messiah. As Messiah he had no faults, and he chose to die because he loved us. Others may have died for the love of their fellow man, it’s true. But no other “messiah” has risen in victory over the grave. No martyr has come back from death to be seen and attested to by some six hundred people. No other “messiah” has the power of giving rest for the soul.
It’s amazing that such a powerful action still requires our own personal decision to validate how it will affect us. We need to believe this as being for ourselves before it will do us any good. Romans 10:9-10 says that if we confess with our mouths that Jesus is Lord and believe in our hearts that God raised him from the dead, we will be saved. With our hearts we believe and are justified, and with our mouths we confess and are saved. If you have never done that before, you can—now.