The Problem with Easter

“But what about you?” Jesus asked. “Who do you say I am?” — Matthew 16:15

One of our five fabulous granddaughters is six years old and has shown signs of having a gift as an artist. In her art class, Kamy painted a watercolor butterfly that I thought was pretty cool, so, a couple of weeks ago, I asked her if I could buy it. Of course, she’d never sold one of her pieces for financial profit, so she didn’t quite know how to respond. So, I said, “You talk it over with your mom and dad and see, first of all, if they’d be willing to let go of it, and then let me know what you’d sell it to me for.” I got a call last Monday and she said, “Papa, I’ll sell it to you for $100.” (Probably reflecting a bit of coaching.) So now, I didn’t quite know how to respond. So, I said, “Let Pops think about that.” I hung up and told Sheryl, “She obviously knows $100 is a lot of money, but they probably don’t teach currency conversion rates in the first grade.” So, I asked her if I could pay her 100 pesos, which is only about $5, and more in my price range. If she doesn’t get any further coaching, she should be okay with that. So, please pray for our negotiations. I really want that picture!

The weekend marked an important anniversary—that of God paying an incredible price to pull us out of our sin, dysfunction and brokenness—in short, to pull us out of ourselves. Last Friday night, at all of our sites and in churches all around the world, we celebrated the high cost of redemption. You could say that God, unlike me, never quibbled about price and paid for our salvation with the life of His Son, Jesus Christ. Sunday, we celebrated the Resurrection, and how God alone can bring dead things back to life—like dead bodies. Dead souls. Dead marriages. And dead careers. The empty tomb is the ultimate symbol of the life that only Jesus can give the world.

It’s amazing to watch the Christian church around the world set aside even glaring differences for at least one day every year, and unite under the banner of Easter. Ironically, sinful pride seeps into a lot of theological conversations. Those discussions sometimes test the strength of our own unity here at HDC, simply because we all like to think we’re right about everything. Our quest for biblical integrity sometimes leads us to different conclusions in many of those conversations but, when it comes to Easter, we all seem to end up at the same empty tomb. Believers everywhere recognize, if Jesus’ tomb wasn’t empty because He was physically resurrected and walked out of it, then all of us, regardless of Christian tradition, have absolutely nothing to look forward to after we die.

I don’t care who you are—you have an unavoidable problem with Easter, because we’re all forced to have an opinion about it. So, what do you believe happened that weekend? Do you believe Jesus was who He said He was or not? If not, then He was a liar, someone who perpetrated on all of us the greatest hoax in human history.

But you have an even bigger problem than that—you’re burning daylight sitting there reading this post. Ever since Genesis chapter 3, death has always been the elephant in the room, a common enemy to us all, one who’d love nothing more than to take the shot. He’s lurking in the corner of every room we walk in, hiding behind every tree we walk by, and waiting inside every meal we consume. And, eventually, he’s going to step in and your number’s going to be up. Death still operates as the most democratic institution on Earth—one death per person.

So, what are you going to do about Easter? Who do you believe Jesus is? Because you have to decide something. Summarily dismissing the deadline of death is what we all try to do every day, and is precisely what our enemy is hoping we do for exactly one day too many.

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