Well, we have just celebrated our second Easter during the global COVID-19 pandemic. Last year, I wrote about how to have an evangelistic Easter without big events. This year, things are different. Rather than stumbling into the great unknown, many of us feel like the fog is lifting. The past year has been painful. We have lost loved ones. Lost jobs. We have watched our country and our churches be torn apart. But many are feeling hopeful again. Restrictions are being eased. Vaccines are rolling out. Kids are going back to school.
In some ways, this is the story of Easter. In the darkest hour, when all seemed lost, the stone rolled back and Jesus walked out. He broke the power of sin and death. He showed the world that He is the Savior.
You see, Easter is more than a date on the calendar; it is our way of life. The truths we preach, sing, and read about during this season should shape everything we do. Easter Sunday has passed, but how can the Easter message shape our future?
Back to normal isn’t an option.
One of the most common questions of the past year has been, “When can we get back to normal?”
Now, I understand what people mean. This season has exhausted us all. If the resurrection teaches us anything, however, it is that God’s mission is marching forward. What started as a promise in the garden (Genesis 3:15) was fulfilled in the first Easter. Paul tells us that Jesus triumphed over the rulers and authorities through the cross (Colossians 2:15).
Our world has changed, but God’s mission pushes us into the future. We should not long to go back. The resurrection points us to the future, not the past.
Though the world seems dark, God has not been dethroned.
If you read the biblical account of Jesus’ final week and you didn’t know the end of the story, you would swear that the bad guys were winning. Jesus was sold, betrayed, captured, lied about, tortured, and publicly executed. Matthew tells us that even the sky turned dark. You would think all was lost, but you would be wrong!
As Christians, reading these events through the lens of the resurrection, we call this a Holy Week. We call the day of Jesus’ death, Good Friday. God’s plan for our salvation was fulfilled. The world looked to be out of control, but it wasn’t.
As we reflect on Easter week 2021, we need to be reminded that God has not been dethroned. Easter Sunday has passed, but the Easter message has not.
Reflect on the words of the great preacher, S. M. Lockridge:
The World’s Winning
People are Sinning
Evil is Grinning…
Hope has lost
Death has Won
Sin has Conquered
And Satan’s Just a laughing
But it is only Friday…
Sunday is a Comin’!
God’s mission marches on.
We have a message to tell to the nations. After Jesus rose from the dead, He sat with His disciples and told them God’s plan was moving forward. He reminded them there was still something for them to do:
He told them, “These are my words that I spoke to you while I was still with you—that everything written about me in the Law of Moses, the Prophets, and the Psalms must be fulfilled” Then he opened their minds to understand the Scriptures. He also said to them, “This is what is written, The Messiah will suffer and rise from the dead the third day, and repentance for forgiveness of sins will be proclaimed in his name to all the nations, beginning at Jerusalem.You are witnesses of these things. And look, I am sending you what my Father promised. As for you, stay in the city until you are empowered from on high.”
– Luke 24:44–49
Did you catch that little phrase after Jesus mentioned His death and resurrection? He told them God’s mission included the nations hearing about and trusting Jesus.
The Easter story is not only our source of comfort and strength. It is also our message to a broken world. Jesus died so you could have a new life and be forgiven. He rose from the dead as proof that He is our Savior AND to empower us to take this message to others. You and I are surrounded by people who are living in the darkest, most confusing, and most frightening moment in modern history. Let’s point them to our Savior, praying they can meet Him and be changed.
Easter Sunday is over, but the Easter message echoes all year long.