Oh look it’s almost public holiday time again! (And the crowd goes wild) And if there is one thing we love in good ol SA, it’s a public holiday. Finally, something we can all agree on! What’s this one about now again? National Siblings Day? Braai Day? Edgars Red Hanger Sale Day? We’ll take it! Gimme 2! Let’s make this thing a long weekend affair. Okay, I digress much…
Let’s start at the top… this weekend we celebrate Easter! A time of the year that is very close to my heart. South Africans associate Easter with chocolates, rabbits, pickled fish, hot cross buns and, oh hey, maybe we’ll go to church. But what’s the big deal anyways and why do we get time off from work to celebrate days like “Good Friday” and “Easter Monday”?
Can I just start this off by saying that rabbits do not lay eggs, so whoever came up with that analogy needs to get their head read. Okay now that that’s out of the way…
I love Easter. I celebrate it because I believe that it is a time for us to reflect on and celebrate the life of Jesus Christ and the fact that He actually, really did die on the cross for us a couple of years ago.
I know that the very idea of someone like Jesus being alive, on earth, as God, seems a bit far fetched – and I get that. But I think that it was totally genius of God to come meet with us, on Earth, in human form. I mean, think about our brain capacities, as human beings – human form was the only way that we would be able to relate to Him. I mean, really, if Jesus was an E.T. looking alien, how well would we have responded to him?! (Hello NASA.) Or if God came to meet with us as a giant unicorn or a ball of fire or a massive winged angel, would we be able to understand the sacrifice of life that was made on the cross? It was clever. He is a clever God.
Anyways, so this Jesus was born, as a normal human being and grew up as a (guess what) normal human being, with brothers and sisters and parents. As he grew older people were instantly drawn to him. Philosophers and wise men spoke of this Jesus and his teachings. People could not understand his talks of a God who loved them unconditionally – back then they had to sacrifice their babies on altars of fire to get recognition from their “gods”. And here comes this man saying that all they need to do is open their hearts. I’ve heard of amazing ancient history books (not the Bible) documenting the life of this Jesus. He is there, in the books. Soldiers reported about Him, in their log books, saying that the stuff he and his followers were saying, caused an uprising among the people (who all worshiped rocks and metals back then) So eventually they found reason to arrest Jesus and the dude in charge couldn’t decide of he should be punished (because all he was doing was talking; but, gathering a crowd who was not hailing whoever was in charge, was frowned upon back then surely), so the public took it on themselves (think: mob justice) to do something about it.
They really beat Jesus something terrible. whipped Him, mocked Him, spat on Him and taunted Him. The whip that was used, called a flagrum, consisted of braided leather thongs with metal balls and pieces of sharp bone woven into or intertwined with the braids. The balls added weight to the whip, causing deep bruising and contusions as the victim was struck. This beating was so severe that at times victims would not survive it in order to go on to be crucified.
Those who were flogged would often go into hypovolemic shock, a term that refers to low blood volume. In other words, the person would have lost so much blood he would go into shock. There is evidence from Scripture that Jesus experienced hypovolemic shock as a result of being flogged. This explains why, after Jesus died and a Roman soldier thrust a spear through Jesus’ side (probably His right side, piercing both the lungs and the heart), blood and water came from His side just as John recorded in his Gospel. (John 19:34)
Anyways, he died. They put him in a tomb and had guards surround the tomb, because Jesus had spoken of his death and said that he would rise again in 3 days (I mean, he knew they were going to kill him. Hello, bells should be going off). Days later, he rose from the dead. The guards ran away in terror. What does all of this even mean?
Here’s what it means: God loved us all so much that He took on human form to come and mingle with us locals. He knew that if we were left to our own devices, there would be no way we would ever be able to have a relationship with Him, because He is pure and perfect and we are not. He needed to establish a way for us to be close to Him. He was always aware of the fact that we would probably crucify Him. But it had to be done to create a way for our imperfectness to be blotted out, so that we could become close with God. Jesus became our scapegoat, so to say. I also love that Jesus referred to God as his “Father”, thus giving us a way to relate to God… as our Father. Isn’t it beautiful that the God who actually made everything – like the whole Universe – wants us to know Him as a Father?
Anyways, this supernatural fact is what makes Easter such a supernatural period and a special time for me. This is what its all about maaaan! God is alive and He is real. This is what love looks like. This is love. Beat that easter bunny!