Oh look it’s public holiday time again! (And the crowd goes wild) What’s this one about? National Siblings Day? Braai Day? Edgars Red Hanger Sale Day? Okay, I digress much… let’s start at the top: This weekend we celebrate Easter! As you know, many of us 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”?
Well, traditionally, Easter is the remembrance of the life and death of Jesus Christ. Some of us believe that this guy really DID walk the Earth a couple of years ago and really DID die a horrible death. I know that the very idea of Jesus seems a bit far fetched – and I get that. I mean, if there is a God, why would he send a man (who calls himself God’s “son”) to this crazy planet?
Well, 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 with him. I mean, if Jesus looked like an alien, how well would we have responded to him? Or if God came to meet with us as a giant unicorn or a ball of fire or a massive winged angel, would we have been able to relate with him? Clever move, God, clever move.
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 guy and his radical 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. 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).
They eventually found reason to arrest him (basically, the locals made the #Jesusmustfall hashtag trend) and the dude in charge couldn’t decide if he should be punished (because, basically, all he was doing was talking), so the public took it on themselves (think: mob justice) to do something about it.
They beat him up, whipped him, mocked him, spat on him and taunted him. This beating was so severe that at times victims would not survive it in order to go on to be crucified (another norm back then). 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. 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). They were like, this guy’s followers will probably try to steal his body, so let’s guard the tomb and make sure that they don’t get away with it! I mean, logical thinking, right?
Except that days later, he actually did rise from the dead. The guards ran away in terror. (Shame. You had one job.)
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. Jesus became our scapegoat, so to say.
Jesus sacrifice on the cross meant that we are now able to trade our old for new, literally by accepting it, believing it and confessing it in our hearts and with our mouths. Like, that’s how you sign the contract. That’s it. No sacrificing of babies on alters and no slaughtering of goats required.
I also love that Jesus referred to God as his “Father”, thus giving us a way to relate with 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. God is alive and He is real. I love me some chocolate, but THIS right here is what love looks like. Beat that Easter bunny!
Originally posted on April 12th 2012. Updated on April 13th 2017.