Easter Sunday: On Second Thought

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During certain seasons of the year almost every newscast will have stories of complete devastation by fire or tornados. Those directly affected will be horrified but speak of the importance of life over things.  Another group of viewers will feel lucky that the storm didn’t hit them.  Unfortunately, there are a small number who find a way to blame the victims.  One thing for sure; without the hope of resiliency and eternal life, all is lost.

In the Easter Sunday message at the Voorhees campus, Pastor Jeff started with the three views of the crucifixion.  The believers who were horrified.  The haters who were pleased and the by-standers who didn’t realize how this would influence them in the end.

It must have been a long weekend for the believers.  Their all-powerful King was dead, and the force of the haters was all encompassing.  But then the miracle of Easter occurred.  The tomb was empty.  Jesus was alive! It was hard to believe at first, and possibly other, alternative explanations were made.  Yet slowly they realized that Jesus had given them the most important gifts of all; grace, redemption and hope.

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During the service a video was played of a woman being interviewed about her Easter experiences.  For those who were there I’m sure purple jelly beans sticks in your mind.  In the beginning they represented all the trappings of Easter like sparkly, wrapped presents symbolize the materialism of Christmas.

For most of her life, she was a by stander. Entombed by her materialism, she focused on everything of least importance. In the process she almost lost her business, marriage and self.  One Easter message, followed by one act of kindness by a stranger reacting to her tears, led to a journey with Christ.

As Pastor Jeff said, that journey doesn’t alleviate all pain or tough times.  Yet walking with the risen Christ offers a peace and understanding that gives you the tools to survive.  Jesus leads the way to the Father and eternal life.  The journey is lined with hope.

Why does Easter matter?  Why is it more than a historical fact?  The resurrection of Christ was a miracle that marked the end of the darkness due to sin and fulfilled the promise and hope of life eternal.    The Hope of Easter is the lone flower blossoming through a crack in the sidewalk; knowing that your family and pets have survived a horrific disaster; the touch of a stranger who simply asks, “Are you okay?”; the peace of mind when a loved one leaves this world that there is a beautiful paradise awaiting.

The lady’s interview mentioned above had multiple parts.  At first the emphasis on the materialistic, childish trappings of Easter annoyed me.  But on second thought, as her story developed Jesus entered her heart.  I came to envision purple jelly beans leading a path to heaven.

John 11:  25-26    Jesus said, “I am the resurrection and the life.  He who believes in me will live, even though he dies; and whoever lives and believes in me will never die.”

Easter matters because Christ Lives and is the Hope of Life Eternal.

-Jim Randazzo

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