The history of our world is littered with specific and special events whose occurrence has changed the way we live our lives.
The different discoveries and inventions that have been made in the area of science, transport, communication, agriculture, etc. have left us with a sense of amazement of what the human race is capable of. With all that man has and continues to churn out in the wheel of new discoveries and inventions we are left wondering, “What else is out there?”
Notwithstanding all of this yet there are two events whose significance far outweighs all others. The first is the birth of our Lord Jesus Christ and the second is His death.
Born to die
Both these events occurred in a manner that was unprecedented and unparalleled. They were characterized by the supernatural. Although they took place years apart yet they are not unconnected. The birth of Jesus was linked to His death. In other words He was born to die. He is the only one in fact who had that kind of an unusual destiny.
I cannot imagine living my life looking forward to my own cruel death. Yet Jesus paged through volumes of prophecies concerning Him and read the graphic illustration regarding His impending death. No wonder then His unusual prayer the night before His crucifixion. He got very apprehensive yet His resolve was unbroken.
Different nations and people groups have various ceremonies they pause to observe that point to a significant event in their history. It could be Independence Day, Freedom Day, some tragedy or even a great achievement. The commemoration of these events help in the instilling of nationhood and corporate identity. Above all else these commemorations help the nation and subsequent generations never to forget.
For Christians the Easter period serves the same purpose. We are to make a special effort not to forget what our Lord has done for us. The rite of Holy Communion serves to remind us throughout the year of what our Lord has done for us but the period around the Easter weekend causes many of us to have a collective time of reflection.
It is also worth reflecting that there are controversies as to the origins of Easter. A simple Internet search of the word “Easter” will lead you to many web pages telling of its pagan roots and yet many others tell of its Christian origin. Notwithstanding this, there are benefits in using this period to explain the gospel message. There are many people who would otherwise not go to a church service but would choose to do so in this period. Religion and perhaps curiosity causes many people to have a consideration for God in this period and the period around Christmas.
We need to reclaim these days
What we do need to do, however, is to reclaim these days from the commercial giants of this world. Easter is not about the Easter bunny, hot cross buns, pickled fish and such traditions. It is about Christ and Him crucified.
It is also not about stirring people’s emotions by overly dramatizing Christ’s death. It is not about the enactment of Christ’s crucifixion nor is it about torturing of one’s body in a quest to gain absolution from sins. It is about focusing on the victory Christ obtained on that rugged cross. Jesus died; He rose and then ascended to the right of God the Father. We should reflect on this.