Whatever you are thinking about right now…stop. No, seriously…stop. As we head into the most celebrated weekend of the Church year I want you to take a moment and forget all the noise in your life. I invite you to take a few moments and reflect on the meaning of Easter.
“Dear woman, why are you crying?” Jesus asked her. “Who are you looking for?” John 20:15 (NLT)
This exchange happens as Mary Magdalene is leaving the tomb of where Jesus had been buried, and now the tomb sits empty. It is the third day since the death of Jesus and her Lord is gone. No one seems to know where His body could have been placed. She is asked, by Jesus, who she is looking for and she explains that her Lord has been taken away and asks if the man (which she assumes is the gardener) has done something to Him. Jesus then says, “Mary!” At which point she immediately recognizes the Lord and cries out Rabboni, which is Hebrew for teacher.
This weekend will represent the one-year mark in my commitment to re-dedicate my life to Christ. My wife, Natalie, and I, started attending church at White River on Easter of 2014. I think, often, about what changed in us that made church such a vital part of who we are, now, and I think it comes back to one key thing: I had forgotten what Easter was about at a high level. Let me explain.
In short, Jesus came to earth, and lived as you are living right now, albeit without sin. He then died a painful and violent death because the scriptures, through Gods divinity, dictated that this is what must happen. Then on the third day, He rose from the dead, and returned to heaven. Do you know why? Because He wants you to have peace, love, eternal life, and most importantly, a relationship with Him. Yes, Jesus died for you. That phrase is so much bigger than any t-shirt or bumper sticker could ever say, but it is true: Jesus. Died. For. You.
But let us never ever forget this: HE ROSE FROM THE DEAD FOR YOU, TOO.
I know many non-believers, or those who have been hurt by the church, or those who have been hurt by someone they should not have been hurt by, will see that phrase, “Jesus died for you”, and feel bitterness or anger. I never understood why though, until last year. For up until last year, when I heard someone say that, or I read it somewhere, my eyes would roll and my defensive force field would turn on. But as I sat in the sanctuary last Easter, and listened to Pastor Tim talk about Jesus’ resurrection, it hit me really hard. The reason I had resented church and all that Jesus had offered me for far too many years, was because I had not been able to find what I was looking for spiritually. No matter which avenue I searched, I always came back empty. Last Easter Sunday, like all Sundays since, I have felt Jesus inside the walls of White River Christian Church. The question I was asked, by Him, is the exact one asked of Mary Magdalene on the day of Christ’s resurrection; “Who are you looking for?”
My wife and I, though we didn’t know it until that day, were looking for Jesus. Were amazingly blessed, and thankful, that Jesus, no matter our paths taken, is always looking for us.
As we close out these blog posts with a question to stimulate conversation, if not just amongst your own thoughts, let me close with this:
If you aren’t spiritually satisfied, “Who are you looking for?”
Jesus Christ, from his birth to His resurrection, never broke a promise. He was always faithful to the word. He did die for you and me, and with that, he erased all of our sins and gave us eternal life, if we’ll just succumb to Him. And this Sunday as we celebrate Easter, we’ll be excitedly celebrating the fact that Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior, has risen and has shown once again, that He can be forever trusted. He will be faithful in helping you carry out your life, just as He is faithful in carrying out the scriptures.
From my family to yours, we wish you a wonderful Easter weekend…and may each of you know, now and forever, that Jesus Christ never disappoints.
In His resurrected name,
Eric J. Wasson