This week we will celebrate Good Friday and Easter, commemorating the most important moment in the Christian faith; the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Even when we look past the Easter eggs, family dinners, and other worldly distractions of the holiday, it is still easy to forget the true weight of why we are celebrating.
Most of us know the gist of the story; Jesus died on a cross and a few days later, when his friends went to visit his grave, he was nowhere to be found. On Easter Sunday, we celebrate his resurrection and his sacrifice. We think of Christ as noble and selfless. We are thankful for all he has done and sing his praises in church. But once we leave, the impact of the Easter story often fades into the back of our minds.
There is another part of the Easter story that is perhaps less well-known. Matthew 27 tells the story of the actions and events leading up to Christ’s death. In those days, it was tradition for the governor to come before the masses and let them essentially vote on one prisoner to be released. Pilate asked the crowd if they would prefer he release Barabbas, a notorious criminal – think the equivalent of a serial killer today – or Jesus, the innocent “King of the Jews,” whom even Pilate said “had done no evil.” The crowd shouted their vote and it was unanimous: Barabbas should get to be released. Jesus would be crucified.
Perhaps your first thought when reading that story is “that doesn’t seem fair!” If such injustice happened in our own lifetime, we would probably be outraged, in disbelief. But do we have that same sense of disbelief, confusion, or outrage when we think of Christ dying for our own sins? We often forget to take it personally. We lose sight of the direct impact Jesus’s death has on our own individual lives. It is easy to remember that he is our Lord, but how often do we forget that for believers, he is our savior - and the true weight of what that means. Perhaps it is because we forget that we need to be saved. Romans 5 says “For one will scarcely die for a righteous person – though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die – but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” If we’re honest, it is tempting to consider ourselves those “good people” that perhaps one would even dare to die for. No matter what you are guilty of, how seemingly big or small your crimes, the Bible tells us in Romans 5:10 that “none is righteous, no, not even one.” We are all Barabbas – how blessed we are to have a loving God who willingly died in our place so that we may live freely.
This Easter season, as we celebrate what Christ did for us, let’s rejoice in the fact that we get another chance. Ask God to give you an awe and reverence for Christ’s grace and love that lasts past Easter Sunday. Because of His sacrifice, those who put their trust in Him can have eternal life!
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