This coming weekend Americans will be celebrating the Easter holiday with their usual vim and vigor. Unfortunately, many have forgotten this “holiday” is truly a “holy day.”
I did an Easter search on Google this past week and found that:
- Americans will spend $18.1 billion on Easter this year.
- 66% of parents will make Easter baskets for their kids.
- 91 million chocolate bunnies are sold each year for Easter.
- 90% of parents plan to discuss eating candy in moderation with their kids.
Did you notice anything missing? Lots of candy but no Christ.
A friend of mine used to be a salesman for a company that specialized in making shoes for diabetics. One Easter weekend, he was in one of the pharmacies he serviced, and he saw a young worker re-stocking the shelves with more chocolate Easter bunnies. He asked her if she knew what Easter is about, and she said, “Eggs and bunnies.” When he told her that it actually is a celebration of Jesus’s resurrection, she said, “No way!” Yes way.
Everything in the Christian faith hinges on this one historical event: Jesus rose from the dead. C. H. Dodd once wrote, “The Resurrection is not a belief that grew up within the church; it is the belief around which the church itself grew up, and the `given’ upon which its faith was based” (Yancey, The Jesus I Never Knew, 217.
The Resurrection is The Great Reversal. When Jesus walked out of the tomb, it showed us that nothing, not even death, is final. Even that can be reversed.
Several months ago, Laura and I went to Tyler Trent’s funeral. You’re most likely familiar with Tyler’s story, as it gained global attention through ESPN and even the White House. Tyler was diagnosed with cancer as a teenager and had three rounds of seeing his cancer come back until he eventually won the battle and became cancer free as he went on to heaven.
Tyler went through the agony of death in order to gain the reality of heaven. The Great Reversal takes pain and death and transforms it into joy and new life. “Death is swallowed up in victory” (1 Corinthians 15:54b).
Novelist John Updike states this truth poetically:
Make no mistake: if He rose at all
it was as His body;
if the cells’ dissolution did not reverse, the molecules
reknit, the amino acids rekindle,
the Church will fall.
As you prepare for Easter, be grateful and celebrate that in Jesus, “Death shall be no more; Death, thou shalt die” (John Donne, Death, Be Not Proud).