It may seem a little late to be talking about Easter, now that Holy Week and Easter Weekend have both passed. I hope you were all able to celebrate the joy of Easter, in whatever ways you were able to!
But, in reality, as Christians we celebrate the events of Easter all year round. 7 days a week. 365 days a year. Jesus’ death and resurrection matters each and every day, it is the cornerstone of our faith – it’s the very reason we have faith.
So, here are just a few lessons from the Easter story. This is not at all an exhaustive list but a couple of thoughts and reflections from the stories of Holy Week and Easter. If you’d like to remind yourself of the Easter story, you can watch Arnold and his friends re-telling the stories of Palm Sunday, Maundy Thursday, Good Friday and Easter Sunday here.
Sin has no power over you
When Jesus died upon the cross a sinless man, but bearing the weight of our sins, he paid the price for our sins. The punishment for our sins should be death, but Jesus has already died for our sins – so we don’t have to. This is why, when we repent and ask for forgiveness, our sins no longer separate us from God.
Sin no longer holds this power over us. We are no longer condemned by our sins but can choose to step out of the darkness and live in the light.
This doesn’t mean that we will never sin, or never be tempted. Until Jesus returns, we still live in a world where sin does exist. But that sin does not hold power over us because Jesus has already paid for our sins with his life. He has already won that victory. We do not need to live in shame and guilt, over sins we have already repented for. And through the power of Jesus we know that we can overcome any temptation in our path.
Carrying on from the last point, Jesus won a victory over sin, and he also won a victory over the punishment for sin: death. Jesus himself was killed despite being an innocent man, sinless and blameless. So, death could not hold onto him and he rose again three days later.
Jesus was resurrected, and for those who live in him, he promises resurrection for them too. Death is no longer the end, because Jesus defeated death.
This has a huge impact upon the way we live our lives, not because we can be reckless and stop caring about our own lives, but because we know that there is nothing left for us to fear. Death has lost its sting.
“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”John 16:33
Jesus’ prayer in the Garden of Gethsemane is a really powerful part of the Easter Story. It’s a moment of real vulnerability and a desperation that I’m sure many people can relate to.
Jesus prayed: “Take this cup from me”. We know that God said no to that prayer, the cup was not taken from Jesus – he still suffered a brutal trial, imprisonment, and death upon the cross. Jesus understood what it’s like for our prayers not to be answered in the ways that we hope for.
But, as he prayed for the cup to be taken from him, he also prayed: “Yet not my will, but yours”. Despite the desperation of his prayers, he was still willing to trust in God, to value God’s will above his own wants. He knew that God knew better than he could, and he trusted in God’s will.
You never know what’s coming next
I really appreciate the story of Holy Saturday, often overlooked in between the grief of Good Friday and the joy of Easter Sunday. But as people looking back, with the gift of hindsight, Holy Saturday is a really wonderful reminder that you never know what’s coming next.
For the disciples, Holy Saturday was a day of mourning, of grief, or hopelessness. They didn’t know what Sunday would bring, they didn’t know what the next weeks, months, years would bring.
We know what was coming for them, but we don’t know what tomorrow brings for us, or next week, or next year. If you’re feeling hopeless, fearful, confused; remember Holy Saturday – and remember what came next.
What other lessons from the Easter story do you think we can learn?
Dear God, thank you for the story of Easter. For Jesus’ death and resurrection. Thank you for the difference that this event, so many years ago, makes for each and every one of us today. Thank you for the victory that you won that day, that means that we too can live in victory. Thank you that sin has no hold over us. Amen.