“He is Risen; He is not here!” What else can be said about the meaning of Easter? That is the Good News – the tomb is empty! It seems that anything else I might offer the next two Sundays would be nothing more than a vain and futile attempt to define and describe the obvious. The essence of our faith centers around the rolled-away stone and the words of the heavenly angel.
I admit that I can add nothing of importance to our proclamation of Easter morning. I do, however, have questions. Does our faith begin at the tomb on Easter morning, or does it begin at the cross on Good Friday? Does Easter make the cross disappear, or does it vindicate the suffering and agonizing death of our Savior?
Easter is not an escape from hardship or death … it is instead what lies on the other side of the process. If we have not experienced the crucified Christ, then we can hardly understand or accept the resurrected Christ. If we have not (or are unwilling to) realize and admit our own death apart from God’s divine will, then we can never know the joy of God’s grace and the power of the resurrection.
We can truly receive grace only when we have wrestled with our inability to have life as God intends. The sense of “Being found” which Easter brings can only have meaning when we know first what it means to be lost. I believe Good Friday is the start of our faith, for it is the truest picture of a lost humanity rejecting the very one who could offer salvation. Faith begins when we realize that we crucify Christ each time we reject His way. Faith is strengthened each moment we accept that God’s love can overcome even those actions of unfaithfulness, as witnessed to by the angels statement, “He is Risen; He is not here!”
Agape, Rev. Jim