The Greatest Love Story: Easter
I love Easter! The egg hunts with cute kids. The celebratory service with friends all together worshipping God. The times with family and friends over fantastic food, with an afternoon of fun following—oftentimes enjoying the warm sun of Spring. But behind it all, and within all of the family and friends is the greatest love story ever told.
All of us, every single human can relate to being a sinner—even if we don’t use or like that term. Do you live up to your own expectations? No. You do things that are unhealthy for you and you know it. You do things toward others that are hurtful to the relationships. You fall short of loving as you want. And, inherently, we all know if there is a God, then that God’s standards for love are higher than ours—so we miserably fail our own standards, much less God’s standards. We all sin. And we know it. So, we deal with that rightful, true guilt in any number of ways.
And if there is a God, our sin is even worse. Because we have all gotten angry at God. Most of us have railed against God, if not in our spoken words, in our thoughts, over how bad or evil God must be to let ______________ happen. We all have many things we can fill in that blank with. We all think God must be angry and be judging us for all our failures and the evil in our world.
But that isn’t the picture of God at all. Yes, God is just and there is judgment. Why? Because God is love. If someone you loved, say your child or parent, were brutally attacked and wounded or even killed, then you would want the culprit who did the atrocious act to be judged. Why? Because you love. As 1 Corinthians 13:7 (NIV) says, “[love] always protects.” It is impossible to be loving without also judging right and wrong. If you didn’t judge the person who attacked your loved one, you would be seen as cold-hearted and unloving.
So, with all we have done to offend God by sinning against others God created, and by railing against God, castigating Him as unloving, God shows unimaginable love by still choosing to love us, and not only love us but come to earth to be with us in Jesus. And not only that but to pay the price our sin deserves so that we don’t have to pay it ourselves. We might die for someone or something (a cause or nation) we love. But who of us would die in place of someone who doesn’t love us? That’s what Jesus has done. That’s what Easter celebrates, the fact that Jesus paid the price we were meant to pay for us fulfilling the justice true love demands. And Jesus rose from the dead, giving us hope based on tremendous evidence that we too will one day be fully saved, fully restored, and enjoy what we like to call heaven for eternity.
Of course, Easter’s celebration is not so happy yet if we haven’t received the love of Jesus. Jesus removed sin from the equation of being in right relationship with God and made it simply about one choice: Will we turn to Jesus, repent of our sins, receive His forgiveness, and dedicate our lives to following Him? When we have done that, Easter comes alive, and life becomes more full as we personally enter into living the greatest love story ever told.