I know good and well that Easter is all about Jesus, but there has not been a spring time celebration of the Resurrection on which I have failed to wear a brand new Easter dress.
Because my momma taught me that.
And…we can’t talk about the Easter dress without discussing the annual Easter picture. According to my unscientific assessment, the Family Easter Picture is nearly as standard to the American family on Easter day as the stocking is on Christmas.
The traditional Easter photo shoot is no doubt the brainchild of a mother who wanted to capture proof that her family really did dress (a bit) more fancy than the norm at least one day a year. In my case, Easter is one of the few Sundays that Luke wears a shirt with buttons and actual non-Nike pants. (I pick my battles, people.)
Regardless of the (sure-to-be pastel) attire, Easter family photos in this generation have one guaranteed destination that my childhood never met: Facebook.
My 11-year old self might say that’s one of the great mercies of God. Because, this:
(So much I want to say here…but I’ll refrain.)
Many Easter Sundays have been all about my new dress, the Easter bunny brunch, egg hunts, and Cadbury creme eggs. Easter was merely an annual *holiday* celebration of an historical event sort of like the 4th of July.
But then I discovered that Jesus is actually real, and Easter really did happen.
(Duh, right? All church people think Jesus is real.) But y’all…if our Christianity determines nothing beyond what we do on Sunday mornings, then we have missed Jesus by a long shot.
My *church life* was turned upside down when I started asking questions like this:
If I believe Jesus Christ was a real man who lived on this earth 2000 years ago, and if I believe Jesus is the Son of God and that he was crucified, and that he died and was buried…
and if I believe He ROSE FROM THE DEAD 3 days later…
then for crying out loud, how can this not have a dramatic, life-changing impact on my life?
The Apostle Paul said that the power that raised Christ from the dead lives right INSIDE OF US. Shouldn’t that somehow outweigh the *wow* factor I’m going for with my new easter shoes?
The first “church” was made up of eyewitnesses of Jesus — people who lived, walked, and talked with Jesus when he lived on this earth in human flesh.
THEY KNEW HIM.
They lived differently because they saw Jesus with their own eyes after his resurrection. They knew what the prophets had written about the promised Messiah, and they recognized that these prophecies were fulfilled in Jesus.
These first followers so utterly believed that Jesus had overcome the curse of sin once and for all – and had crushed the power of evil and death, that they risked persecution and death to make sure his message was carried out into the world. They had courage in the face of fear because THEY KNEW JESUS.
They certainly didn’t live as if life were just a dreadful waiting room for heaven. They lived as if the kingdom of heaven had opened up shop right here on earth- because it had!!
THEY LIVED LIKE THEY KNEW JESUS. (I’m not yelling at you. This is just my excited voice.)
I guess if you are personal friends with the One who, like, created mountains and brains and THE WHOLE EARTH, then worries and wealth and stuff just don’t seem like that big of a deal.
They hung out with this man who calmed the actual wind, walked on water, multiplied a handful of bread into mouths full of it, and who walked out of the tomb he was buried after 3 whole days of being…dead.
Of course their ordinary lives were dramatically affected. But what does that mean for us?
Jesus is as real and as present with us today as he was with his first followers.
The same power that marked their lives is IN us, and is available for everyday access, so that we can really live. His power in us overcomes fear and bitterness and destructive habits and empty relationships and insecurities and all those other ISSUES that choke the life out of us.
The difference between the New Testament believers and modern day church people is that the first century followers believed Jesus so comprehensively that they lived according to who Jesus was and what he said.
Do we believe Jesus is who he claimed to be? Do we believe we truly are who he said we are?
If the resurrection of Jesus Christ were not a real, historic event, we would have a reason to live boring, powerless lives where church is just a Sunday morning thing.
But because it really happened…our lives ought to be proof.
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