Easter deserves as much attention as Christmas as it is the culmination of the incarnation, well actually not quite, the Ascension is, another part of the story that deserves more attention. But I’m in danger of digressing! Back to Easter.
The problem is, it’s not about a little baby, and everyone loves a baby. Somehow Easter lacks the wow factor of the Christmas story, it doesn’t appear to be as exciting, after all, it’s not a birth, it’s a death, and a gruesome one at that, and that is something that is foreign to us, something the human mind is not wired for. Death is foreign to us, something we weren’t made for.
And yet this death, not another one, not some lesser Calvary, but this one only, would be the death of death, to quote the famous puritan John Owen. Somehow it would do something that the incarnation could not do on its own however loving, great and glorious that part of the story is.
Jesus didn’t just come to say, “God loves you,” and show us a better way, or to put it another way, if only you knew just how much God loves you could do it. Rather, he came in the Love of God to do what needed to be done, had to be done, to deal with our alienation, utter brokenness and fallenness, by taking on our flesh, being tempted in every way that we are, yet through the power of the Spirit, saying no to Satan and sin, and yes to the Father every day, and then ultimately to enter into that vast abyss of our lostness, by dying in our place, the just for the unjust, but not before he would utter that cry of dereliction, “My God, My God, why have you forsaken me?”
At the cross God demonstrated his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Not someone other than God, some lesser being, but God incarnate. God as man. God was in Christ reconciling the world to himself.
God didn’t wait for some sign of interest or love on our part or our improvement, it just wasn’t going to happen. He who knew no sin was made to be sin for us that we, yes we, you, me, might become the righteousness of God in him. That causes me to delight in God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit!