Easter is my absolute favorite holiday! Don’t get me wrong, I love Christmas—Christ coming as a baby is one of the most magnificent and indescribable events that has ever occurred, but that wasn’t what ultimately saved us! And that’s why I love Easter so much. Jesus had to not only come for, but also die for us as well. It’s what brings the story to completion and it’s what celebrates the magnitude of what He did through His life, His death on the cross and His resurrection! He was a King unlike any other, who came not to be served, but to serve; a King that left His Throne to rescue, save and die for us!
I desperately need my Savior! My flaws are big and my failings are awful, yet He came for me, a sinner, and took my brokenness and nailed it all to the cross. Just thinking about how He freely sacrificed Himself on my behalf could make me drop to my knees and weep. How could someone trade a perfect life for one like mine?! One of my favorite authors, Paul David Tripp sums it up perfectly: “That’s how wicked I am that He went to cross for me and that’s how loved I am that He went to the cross for me! Jesus came here and went readily unloved so that I would know constant love. He deserved to be loved, but was rejected, so that I, who deserved to be rejected, would be eternally loved!” Our God has bestowed on us a crown of beauty instead of ashes, traded our pain for a spirit of rejoicing, forgiven us, freed us, and given us eternal life when we deserved death!
I’m about to be really transparent with you. Even as a life-long Christian, I’ve remorsefully walked around for most of it not looking or acting any different than the rest of the world. I lived how I wanted—looking for fullness of life elsewhere, but in turn was handed a counterfeit—lacking and always needing more. So grasping the concept of Ephesians 3:18—“…how wide and long and high and deep His love is for me”—was difficult for someone like me—the deeply broken, wounded and undeserving. My hurting and aching heart, searching for love and significance everywhere but the cross, was blocking an understanding of how this kind of love could even be possible.
Luke 19:10 “For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.”
Romans 5:8 “While we were STILL sinners, Christ died for us.”
Through these battles and struggles the Lord has taught me, YES, He came to save us, but also so, so much more—He also came to redeem, restore and fix our broken hearts! He came to make them whole and to replace what was damaged with something that is full, intact, abundant and complete. In His perfect, unwavering and unshakable love for us, we have great hope—hope from His sacrifice and atoning death on the cross. Thankfully, this is a hope outside of us! Through the Resurrection, He has overcome the grave and we no longer have to earn His favor. It is by grace that we have been saved and have been granted eternal life! He has given us a free place for help, refuge, healing, contentment, unconditional love, hope and forgiveness. Walking through these very painful seasons lends to knowing and experiencing first hand undeserved mercy and true forgiveness, and feeling the magnitude of life-changing grace, truly transforming my heart to its very core.
Isaiah 53:5 “By HIS wounds we are healed!”
Isaiah 43:1 “Fear not, for I have redeemed you, I have called you by name, you are mine!”
Colossians 2:13-15 “And you, who were dead in your trespasses, God made alive together with Him, having forgiven us all our trespasses, by canceling the record of debt that stood against us with its legal demands. This He set aside, nailing it to the cross. He disarmed the rulers and authorities and put them to open shame, by triumphing over them.”
No matter what you’ve done and no matter who you are—hear this: Christ came and died for you! He sees the depths of your heart and loves you all the same. He has given us new life! Oh praise the One who paid my debt and raised this life up from the dead!
1 Peter 1:3 - “In His great mercy He has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.”
Ephesians 1:7 “In Him we have redemption through His blood!”
Ellis and I pray for our children to know what we have learned the hard way without having to walk down the same paths. We pray they might be spared the pain we have had to endure in order to learn what we know now on the other side. We pray they have soft hearts, so that they, too, will experience the unfailing love of the Lord.
We talk to the kiddos about Jesus and try to introduce new fun and creative ways to talk to them about the truths of the Bible. Since I love Easter so much, we have a number of traditions around our house—the Easter Bunny and egg hunts and candy are still very much our norm, but we desire for our little ones to know what Easter is truly about. That’s where the Resurrection Eggs come in. There are 12 eggs filled with little “props” that help tell the entire Easter story—from Palm Sunday to the empty tomb! It’s a great interactive and physical way to wrap their precious little minds around the heavy story that surrounds Easter.
This year, we got to loop our (almost) two-year old, Graham, into the tradition mix for the first time! We want to be faithful stewards to pass these truths onto the next generation we have been entrusted with! We want to show them that neither mom nor dad are perfect, but perfection isn’t the way or the goal! We want to encourage them to bring their mess to our Heavenly Father for fixing and forgiving. We want to teach grace, not perfection, and that that they are not alone. We want them to see grace lived out and understand it by grace and grace alone that we have been saved!
Psalm 103:12 “His grace abounds and as far as the east is from the west, so far has He removed my sins from me!”
Psalm 89:1 "I will sing of your great love forever! I will proclaim your faithfulness from one generation to the next."
Ephesians 2:8-9 “For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.”
As I’ve been reading through the Easter story with the kids, I have loved the reminder that God’s hand was involved in every single detail of the entire story. When the crowd chose Barabbas, a convicted murderer, to be freed instead of Jesus, God’s plan was unfolding even though it seemed like darkness was taking victory that day. His hand was in all of it and He is sovereign even when we don’t understand. What was meant for evil, God meant for good. God’s greater purpose of Jesus going to the cross on our behalf were being accomplished even through the sin of those who chose to free Barabbas and even through the betrayal of Jesus by Judas Iscariot. God is so much bigger than whatever situation you are in. Be encouraged!
Today (Good Friday) almost 2000 years ago, He died on the cross for us, and on Sunday, He will RISE again! So this weekend, let’s celebrate His perfect love that could not be overcome. Give thanks for the work He did for us in the grave! He took our place, pardoned us, and gave us life when we deserved death.
John 13:63 “He has OVERCOME the world!”
John 11:25 “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies.”
Matthew 28:6 “He is not here, He is RISEN. Just as He said!”
Happy Easter and stay tuned for Part 2 next week!