The heat was the same as always. But the mood was different. The people of this community were also the same, but the countenance of all of them had changed. For thousands of people, that day was an ordinary day like so many others. But not for Marta nor for Maria, that day fate had slammed the door and along with it came hopelessness and sadness.
Lazarus, their brother, who for a few days was between life and death, had died (John 11:17-36). He who was a friend of Jesus. He whom Jesus loved. They who had hosted Jesus in their home. When they needed it most, Jesus, it seemed, was not there.
Can you imagine the grief and mixed feelings those sisters felt? They had sent for Jesus but when He arrived, Lazarus had already been buried. How can He allow this tragedy to happen?
In fact, you may well ask yourself this question: How did Jesus allow _________ to happen? (You can fill in the blank with your own story). All of us, at some point, have found ourselves in moments of despair and have felt that God has abandoned us. Especially in recent years, with the pandemic, how many dreams and projects, not to say people, that we carried in our hearts and that, like Lázaro, ceased to exist?
This is precisely why, more than ever, it is important to celebrate Easter. But I’m not talking about chocolate eggs (which undoubtedly bring their share of joy to those who eat them). I’m talking about the true meaning of Easter.
Are you wondering how a holiday or festival that originated with the Jewish people thousands of years ago can impact your life today? Let us take a look at what the Bible says.
Like Martha and Mary, the Jewish people were also going through a difficult time. They had been slaves to the Egyptians for over 400 years. Passover, as much as they didn’t know it at the time, would mark their liberation. That would be the people’s last night of slavery.
From the moment they had sacrificed a lamb and painted their doors with its blood onwards, they were a free people because God had powerfully intervened in their history. Those people who had been slaves were on their journey toward living in the promised land, they who were dominated would now conquer and those who had felt forgotten were now chosen.
God is with us
Easter is a reminder that even in the midst of pain, God is with us. And that was also true of Martha and Mary that day. As much as, for a moment, they didn’t feel that way, the truth is that Jesus was on the way, their miracle and that of Lazarus, hope, life and laughter were on the way too. Jesus appeared on the scene and commanded Lazarus to come out of the tomb. Lazarus was raised to life by Jesus through His supernatural heavenly power.
Where Jesus is there is hope. Where the name of Jesus is invoked, the supernatural can happen. Regardless of the situation you are facing right now, Easter reminds us that Jesus was resurrected and won victory over every sadness, over every tear and every circumstance. Out of love, He took all these things upon Himself. For love of me and for love of you, He surrendered and conquered death, allowing us to live a life of joy and victory.
The true meaning of Easter is to remind us that “God proves his own love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” (Romans 5.8). Never forget that Jesus gave his life and died for you solely and exclusively for love and His love has already been proven and consummated on the cross. He loved you that day, He loves you today and He will love you and be with you until the end of days.
The Love of God
Finally, it is worth remembering that before Jesus resurrected Lazarus, He wept (John 11:35). Even knowing the outcome of the story, Jesus cries. Even knowing your victory tomorrow, Jesus cries for your pain today. Jesus is a God who is both almighty and sensitive to our afflictions.
We must also remember this at Easter. It is very true that He is risen and that is why we are free. But to resurrect, He needed to die, He needed to suffer and He needed to have his blood shed. He faced anguish in the garden of Gethsemane (Luke 22:44) and therefore understands and feels our pain.
At Easter we celebrate Jesus’ victory, but we also remember his humanity. Jesus weeps with you, feels your anguish and understands your afflictions. He invites us to trust Him and remember that on the third day He was resurrected and was victorious. That victory applies to us too. Martha and Mary mourned Lazarus’ death for 3 days, but on the fourth day, Jesus did the unimaginable.
Jesus himself was dead, but on the third day everything changed. The same principle applies in His life. You may cry for a season, but always remember, where Jesus is, there is hope. Jesus can change circumstances, He can answer your prayers and He can open doors.
All this because He is risen.
The meaning of Easter
If I could summarize the true meaning of Easter, I would highlight three things:
1. Easter reminds us that on the third day Jesus was resurrected overcoming death, so that where the spirit of God is, there is hope (Reflect on Romans 5:3-5)
2.Easter reminds us of the humanity of Jesus, that He is not a distant god somewhere in heaven, but He is Immanuel, God with us (Read Philippians 2:2-8).
3. Easter means that out of love God gave his Son to die for us (Read John 3:16 and let this truth enter your heart)
True Easter should reflect these 3 values. Even in the midst of adverse circumstances, you can open your heart and let hope and joy blossom in it because He lives! (Click on the link listen to this song as the Spirit of God ministers these truths to your heart).
By Sandro Gonzales