The final lesson in this issue of The Lookout falls on Easter Sunday. It’s a great way to wrap up the issue and a timely reminder of the importance of the resurrection.
When I think about Easter, I think about the many changes we associate with the season. Children change ordinary eggs into colorful works of art. Some church attenders change into their finest outfits to attend Easter services. The weather changes too. Not always as quickly as we might prefer, but the sun begins to shine stronger while temperatures begin to climb. If you live in a four-season area, the landscape around you changes as well. Cold, hard earth warms to make way for crocuses, tulips, and daffodils. Grey, desolate woodlands change into vibrant forests as new life emerges in trees and underbrush.
The first Easter brought change, too. Sealed in a cold, dark tomb, the still and lifeless form of Christ was suddenly changed into the vibrant, glorious body of our resurrected Lord. The women who came to the tomb sad, fearful, and fretting that Easter morning were changed into Jesus’ joyful ambassadors. Two despairing companions traveling on the road to Emmaus were changed into hope-filled eyewitnesses of the resurrection. Fearful disciples huddled in secret gatherings were changed into fearless heralds of the gospel who laid down their lives for the cause of Christ. Sin and death, powerful adversaries that struck fear into the hearts of men and women, were changed too—rendered powerless and ineffective by this victory.
Easter changes us, too. Peter wrote, “Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade. This inheritance is kept in heaven for you” (1 Peter 1:3, 4).
Easter alters our condition. When Jesus died on the cross for our sins and rose victorious over death, he made possible a change in the human condition. Although still undeserving, we were given access by grace to God’s mercy and forgiveness. “Once you were alienated from God and were enemies in your minds because ofyour evil behavior. But now he has reconciled you by Christ’s physical body through death to present you holy in his sight, without blemish and free from accusation” (Colossians 1:21, 22).
Easter alters our hope. “By his power God raised the Lord from the dead, and he will raise us also” (1 Corinthians 6:14). Whatever happens in this life, Christians know one day they will be raised to live forever in the presence of the Lord. As Paul put it, “Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal” (2 Corinthians 4:16-18).
Easter alters our outlook. The death and resurrection of Jesus Christ underscore the transformative power of God’s love. Only those who have received the grace and mercy lovingly made available through Jesus’ resurrection can love others as Christ has loved them. “Follow God’s example, therefore, as dearly loved children and walk in the way of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God” (Ephesians 5:1, 2). Knowing we’re loved by Christ makes all the difference in the world. That kind of knowledge changes us. It changes sorrow into joy, anxiety into peace, despair into hope.
If you belong to Christ, you’ve experienced the changes Easter brings. As Paul wrote long ago, my prayer for you this Easter season is this: “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit” (Romans 15:13).