Every year, at this time, pastors, Sunday school teachers, small group leaders, etc are preparing to share the Easter message. What a message it is! It is the single most monumental event in history. But I want you to see it from a different perspective.
The story culminates on Easter Sunday morning as we celebrate death’s defeat through the most powerful, life-giving moment of Christ’s resurrection. What a moment that had to be, as everything relating to death, destruction, decay, sickness and weakness, etc, literally shook with fear as a massive stone drew back its curtain and the heaven’s announced the greatest encore there’ll ever be. But that moment was never a possibility without the cross. There will be crosses hung, lit, elevated and celebrated all over the world over the next few days.
With the image of these crosses will be taught a murder story; graphic and gory in nature. Hateful, bitter and evil will be adjectives used to describe Roman officials and Jewish leaders; they’ll be slammed and slandered, put on trial, in the words of many believers across the world and held accused in the hearts of men and women for the cold-blooded killing of Jesus. There’s no doubt, that it’s the most brutal death anyone has ever suffered. But it didn’t happen the way that you think.
I want to point out 3 decision moments in scripture that bring focus to this Easter story. Without going into great detail concerning each, they are as follows:
- The Garden Decision ( Luke 22:42 “Father, if it is Your will take this cup away from Me; nevertheless not My will, but Yours be done”
- The Arrest Decision (John 18:4-8 “Jesus…went forward and said to them, ‘Whom are you seeking?’ …..’I am He’ ….’I am He’….’I have told you that I am He.'”
- The Death Decision (John 19:10-11 “Then Pilate said to Him….’Do you not know that I have power to take your life and power to release you?’ Jesus answered, ‘You could have no power at all against me unless it had been given you…”
These three critical moments give an understanding that at any time, Jesus had the power and the authority by decision, to abort what was about to transpire. He could have made a decision in the garden to bypass the will of God and not accept the task at hand. He could have made a decision, as Judas conspired against Him with a mountainside of soldiers, not to allow these men to arrest Him, yet He willfully gave Himself up. He could have made a decision to walk away from Pilate, who had no ability to stop Him, yet He stood His place and gave His life up. All because of you.
Be careful of the mental picture and the emotions you allow yourself to develop against those involved in this historical event. This was no murder, it was a sacrifice. It has been typed, many times, as a tragic crime story, when it fact, it’s a passionate, love story. Jesus was no victim to the plots of evil leaders, He was a radical, leading a love revolution, one that He chose.
For Jesus loved the world so much, that He gave Himself as a sacrifice, that whosoever would believe in Him, would not be overcome by death and destruction but have resurrection life, eternally. Be a part of the revolution this Easter!