As we sat in bed with our kids last night after having our Bible story time together, Kaia turned to me and asked, “Is Easter the best holiday?” I asked her why she thought that, and her response was quite logical, “Because Jesus died on the cross for us, but he’s alive so we can go to heaven!”
About every other year on Good Friday I like to sit down and watch the movie, the Passion of the Christ. Every year seems a little too much— a bit too often, somehow. So, last night we watched it together, just Suzy and I.
When you step back and look at it, Easter is a bit of an emotional rollercoaster. Palm Sunday we’re riding high, the last supper is incredibly meaningful but heavy, the garden of Gethsemane takes things to an even deeper level, and then the road to the cross is a dark and emotional one. Our Savior dies. And then, just days later, he’s alive. He is risen! And we celebrate.
It’s an emotional investment to remember, reflect, and emotionally engage with all that took place so long ago. It’s much, much easier to simply go to church on Easter Sunday to hear the ‘happy’ sermon and go about your day with the Easter bunny and egg hunt rituals that follow in tow. The thing is, I think the emotional journey is a good one. Not easy— but good.
Suzy commented multiple times throughout the movie that it’s just too gory. I agree that it’s gory. But, I also think it very well could have been that bad. It may not have been quite as intense as Mel Gibson painted it— but it could have. And if anything, it led me to reflect on the pain that He chose, the pain He didn’t escape, the pain that my sin and your sin weighed on Him. He suffered to free us from our wrongdoings. He suffered so we wouldn’t have to.
I’m active on several different social media platforms. Today I enjoyed seeing several friends post statuses and photos with words or Bible verses reflecting on this day. One that was posted by a few people said, “It’s Friday. But Sunday is coming.” How simple. It acknowledges Good Friday— not simply glossing over it— but it points us to what happens on Sunday. Because if Sunday doesn’t happen, Christianity simply wouldn’t be what it is.
Romans 12:15 says, “Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn.” I suppose that’s the attitude that I hope to take on and embody. I want to mourn. I want to feel the weight of what Jesus suffered— for me. I want to cry. But, I don’t want to stay there. Jesus is not in the tomb. He did not remain dead. His brilliant light shines brightly and He is alive! He is alive in you, and He is alive in me. I not only want to believe that; I want to embrace it, celebrate it, and radiate that brilliance. I will celebrate!
So, on this day before Resurrection Day, I invite you to take the emotional plunge with me. If only for one day— engage with the Word and mentally, emotionally, spiritually walk through what your Savior did for you. And don’t jump into ‘part b’ where the stone is rolled away, just yet. We have an Easter book for kids called The Week that Led to Easter, and Kaia mentioned to me twice throughout the day today, “Daddy, we forgot to read the last two pages of this book!” We didn’t. We intentionally left them for tomorrow. Close the book. Let the discord and sadness settle in a little. Feel the weight of it.
And tomorrow, leave your tears, your worries, your burdens behind. Because Jesus has conquered the grave. And we celebrate that fact! He is risen. He is alive. He created a way for us to be forgiven and to live with Him eternally. Praise God!