Easter is dinner by candlelight, reclining with friends at the table long after the meal is finished.
Easter is religious arguments. Political ones too.
Easter is sharing the bread and the wine.
Easter is cursing a fig tree.
Easter is boiling all the commandments down to two.
Easter is condemning the hypocritical religious leaders.
Easter is betrayal.
Easter is an unjust trial and an unjust execution.
Easter is a walk to the place called the skull.
Easter is darkness over the land, earthquakes, and graves bursting open.
Easter is an angel saying, “He is risen.”
I don’t think I ever fully appreciated Easter until I wrote an Easter devotional. Two years ago I spent a lot of time reading about the last week of Jesus’ life in the four gospels while writing Consider the Cross. I lived there for some time and I considered: Who WAS this Jesus in the pages? Why was he always surprising me? Why does he look so different than some of the Christians I see today?
Why does he look so different from ME?
What do the things he says mean for my life today? What does it mean that he rose from the dead? DID he rise from the dead?
What stands out to me most from the study I did in preparing Consider the Cross is the meals. They are so intimate. I love a leisurely dinner by candlelight. We see a few of these in the last week of Jesus’ life. One the night before he enters Jerusalem and the other the night he is betrayed. In both he reclines at the table with the disciples and his closest friends. It says that John even leaned back against him to ask a question.
THAT is the kind of relationship Jesus wants with us. Think about that for a moment: Jesus wants the kind of relationship where we could recline at the table and lean back against him to whisper a question in his ear.
Is that so far from how we hear of Jesus? Is that far from how you think of him?
I sort of think that I know him, most of the time. Then I think about that intimacy and it jolts me into realizing how little I really DO know him. Maybe I don’t even believe that some days. Or I don’t think about it too deeply because I’m busy. Busy with kids and my house and my writing and just all the things.
I hope that you can pause this Easter to CONSIDER. My book is 40 brief devotionals. Each shares a part of a passage (with parallel verses in the other gospels if you want to go deeper), a prayer, a reflection, and a few questions. It isn’t a Bible study in the sense that it teaches you or goes through explaining each passage. The point of the book is to put you in that moment and have you really think about Jesus.
Easter isn’t just about eggs. It’s not just about a bunny and fluffy, happy cartoon animals. It’s not about candy. (Though seriously, those Cadbury mini eggs are the best things in the world.) Easter isn’t just about that Jesus who might have hung on the wall in your Sunday school class, a very white-looking dude in a super clean robe.
If you want to consider Jesus this Easter (or really, any old time), I invite you to the table. Light a candle and turn the lights down. Think of Jesus, sitting at that table with you. Sharing the cup, the bread, the conversation.
This, my friends, is what we are invited to. THAT kind of intimacy. Easter makes it possible. Easter is the time when Jesus stood in the gap between us and God. He took away anything bad in us. He replaced it with his perfectness. He brought near a people who were far. He found the lost sheep, the lost sons.
He did this for YOU.