Why We Celebrate

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I remember one Easter growing up very specifically. We sat down to eat dinner together as a family, and it was a meal that none of us kids particularly liked. As we ate, my parents left for the Easter service at church, leaving us alone at home. We were old enough to fend for ourselves, but not old enough to make wise decisions yet. Since it was a dinner we didn’t like, we conspired to throw out and hide our food so we wouldn’t have to eat it.

Needless to say, we were found out—and worse than throwing out our food, we tried to lie and cover it up. We suggested that we had in fact finished eating, and only thrown out the tiny bit of leftovers.

I often reflect on this moment in my life. It was a time I truly deserved punishment from my parents, and while we did receive a scolding, it was nothing compared to what we deserved.

With the Easter season upon us, many families get together for gatherings that may include a meal, maybe an Easter egg hunt, and of course, chocolate. For some, Good Friday and Easter are simply a holiday and a day off work.

But Easter brings with it mixed emotions. We celebrate Good Friday and call it “good” when it’s actually one of the darkest days in history. On Good Friday, over two thousand years ago, Jesus Christ was brutally executed. He was arrested even though he hadn’t committed any crimes. He was assaulted, beaten, spit on, and made to carry a heavy cross. Jesus was ultimately hanged on that cross, with large spikes driven through his hands and feet to keep him there until he died.

There doesn’t seem to be anything “good” about this. If that were the end of the story, there wouldn’t be too much to celebrate, especially for us, two thousand years later.

But that isn’t the end of the story. Jesus endured the pain and suffering for a purpose. Jesus knew that enduring these things would lead to a way of salvation. He knew that enduring it all would lead to a restoration of the relationship he desired to have with people. Romans 3:23 tells us that “everyone has sinned; we all fall short of God’s glorious standard” (NLT), and Romans 6:23 tells us that “the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord” (NLT). 

We celebrate Easter because three days later, on Easter Sunday, Jesus was raised from the dead, defeating sin, death, and the grave. We celebrate his resurrection and the hope of salvation that comes from his sacrifice for us. 

Like that Easter growing up and the punishment I deserved from my parents, Jesus took the punishment I deserve, that we all deserve. He took it upon himself and bore that agony so I could have a relationship with God. May we all recognize our need for Jesus as Saviour and accept him today.

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