The Last Supper. The prayer in the garden. The arrest and mock trial. The horrifying crucifixion. The days of deathly silence. And then, glory.
New life. Beauty from ashes. Hope. Resurrection.
We celebrate the resurrection of Jesus around this time every year. And it seems like an appropriate time to celebrate because for many of us, we are emerging from winter. In this case, a very long winter. But the words have returned. The grass is starting to turn. The earth itself seems to testify with this yearly cycle of newness that Jesus is alive. As surely as spring comes every year, He is alive.
It’s a moment for excitement. For celebration. For unbridled joy, because everything has changed, and this is our yearly reminder of that truth. And if it’s a moment of excitement and celebration for us, surely that pales in comparison to what it was for the first followers of Jesus. For those who had had their worlds turned upside down less than a week before. For those that had truly abandoned hope in what they believed, or thought they believed. For those who had run and scattered when there was trouble.
Despite all their lingering questions, and even their lingering doubts, surely their hearts were beating faster in their chests. Surely those same hearts were starting to burn within them, even if it was a smolder. And you see that kind of excitement working itself out in them. They ran. They shared. They talked and questioned each other. It was a frenetic kind of pace the first resurrection morning. And yet we see a different kind of pace from other characters in the Easter story:
There was a violent earthquake, because an angel of the Lord descended from heaven and approached the tomb. He rolled back the stone and was sitting on it (Matt. 28:2).
When they entered the tomb, they saw a young man dressed in a white robe sitting on the right side; they were alarmed (Mark 16:5).
She saw two angels in white sitting where Jesus’s body had been lying, one at the head and the other at the feet (John 20:12).
Boy, I love that. I love that while everyone else is running around these heavenly messengers are calm. While everyone else is jumping and pacing, these angels are sitting. While everyone else is in a panic, be it from joy or fear or doubt, the ones who know the truth most solidly are calm. And this is the Easter pace of life.
That’s not to say there aren’t moments in our lives of jubilance. Of untamed excitement. Of bursting hope. There are, and there should be. But beneath it all is the calm that comes from knowing the truth, that Jesus is alive.
Oh, what a time for Christians everywhere to embrace the calmness of knowing that Jesus is alive. These days seem increasingly to be days of desperation for many Christians. We feel our options are limited. And with circumstances closing in, we get that sense of desperation inside of us, and we feel like we absolutely, positively, must act in a certain way, not because it’s the right thing or the moral thing or the thing that’s consistent with the gospel, but because it’s the only thing we can do.
But it is certainly not. Not if eternity matters. Not if eternity is real. Not if Jesus is alive.
Because He is, the Christian has the ability to sit down. To breathe. To know that not one single iota of existence is the same because of the resurrection. We can live in this Easter pace because He lives.