I love Easter. I love getting to celebrate my birthday (I was born on Easter Sunday). I love celebrating my baptism (I was also baptised on Easter Sunday!). I love Easter egg chocolate, something about it makes it taste so much nicer than normal chocolate, also mini-eggs. I love switching off and playing board games. But most importantly I love remembering Jesus’ sacrifice, remembering that He suffered on the cross for me, so that He could show his extravagant love for us and we are now able to experience a relationship and a future with God for eternity. But ‘Easter’ doesn’t stop after the weekend. God has a whole lot more for us and its our turn to declare the truth of God's Victory on the cross…
I recently was doing the bible in a year study and was in Exodus, looking at the detailed planning and building of the tabernacle. It was kind of tiresome reading all the dimensions and colours and exact instructions of who was able to meet with God when and how. However, I was really struck by the gratitude I felt towards Jesus reading this. I only fully understood this privilege, of now being able to have a personal relationship with God exactly where I am, through reading the measures they had to go through to be able to meet with God in the same way we can now – ‘But now Jesus, our high priest, has been given a ministry that is far superior to the old priesthood, for he is the one who mediates for us a far better covenant with God, based on better promises’ - Hebrews 8:6.
I had a similar experience when I went to Israel and met with God at the wailing wall. I was overcome with how close I felt to God and overwhelmed by his presence, it was a thin place between heaven and earth. Yet, I went away feeling even more joy, that I knew I am able to know that same presence of God in my home church, at a McDonalds table or in my bedroom, all because Jesus took the old ways on his shoulders, to His death, to make this new covenant of a personal relationship with me and with you – ‘I will be their God, and they will be my people’ - Hebrews 8:10.
Woah. We no longer have to make the sufficient burnt sacrifices or go through years of teaching and religious training to be able to experience God’s presence. Jesus ensured that there was a new way, he gave himself and told us to now follow his example and do the same – ‘If any of you wants to be my follower, you must give up your own way, take up your cross, and follow me’ - Matthew 16:24.
Easter weekend has now been and gone, we are back to ‘normal’ life. Yet, we don’t have to live in isolation from God anymore, Easter isn’t the only time of year we are allowed to celebrate and remember that Jesus did this, just for you and for me. It’s day four, which means it’s time to choose to daily remember and accept that God did all of this just for you. To take up our cross and go into the world. To share who He is and what He did. To know that because of Jesus, we can meet with God wherever and whenever.
Thank you, Jesus!