As Easter approaches commercial displays of colorful Easter baskets, chocolate rabbits and candy eggs bring to mind fun memories of past Easter celebrations. The original reason for celebrating Easter has lost its billings. This note presents seven NIV bible verses that focus on the original reason to celebrate Easter: God fulfilled his promise to restore humanity to its original glory.
After the fall from communion with God, God promised to restore humanity to its former state. Of the many possible comebacks sagas, God chose one that highlights women in a leading role. He said to the serpent:
And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and hers; he will crush your head, and you will strike his heel.” Genesis 3:15
The plot begins to unfold:
In the sixth month of Elizabeth’s pregnancy, God sent the angel Gabriel to Nazareth, a town in Galilee, to a virgin pledged to be married to a man named Joseph, a descendant of David. The virgin’s name was Mary. The angel went to her and said, “Greetings, you who are highly favored! The Lord is with you.”
Mary was greatly troubled at his words and wondered what kind of greeting this might be. But the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary; you have found favor with God. You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you are to call him Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over Jacob’s descendants forever; his kingdom will never end.”
“How will this be,” Mary asked the angel, “since I am a virgin?”
The angel answered, “The Holy Spirit will come on you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the holy one to be born will be called the Son of God. Luke 1:26 – 35
Jesus, Son of God – seed of a woman – entered the final stage of the restoration praying to return to His glorified status.
I have brought you glory on earth by finishing the work you gave me to do. And now, Father, glorify me in your presence with the glory I had with you before the world began. John 17:4,5
In the final moments of Jesus’ earthly life, a new relationship between God and the human race began. Since the temple was built, the symbolic barrier that separated God and the human race was the temple curtains. When they were torn in two and Jesus died, the human race gained unrestricted assess to the divine. And an authority confesses Jesus’ righteousness.
It was now about noon, and darkness came over the whole land until three in the afternoon, for the sun stopped shining. And the curtain of the temple was torn in two. Jesus called out with a loud voice, “Father, into your hands I commit my spirit.” When he had said this, he breathed his last. The centurion, seeing what had happened, praised God and said, “Surely this was a righteous man.” Luke 23:44-47
On the Sunday following the death of Jesus Mary Magdalene and the other Mary, visited Jesus’ burial site. The angel sitting at the burial site proclaimed the reasons we celebrate Easter:
He is not here; he has risen, just as he said. Come and see the place where he lay. Then go quickly and tell his disciples: ‘He has risen from the dead and is going ahead of you into Galilee. There you will see him.’ Now I have told you.” So the women hurried away from the tomb, afraid yet filled with joy, and ran to tell his disciples. Matthew 28:6-8
The angel commanded the women to tell the disciples to meet Jesus in Galilee. They expressed abundant joy at the angel’s news and obeyed. Thus God continued to highlight women in the restoration saga.
For me, Easter means:
God fulfilled his promise to restore the human race from the fallen state. Jesus returned to the glorified state at the right hand of God, from which He intercedes for believers. God so valued the human race that He made His Son a sin offering to reconnect with us. The faithful love of God is open to all through the acceptance of Jesus as God. In restoring man to communion with Him, God did not apportion grace by sexual origin, physical abilities or cognitive abilities. Believers should always express joy for communion with God.
What, then, shall we say in response to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all-how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things? Who will bring any charge against those whom God has chosen? It is God who justifies. Who then is the one who condemns? No one. Christ Jesus who died-more than that, who was raised to life-is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? As it is written:
“For your sake we face death all day long;
we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered.”
No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 8:31 – 39
Believers, Easter is not a day to be dictated by the commercial sphere to wear fine clothes; to eat delicious meals; or to engage in activities for fun. Certainly Easter should be enjoyed. But Easter is a day to celebrate that God chose you for a spiritual rebirth to a special people; a people to be moulded in the image of His Son. Easter is God’s guarantee that He will hold His special people in a loving embrace and He will not break it; nor will He allow anything to come between Him and His believers. As in the first fall, a believer can choose to separate from Him, but He will not separate His love from any believer.
The promise is fulfilled! Rejoice we are restored!