“But He was pierced for our transgressions, He was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was on Him, and by His wounds we are healed.” -Isaiah 53:5 NIV (emphasis mine)
It’s Easter weekend and as I sit down to write this devotional, I am actually struggling to find the right words to convey what I think and what I feel in my heart of hearts when I think about what Easter really means. It’s not often that I find myself at a loss for words… 🙂
It’s SO easy to get caught up in the “fun” of Easter… pastel colors, pretty flowers, candy, chocolate bunnies, the Easter bunny, finding eggs, baskets, and the like. It’s easy to get caught up in all of that stuff and forget what Easter is actually about. I’m not saying I think the “fun” stuff of Easter is bad – it certainly isn’t, but I know I try to be conscious of focusing on the meaning, spirit, and reality of it all, rather than the commercialized stuff… if that makes any sense.
Growing up I was a “Chreaster” church attender. Meaning, I went to church on Christmas and Easter. You know, because you should. But even looking back, I know I never grasped what Easter meant. I mean, I know that I knew about Jesus being raised from the dead, but I don’t think I FULLY grasped what Easter meant.
Even up until a few years ago, I just had no idea the importance of what Easter means.
Without Easter, we aren’t saved.
Without Easter, we have no hope.
Without Easter, we have no joy.
Without Easter, we have no peace.
Without Easter, we suffer the consequences of our own actions. We feel the punishment.
Because of Easter, we are saved.
Because of Easter, we have hope.
Because of Easter, we have joy.
Because of Easter, we have peace.
Because of Easter, we don’t have to suffer the punishment that we so deserve.
Before I really became a Christian four years ago, I was a broken, broken person. I mean, I’m still pretty jacked up (we all are), but I was so so lost. I was depressed, I was unhappy, I was broke, I was lonely, and I made choices that I look back on and think, “Why? WHY did you do that?” I caved to so many of the pressures of this world. I was selfish. I hurt people I loved. None of it was really intentional, but I was just so lost I was going about my life as if there were no consequences.
When I finally “hit rock bottom” and realized I couldn’t do things “my way” anymore, I knew I needed saving. But even when I was at the bottom, I was looking to everything and everyone else to “save” me. I was looking to friends, family, money, my career, etc. to save me – but none of those things could save me. I was trapped in my own self-imposed prison. It wasn’t fun and it certainly wasn’t pretty.
And I can pretty much guarantee that all of us can look back on periods of our life where we just felt lost, alone, disheartened, and broken. We’ve all been there.
But like I’ve shared in my story before, when I started going to church and when I started actually LISTENING to God when He was speaking to me, that’s when it all changed. God had been speaking to me the whole time, I was just ignoring Him.
And then when I really started to grasp the REALITY of what Jesus did for us… all of us… what He did for ME… I really broke down. God, like the GOD OF THE UNIVERSE, who created this whole thing (all of it) in His image, who knew me in my mother’s womb, who knew me BEFORE I was in my mother’s womb, who set me apart, who LOVES me – THAT God sent His son… came down in flesh as a man… lived a PERFECT and SINLESS life… and then was judged, tried, condemned, crucified on a cross, died, and ROSE AGAIN… for ME. All so that I wouldn’t have to face the punishment that I deserve for the sins I’ve committed. He did all those things so I wouldn’t have to.
Yeah, it’s pretty gruesome when you think about the harsh reality of it, but it’s also the best news I’ve ever heard. It’s the most beautiful story. It’s the perfect love story. It just gives me the biggest feeling of peace. I owe everything, LITERALLY EVERYTHING to God, and I want to never take that for granted.
So, on Easter, I try to keep that feeling alive. I try to remember what it’s really about.
Because without Easter, I have nothing.