Elizabeth and I were driving the other day and we passed a church sign that read, “Easter, the Rest of the Christmas Story.” What I love about that message is it reminds us of the complete story of the saving mission of Jesus Christ. It’s a reminder that we should not only celebrate the great things that God has done for us two or three times out of the year, but all through the year. All throughout our lives! After all, Jesus’ entire life was given for our complete salvation.
The story of Jesus saving us is not just the time when he was born into the world and then around 33 years later, being resurrected from the tomb after dying on the cross. While we don’t know much about Jesus’ lifetime outside his ministry, we know that during the years before the crucifixion he was severely tempted by Satan. After the temptations in the desert, scripture reads that the devil left him until an opportune time. From this passage and others, it is believed that Jesus had to endure temptations at different times throughout his ministry, and those temptations had the whole of hell bent on Him. No doubt, the temptation Jesus felt was beyond anything we have had to endure. The moment praying in the Garden of Gethsemane, sweat pouring from him “like drops of blood” shows the agony he must have been in, knowing what was coming. And yet, He said, “not my will, Father, but yours.”
This doesn’t diminish our own struggle with temptation, but it does help us to know that Jesus, in saving us, gave us the ability to overcome sin. The fact that he went through temptation gives us comfort that Jesus understands what we are going through. He endured it, overcame, and rose to final victory for the whole human race!
So in celebrating Easter this year, when we declare, He Is Risen! (He Is Risen, indeed!) Let us rejoice in, not just the moment of resurrection, but in the completion of the whole story, from the virgin birth, to the miraculous healings, to the suffering of torture, crucifixion and death, to the rising from the grave and conquering the “so called” power of sin and death, and giving us new life.
Happy Easter, everyone!
Peace and blessings always!