What Easter Represents
By Maria Fontaine
Anything so unspeakably priceless as Jesus offering His life in payment for our sins required immense strength of spirit and depth of character and closeness to His Father in order to accomplish such a colossal mission—His ultimate goal.
Even then, in the midst of facing what He had to do for the salvation of humankind, Jesus requested that if it were possible that the Father would let the cup pass from Him. (Matthew 26:39) What was the cup? It was His great agony and the suffering that He would have to endure. We might picture His cup filled with the consequences of the sins of the world!—All that God’s justice had decreed was due for all the sins that had ever been committed—past, present, and future. As a paraphrasing of 2 Corinthians 5:21 says, “For God took the sinless Christ and poured into Him the cost of our sins. Then, in exchange, He poured the pure gift of God’s goodness into us.” He who was without sin bore the weight of punishment for the transgressions of the entire world, in order to free us from them.
Out of love for us, He who knew no sin suffered the price of sin for us and was made a curse for us, so that through His death He could destroy sin’s power over those who would come to Him. (2 Corinthians 5:21; Hebrews 2:14; Galatians 3:13; 1 Peter 2:24)
Our human intellects, no matter how brilliant, can never fully understand these deep spiritual truths. However, physical illustrations of these concepts, even though insufficient at their best and “seen through a glass darkly,” can at least help us to a partial, very limited understanding. Jesus taking our sins and evil into Himself could be symbolically likened to a terminal disease permeating the body and infiltrating the cells. His becoming sin for us was like His taking into Himself the resulting consequence of death.
The Bible says that Jesus poured out His soul unto death, and set us free through His blood. (Isaiah 53:12) The cup now symbolizes new life through His blood shed for us. (1 Corinthians 11:25) Sin, death, ungodliness, and all that is evil is swallowed up in victory. (1 Corinthians 15:54) All of the evil of mankind, and the full settlement for all sin for all time was made. And what does Jesus ask of us? The Scripture says, “I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.” (Galatians 2:20; Romans 5:8–11, 6:6–11)
He who was life and truth and the Word made flesh was destroyed in the flesh, but His spirit could not be destroyed. (Luke 23:46; 1 Peter 3:18) What was destroyed for all who turn to Jesus was the power of sin and death, the spirit of the world, and those spiritual forces bound to them. Their power was broken and conquered by Christ for any who would receive His sacrifice and gift of love. These forces of Satan no longer have any power or authority over His children beyond what Jesus allows for a purpose—to teach us and strengthen us, to cause our witness to shine even brighter, and to draw us closer to Him.
What Jesus did through His death and resurrection to bring us salvation is something so very mysterious and beyond our human comprehension that we won’t be able to fully understand it until we’re liberated from the realm of the flesh into the spirit—and maybe not even then. However, every time we reflect on what Jesus did for each one of us—and for all of us—it renews our sense of reverence and awe.
What, in practical terms, does such limitless love mean to us as Christians? What does it say to us? What is its significance? What does it mean to us personally?
Christian writers throughout the years have tried to explain the essence of Easter in various ways:
- A demonstration that life is essentially spiritual and timeless.
- The rare beauty of new life.
- News of a great victory, the assurance of a great triumph.
- A declaration that we are immortal children of God.
- The “out of the grave and into my heart” miracle.
- A fact of history, without which history does not make sense.
- The door of the holy sepulcher—the portal through which we enter the kingdom of God.
- The descent of God to the human level and the ascent of man to the divine level, becoming the sons of God.
- The thing that turns the church from a museum into a ministry.
- A second chance.
- The assurance that the truth does not perish; it cannot be destroyed.
- The crowning proof of Christianity.
- The right to live nobly now because we are to live forever.
- The knowledge that we are living in a world in which God has the last word.
Easter represents all that our salvation is. (John 11:25–26)—And that’s worth celebrating! Easter stands for everything that has been and forever will be possible in our resurrection-empowered lives. It represents:
- Freedom from condemnation of past mistakes and failures. (Romans 8:1)
- Liberation from fear of death. (Hebrews 2:14–15)
- The guarantee of hope for an eternal future in a home that Jesus has gone to prepare for us. (John 14:2–3)
- An alternative to the temporal, sin-laden, suffering-plagued existence of this world. (John 16:33)
- The opening of the door of heaven to us.
- The blind given sight. (1 Peter 2:9; John 9:25)
- Common men and women becoming kings and queens. (Revelation 5:9–10)
- The drowning man rescued.
- The brand snatched from the burning. (Zechariah 3:2)
- The power to preach good tidings, to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound; to give beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness. (Isaiah 61:1,3)
- The paralyzed becoming mobile. (Matthew 11:5)
- The earth coming to life in the spring.
- The knowledge that man can live forever. (1 John 2:17)
- A demonstration that anything wonderful can happen when all hope seems gone.
- Complete forgiveness. (Isaiah 1:18)
- Freedom from the law of death. (Romans 8:2)
- The truth let loose in the world. (John 1:17)
- The sting taken out of death (1 Corinthians 15:55)
- The guarantee that there are no illnesses nor pain in heaven. (Revelation 21:4)
- The promise of eternal life with our loved ones. (Acts 16:31)
- The assurance of a glorious future, no matter how bad the world gets.
- The power to conquer all impossibilities. (Luke 1:37)
- Divine healing power. (Mark 16:17–18)
- A way of life, not just a religion or a ritual. (John 10:10)
All of the above impossibilities became possible—all the potential of the universe was released—when Christ’s victory over death was won.
The resurrection and its results are worth repeatedly examining, since in this—one of the greatest moments of history—we continue to find Easter wonders.
Like the little girl said when her daddy asked her, “Do you know what Easter means, honey?” The three-year-old, throwing up her arms, shouted at the top of her voice, “Surprise!” Yes, indeed! Death was surprised! Sin was surprised! The grieving disciples were surprised! Modern man is surprised! Jesus is alive—and the whole world is filled with His resurrection miracles!
Copyright © 2017 The Family International.