Monday, March 29, 2010

The Problem with Easter


Easter is the most important day of the year for Christians.
The Apostle Paul, writing to the Corinthians told them: If there is no resurrection of the dead, then not even Christ has been raised. And if Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is in vain and your faith is in vain. We are even found to be misrepresenting God, because we testified about God that he raised Christ, whom he did not raise, if it is true that the dead are not raised. For if the dead are not raised, not even Christ has been raised. And if Christ has not be raised, your faith is futile and you are still in your sins. (1 Corinthians 15:13-17)
Without Easter there is no Christianity, and there is no hope. So why is it that that I have such a hard time every year preparing the message for Easter Day?
1. The message is too amazing!
Don't get me wrong, I feel an incredible sense of responsibility whenever I have the honor of proclaiming God's Word, because who He is and what He has done on our behalf is amazing. However, the message that Jesus Christ, God Himself in human flesh would lay down His life for me and then take it up again rising from the dead to conquer death and hell and to provide for us new life now and the certain hope that though we may die so we will also be raised with Him. Honestly I cannot begin to wrap my mind around the enormity of this, and so as I prepare the message I find myself literally lost for words.
2. It has become too familiar.
I came to Christ at the age of 14 which means that I'm coming on for 20 Easter's walking with Him. More than that, I teach on average more than 100 times a year, and am passionately convinced about the need to hold Jesus Christ front and center every time. So I confess that despite the enormity and the splendor of the message my heart can become quickly dulled. But, thanks be to God for His revitalizing touch.
3. The burden is so strong.
I am so thankful that at The Orchard Church where I serve, barely a week goes by when we do not welcome first time guests to our services. Easter however is a time when we might very well welcome 70 or 80 first time guests (by the grace of God even more). With that in mind I feel a great burden every week which is only intensified at Easter to speak in a way that effectively communicates to people who do not know and have not heard the good news, as well as to equip those who have walked with Christ for many years. Oh that many would be saved and that all would be impacted. My words alone cannot accomplish either thing, but praise be to God that the very power that raised Christ Jesus from the dead is at work and He will accomplish His purposes this Easter Sunday, and every other day besides.
Do the struggles that I have with Easter trouble you too? Do you find yourself overwhelmed by the vastness of the resurrection? Are you facing the battle against familiarity? Are you burdened for people who sit all around you on a Sunday morning?
While I confess that I struggle with Easter because of these things, I have to tell you, I can't wait! God is on the move and I'm ready to see what He has in store!