Jesus said to her, “Do not hold Me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father; but go to My brothers and tell them, ‘I am ascending to My Father and your Father, and to My God and your God.” John 20:17
Happy Saturday! Today, I’m mindful of how the people who loved Jesus must have felt after during the crucifixion and before the resurrection. One year our church had the Stations of the Cross service Monday through Thursday of Holy Week. Every day the readings were solemn and afterwards the minister simply exited the building. It was agonizing. On Thursday following the Stations of the Cross, we had a Maundy Thursday service with a foot washing and stripping of the altar. We still have this service. The foot washing is a very giving and caring experience. If you haven’t participated before, try it. The stripping of the altar is very solemn. I always feel like Christ has left the building. Of course, it’s all symbolic and allows us to better understand how things were. Thursday night until Sunday morning seemed like such a long time. My heart was very heavy. Then, on Sunday morning, it was a great celebration.
Over the years Easter has become commercialized. It is not about the bunny. Jesus was killed during the Passover celebration. The Passover was celebrated annually after God made it possible for the Israelites to flee Egypt. The families were instructed to sacrifice a lamb for each household, mark the doorposts with the blood, and eat the lamb. When God passed over Egypt to punish the wicked, the first-born animals and people were struck down, except the ones within a home with blood on the doorposts. The lamb freed the families of Egyptian bondage. Jesus was the Passover lamb for us. He freed us from the bondage of sin and death.
Imagine loving Jesus and watching the crucifixion. As a mother, I always think of Mary. It must have been difficult for anyone to watch, but especially a mother. Nicodemus loved Jesus also, bringing a hundred pounds of herbs to prepare Jesus’s body. Now, think about the day of the resurrection, Mary Magdalene thought someone had stolen Jesus’s body. John and Simon Peter raced to find the stone unrolled. John makes a point of telling how he arrived first, but Simon Peter entered the sepulchre first. John is also careful to explain that the burial linens that had been wrapped around Jesus’s head were folded and placed to the side. Their minds must have been racing trying to figure out what happened to this man they loved so much. Just when it seemed like all hope was gone, they recognized Jesus.
We are so blessed to know that Jesus is still with us. So, as you anticipate Easter, think of how important Easter really is and how important the resurrection is to Christianity. God bless you.