That moment is soon upon us, which in my estimation should be the greatest point of reference in all of the Christian faith, the resurrection.
I think the resurrection is the greatest creative act in the history of the universe, mainly because in it God pre-empts the original creation as we know it, and trumps it with a new creation, a new kind of life that comes out of the tomb.
The resurrection of Jesus was not simply a re-animation of his earthly life, it wasn’t the same kind of miracle that he performed during his ministry days, else Lazurus would have been a greater event because he was dead longer, no his resurrection was the power of heaven coming and raising up a new kind of life that had never before existed, (not even in Adam before the fall).
The Bible says he was raised for our justification…in other words when Jesus came out of the tomb it was heavens signature on the court documents (his body) that declare a new creation is available for anyone who calls upon His name in faith, this body now resides in the Highest Court of the Universe as a living document and continually intercedes for us because Jesus blood testifies of greater things than Abel’s (Abel’s blood demanded justice, Jesus blood was offered freely in covenant love).
When you read the early church testimony their preaching and documents you will find that the focus of the early church was upon the resurrection as both a physical and a political/religious act, it was as if they were saying to the most powerful empire on the planet, “Empire is over, you want proof, then here ya go, Jesus was raised from the dead by God himself”
We tend to focus on the cross…and unfortunately it makes us sin aware and insecure in our stance towards anything empire, and consequently we never see the resurrection as a political statement, and often because we have focused on the cross we have emphasized an elite and power- based punitive event rather than the covenant victory and corporate event as the early church saw it, but they also endorsed the resurrection as a new kind of power that had come into the world, therefore they were completely fearless when their lives were threatened by empire, they knew the resurrection demonstrated the end of the old powers.
This lopsided emphasis is in my opinion one of the largest frustrations to growth I have encountered in the life of believers…if you ever truly get a hold on the truth that a new kind of life dwells inside you, and that life has the power to raise the deadest things from the grave, it will destroy fear and passivity and remove the conscious power of sin to intimidate you, God is NOT focused on sin, He is finished with it, he is focused on life and that life is the resurrection element that the Holy Spirit has brought into you…why do you think we have verses like “If the same Spirit that raised Christ from the dead dwell in you, He will quicken (give new life) to your mortal bodies”?
Enter the Easter bunny…
To be fair I have hidden eggs and bought the chocolate bunnies for all five of my kids and now watch in mild amusement as my grandkids pick up the traditions handed down by fathers.
But I do want ask the question, what’s the bunny got to do with the most important event in the history of life?
I know many would place the cross and the removal of sin as the highest event, but the Bible does not, Paul says that if Christ be not raised we are of all men most miserable, in other words the resurrection is the final seal on the removal of sin, the resurrection is the Father proclaiming in technicolor life that we have been accepted in the beloved and now are part of the family with no stain of sin, the cross is the covenant that Jesus offers the Father that includes us, the empty grave is the evidence that the covenant has been accepted forever in heaven (and that’s the primary reason Jesus ascended and sits there as the mediator of the new covenant, otherwise he would have stayed down here).
These are not simple celebrations in my opinion, it isn’t simply that Jesus is Victor, it’s not simply that he wins, it is a declaration that we have been accepted into the covenant, he is the first of many, many sons…no one came into this life prior to this moment.
As I visit a gospel of grace and acceptance I really cannot find room to condemn the Easter traditions we follow, I am not willing to embrace the law and stand in some kind of judgment over the circus of pagan influences that Constantine sold us and we have faithfully paid for for over a thousand years, it is painfully clear when you research the history of these traditions that they are indeed rooted in pagan fertility religions and have no real connection to the Hebrew model that Jesus invaded…but the gospel message is not one of condemnation, so I am hesitant to visit that metric simply to appear more holy or improve my standing with God, the kingdom does not come with observation, and certainly not by observing rules and days, the covenant is new or it does not exist, it is not the old one on steroids.
So where does that leave me? Well I think the Easter bunny falls into the same category as the unleavened bread and bitter herbs used in Passover, I am firmly declaring that the Old Covenant has been superseded by a newer and better one, and the Priesthood has changed, therefore I am not at all interested in seeing a revived Levitical Priesthood and sacrifices and all the do’s and dont’s that go with it, so I am not in the business of cursing or condemning anything by anyone.
Let make it painfully clear, the resurrection declares a new kind of life where rules, rituals, religion and all the old ways be they pagan or otherwise have been trumped, so any investment in enforcement, laws, observances, traditions, days or even gender assignments is a distraction.
The resurrection declares a new KIND of life…a life not subject to any of the old powers, especially the religious ones.
That might bother some of my more intense friends, but I have honestly thought it through and waded deeply into the texts and while I am in complete agreement that we have neglected the primary Hebrew model that God declared Holy, I am also fully convinced that God is going way beyond establishing some kind of ritual experience based on a set of rules, I am fully convinced that what the resurrection offers us is a new kind of life where religion has been left behind like some Tim Lahaye novel, that the new covenant is written on hearts and not visible paper and it is a kind of life that cannot be fathomed in tradition and anything past experience has offered.
When I read the book of Acts and then read about people like Smith Wigglesworth and John Lake it becomes apparent to me that we have barely begun to scratch the surface of this new life potential…and the Easter bunny, whatever else you make of him, is at best an illusion and at worst a distraction…he deserves no more attention than a fly does on a charging wildabeast.
So frankly I don’t care how you celebrate Easter…because mainly celebrating it at all is a bit under-whelming…it’s like celebrating day six of creation with a special service on Sunday…because that’s the day God made mankind…
Celebrate it if you want, or don’t if you want what’s important is that you begin to live it, because the point of the resurrection is not celebration it is life and living it fully connected to the source.
If you do celebrate…at least do this much…see yourself coming out of that empty tomb, because it was just as much about you as it was about Him, you were in Christ during the entire event, and now you are with Him in heavenly places, don’t let some pagan ritual or some Christian tradition dislodge you
Here’s the reason I think most of this is distraction…because frankly even our “Christian” traditions on Easter are a bit under-whelming…so really if you’re going to be lame what difference does it make in which lame you are…and let me drive the point home for everyone…
This new kind of life that the Father has birthed through the resurrection is different from all the old kinds we are so used to…it is a life that has love as its source, we have been given the Fathers heart of love and that is what the resurrection so boldly declares…this new life is love…
So yeah the Easter bunny is an illusion, but so is a message that does not let you experience that love has been shed abroad in your heart…you are a new creation…and as such you now have the capacity to love in a way that is no longer intimidated by death or a slave to fear and religion…any Easter message that does not drive that truth into your heart has missed the point.
The resurrection boldly declares that you can now love just as the Father loved, just as the Son loved, and this love has been shed abroad in your heart by the same Holy Spirit that raised Jesus from the dead….if you doubt this is possible, consider the early disciples and how they overcame the entire Roman Empire with simple love…
Jesus and the Easter bunny…love or something else…that’s the entire message of the resurrection…love conquers death