The Elevation of Easter
Devotional from April 9, 2020 TI Prayer Call
by Remco Brommet
I found myself thinking this morning about this year’s Holy Week and Easter, and how profoundly different it is than anything we’ve known before. It marks the first time ever that Christian churches worldwide are empty, where they would normally be filled to overflowing with worshippers – the regulars, and the “CE” (Christmas & Easter) Christians.
I can’t help but think that God is allowing this because He is deeply unhappy with what we have made of Easter. In the hearts and traditions of many it takes a backseat to Christmas with its lights, presents and commercial onslaught. Not just that but for many, the reflections of Holy Week are all but non-existent and we’ve reduced the celebration to a quick church service, and then get togethers with chocolate eggs and Easter bunnies.
Really? Perhaps this Great Pause we’re in should put us in the mind to reflect. Does this really do Easter justice?
If anything it should be elevated above Christmas, and be the focal point of our annual Christian feasts – in our hearts, and on our calendars. And it should last a week, not a day, since every moment from Jesus’ triumphal entry until His resurrection is packed with meaning and life transforming lessons that we can’t afford to miss.
The main reason why our Easter celebrations should eclipse those at Christmas, is because of the centrality of the cross and resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ in our daily lives. Not only did His obedience to the cross purchase our atonement, forgiveness of sins, redemption, adoption as sons and daughters, free and confident access to the throne of grace and intimacy with our heavenly Father, our eternal inheritance and citizenship in heaven – as if that wasn’t enough! – it purchased our co-crucifixion and co-resurrection with Christ.
“What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin that grace may abound? By no means! How can we who died to sin still live in it? Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life.
For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we shall certainly be united with him in a resurrection like his. We know that our old self was crucified with him in order that the body of sin might be brought to nothing, so that we would no longer be enslaved to sin. For one who has died has been set free from sin. Now if we have died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him. We know that Christ, being raised from the dead, will never die again; death no longer has dominion over him. For the death he died he died to sin, once for all, but the life he lives he lives to God. So you also must consider yourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus.” Romans 6:1-11.
In other words: when repent and surrender our lives to Christ at our conversion, the Holy Spirit come to live in us and He unites us to the death and resurrection of Christ. In fact, Paul states that this is the spiritual significance of baptism. From that point forward, our sin-soaked flesh matters no more. It must be considered dead. Only the new life, the nature of Christ, and its formation in us, matters.
That alone should cause us to want to celebrate Easter more than Christmas. Throughout Holy Week, we have the opportunity to remind ourselves of the agony of Christ’s suffering and death – the price He paid out of selfless love to set us free from sin – its consequences and its bonds.
So tonight we want to pray into that together. Remarkably, the global restrictions on assemblies that are keeping Christians out of their churches are generating herculean efforts to celebrate Easter on-line. And perhaps this year, overall recognition of the true meaning of Easter is going to sky-rocket as millions of people are connecting online to celebrate. The extraordinary efforts to do so are indeed elevating Easter over Christmas. After all, you can celebrate Christ on-line with vigor and meaning, but a virtual Easter bunny just doesn’t cut it!
That forces us to rethink what we have done with Easter and strip it from any ungodly, pagan and worldly traditions we have brought into it. Just even remembering what it cost our Savior helps us realize that minimizing our remembrance is an affront to God.
Let us pray that the Lord helps us cleanse Easter from all unrighteousness and gives us a new vision of how He wants us to remember and celebrate Holy Week.
Let us pray for an extraordinary anointing on all the online services that are taking place, and for a great harvest of souls as people normally unfamiliar to the gospel see and understand the meaning of the death and resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ for them.
Audio of 4-9-2020 TI Prayer Call Devotional – Elevating Easter