As a nation, we celebrate Easter once every year. And at best, it’s an atheistic celebration. But as believers in Jesus Christ, we celebrate Easter every time we partake in communion. It’s our pleasure during Communion, and at Easter time, to proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light (1 Peter 2:9). While thinking about this, my thoughts have been drawn into the apostle Paul’s words in 1 Corinthians 11:23, the Lord Jesus in the night in which He was being betrayed took bread. There’s a great deal unfolding throughout these events leading up to Jesus’ crucifixion, as humanity abandons Christ the Messiah.
I’m sure most of the key players in the events of Easter thought they had it under control. Not realising the significance of what was playing out before them, they were all looking out for themselves, and dominated by self-interest.
- The disciples, well, a dispute arose among them, as to which of them was to be regarded as the greatest (Luke 22:24). So, they didn’t notice the intensity of the Passover Jesus was leading or the predictions Jesus was making of His death.
- The Pharisees only wanted to be rid of Jesus as He kept on publicly exposing their self-righteous scandals. Matthew 26:3-4 tells it plainly, the chief priests and the elders of the people gathered in the palace of the high priest, whose name was Caiaphas, 4 and plotted together in order to arrest Jesus by stealth and kill him.
- Small-minded Judas thought he was going to make an easy 30 pieces of silver with minimal fuss (Mat 26:15), all he had to do was deliver Jesus to the chief priests and Romans.
- Pilot was only interested in maintaining his political position over the Jews within the Roman government (Mk 15:15).
- The Roman soldiers suffered their usual irritation from dealing with anything Jewish, let alone another blood thirsty crucifixion. Meanwhile Herod with his soldiers treated him (Jesus) with contempt and mocked him (Luke 23:11).
- Murderous Barabbas must have been elated when Pilate, wishing to satisfy the crowd, released for them Barabbas (Mark 15:15) in a political exchange for Jesus’ life.
- The crowds, stirred on by the chief priests, shouted all the more, “Crucify him” (Mark 15:14).
- The 2 criminals crucified either side of Jesus, hurled insults at him: “Aren’t you the Messiah? Save yourself and us!” (Lk 23:33, 39). Initially, they only wanted rescuing from the death penalty. But then, one of them repented.
What a terrible mess humanity had made of this. But none of these selfish traits were true of Jesus! He was the ONLY ONE not consumed by self-preservation or self-advancement. Jesus’ primary interest was doing the will of His Father (Mat 26:42; Jn 6:38), which meant going to the Cross. Secondly, Jesus knew He was about to suffer on the Cross, once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, that he might bring us to God (1 Peter 3:18). Therefore, Jesus humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross (Philippians 2:8) becoming the propitiation for our sins (1 John 4:10). Consequently, we believers have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ (Romans 5:1). The victory of Jesus’ Cross is affirmed in that He has risen (Luke 24:6). Christ Jesus is the one who died – more than that, who was raised – who is at the right hand of God, who indeed is interceding for us (Romans 8:34).
In response to these Easter mercies of God, we present our bodies (lives) as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is our spiritual worship (Romans 12:1).