Happy Easter Day!
In the search for the profound, we stumble upon revelation in the simplest of notions. Today, there are worldwide celebrations of Easter, Passover and Ramadan. Throughout, these celebrations are characterized by rejoicing and remembrance. While the rejoicing is much needed, the remembrance is the most important.
I heard a Rabbi speak about remembering an important fact during the celebration of Passover. Simply stated, he shared that slavery and oppression are not a God thing but rather a Man thing. That the deliverance afforded during Passover signifies the freedom to respond to oppression by sharing our freedom with those who are oppressed. This simple truth has never been more relevant than it is today.
Those of us who are uplifting the name of our Risen Savior and rejoicing about the freedom we now have from death and a sin consciousness because He died and rose again would do well too consider the implications of that reality.
I start by recounting what the Seven Last Words preacher said when he spoke on the Word: “I thirst”. He reminded us that sometimes in the pursuit of the eschatological significance of events, we miss the simple truth that is being revealed. He challenged us to consider that Jesus’ words, “I thirst” could simply have been an acknowledgement of a physical need. After all that He had suffered, maybe it was possible that He simply needed a drink. Sometimes we tend to forget when we think about His divinity, that He was also fully human. 100 percent God and 100 percent human. As simple as this fact is to state, the magnitude of it is phenomenal because His humanity is what facilitated our salvation. He literally died in our place as a result of His humanity, taking the punishment for our sins onto Himself. He arose and secured our seat with Him in heavenly places because of His divinity.
So we celebrate today that Jesus rose; and rightly so, for many reasons. But in doing so, it behooves us to remember. Remember why He was executed. That He came to alleviate spiritual oppression as well as its physical and sociological manifestation. That He spent His ministry linked with those that we would see as undesirable and unworthy. That He challenged a system of oppression fueled by a world system ruled by Satan, and a Pharisaical church system.
Remember what His resurrection means to us. It means that those of us who accept His sacrifice and declare Him our Lord become members of His body. We might even say we are now members of His team, charged to accomplish His purpose in the earth until we see Him. Our mission is to challenge the same systems and principalities that He did, using His life as our model for how to go about it.
I read a post from an advocate for the homeless that discussed how apologetic one of the displaced guests was when he came to their hospitality mission that he was dirty and smelly. The writer shared that he apologized to the guest, admitting that systems and circumstances which resulted in his homelessness owed him an apology. This simple admission was the foundation for our corporate response to what the words of the Rabbi, the Preacher, and the Advocate are addressing.
So on this, one of the 365 days in which I rejoice that He got up, I rejoice that I can stand up and embrace all that He has done for me. I also remember what I owe Him; and that it can only be repaid by what I do to alleviate suffering, fight oppression, and minister to those He calls “the least of these”.