Tomorrow is the day of crucifixion. Today, as I write, is a beautiful sunny morning, just cool enough to refresh everything living! But tonight comes the darkness of betrayal, and whippings, and thorns, and curses, and lies.
And tomorrow will end in total darkness, utter depravity, the death of innocence, separation from God! We call it Good Friday! I don’t think so!
Perhaps my atheist friend can find some good in martyrdom and be satisfied that Friday accomplished all that needed to be done. Many people’s deaths have changed history—maybe everyone’s death changes history. But Jesus was not about changing history.
And why was the tomb sealed with victory on Saturday? Was it to prove death to the superstitious and the unbelievers? Was it to prove death to the believers? Was it because Jesus had souls to preach to in the spiritual world (1 Peter 3:19)?
But Jesus was not surprised by Sunday morning! The women were; the disciples were; but Jesus never doubted. The earliest chronicler says, “He then began to teach them that the Son of Man must suffer many things and be rejected by the elders, the chief priests and the teachers of the law, and that he must be killed and after three days rise again” (Mark 8:31).
Surprise, however, is not a prerequisite to joy! He had told his disciples on Thursday, “Now is your time of grief, but I will see you again and you will rejoice, and no one will take away your joy” (John 16:22). When his followers wept, Jesus wept, so I’m quite sure that bringing eternal joy to his disciples brought Jesus himself great joy!
And what about Easter bunnies and eggs and little girls in frilly dresses and white shoes?
Well, what about Spring? Does the cycle of seasons with death yielding to new life every Spring sound familiar? Who do you think created the seasons in order to proclaim the Victory over Death?
On his first missionary journey, Paul and Barnabas gave the first century pagans the same answer that we who doubt the source of our joy should hear: “Yet he has not left himself without testimony: He has shown kindness by giving you rain from heaven and crops in their seasons; he provides you with plenty of food and fills your hearts with joy” (Acts 14:26).
So I’m pretty sure Jesus would smile at baby chicks and bunnies and little boys with their hair spiked and in their first bow ties, and say, “Don’t forget that life began on Easter Sunday! Don’t forget that there would be no beautiful Spring days without Easter Sunday! Don’t forget that there would be no joy and no empty tombs—ever—without Easter Sunday!
Would Jesus celebrate Easter? He did, He does, and He will—until the very last Easter—Resurrection Day!