Easter is a glorious celebration day in the life of the church. Probably the highest attendance recorded each year will be at the Easter occasion. Some churches have a full week of Easter services and all of us join together to celebrate the risen Lord on Easter Sunday. I’m sure that there are many words that would sum up at least part or piece of Easter, but I want you to think about for a moment Easter in one word and that word is gone. The word gone simply defined means, “to not be present; not at a place; at times not even existing”. How would gone represent Easter? Well, let me give you three times that gone would be the appropriate word for what is taking place at Easter.
The first is the believers that were gone. There at the close of Jesus’ life the disciples are going to disappear from the scene. In fact, the Scripture says in Luke 22:23 and 33 that when Jesus said that the one who was going to betray Him is there, they began to ask, “Who is it; is it I?” Of course it was Judas who was going to do that, but all of them were questioning about themselves. When they went out to the garden and the soldiers came and took Jesus, Matthew records an interesting thing in chapter 26 verse 58 as he tells us Peter follower of Jesus “afar off”. He’s close enough to observe, but far enough away that he didn’t have to get involved. At the critical time of Jesus’ life, soon to stand mock trials, then to be carried out to Golgotha to be crucified, the disciples for the most part were gone.
Now I do not intend to be too harsh about them being gone, for all of us would have to say that there are times in our lives that we have not been all that Jesus wants us to be. It’s easy to kind of just disappear and be gone. Easter is a magnificent time of the year, not only to celebrate what Christ has done for us, but to evaluate what we do for Him and to actually think about how close are we to Him, how involved are we in His kingdom work, how ready and available are we when He may need us?
Peter, who was so vocal about his commitment to Jesus that he would not deny Him and he was going to stay with Jesus even if it meant death, soon he would find himself at a distance away from Jesus somewhere in the shadows of the darkness of the night following afar off. Then he would find himself standing there in a crowd of people, warming himself at the fire but being accused of being one of his followers. And then he would of course deny that he even knew Jesus. What an amazing thought that could creep into our own lives and our relationship to Jesus that as much as we know Him and as close as we feel to Him and as much as we love Him, we could come to a place of being gone.
A second gone related to Easter is that our burdens are gone. By that, I am referring to the statement of Jesus when He is hanging on the cross. What a wonderful and incredible thing it is to hear Him when He says, “It is finished” (John 19:30). No doubt, many of you know that that could be translated to something like, “It is paid in full.” Jesus took all of our sins upon Him, and as He came to His last breaths, He endured the pain, experienced the excruciating suffering of sin, and He paid for our sins. A debt we could never pay, and He said, “It is finished.” It is all paid in full for you.
If you’ve ever had a debt, maybe a student loan or a car note or an overspent credit card and you got serious about paying it off, to finally make that last payment, what a relief and what a joy it brings just in a small piece of our world. But this is not talking about just a financial debt that we have, but our sin debt. So huge, so often repeated, that it is impossible to even think about paying it back, but Jesus said, “I have done it for you.” And the burden of sin with all of its guilt and all of its shame and all of its hurt and pain, all of it, gone. that is why we celebrate Easter.
The third gone at Easter has to do, of course, with the tomb. The body is gone. Luke 24:2-6 tell about those early morning visitors that came out to the grave only to find that the stone had been rolled away and the tomb is empty and the body of Jesus is gone. Well, it wasn’t just gone, it was alive, and He who had been dead, liveth forever! Jesus not only died for us, miraculously, magnificently, He rose from the dead and is alive forevermore. He is alive today. He is alive to give you life this very day.
The body was gone, but Jesus may come to your heart even now and be knocking wanting to come and be your Lord and Savior. If you’ve already trusted Him and you know that He lives in you, He may be there wanting to encourage you, to bless you, to help bring meaning and purpose in ways that maybe you have gotten away from. Let this Easter be a glorious celebration of a renewed walk with Him realizing that so many things, all of your sins, all of the consequences of them, He took upon Him and they are gone and He is alive.
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