April 17th this year began Holy Week. Palm Sunday, Passover, Maundy Thursday, and Good Friday all lead up to Easter Sunday. I know many of you will be observing the holiday season in a variety of ways. Obviously many go to church and do Easter egg hunts. Some make a special dinner with family and friends while others prefer to spend the time alone in quiet reflection. Easter holds different messages and meanings to different people. However, there’s one way to approach this time of year that I think is universal.
During Easter, Christians recognize the completion of Jesus Christ’s mission on Earth: to come, to die for the sins of humanity and to be resurrected on the third day. Throughout my life, I think I’ve done more observance of Good Friday. I think about what that day must have been like. Here Jesus was, the Son of God. He’d performed miracles. He rejected the religious leaders and traditions of the day by loving the unlovable. People followed Him and believed in Him.
So what must it have been like when He died? When He said, “It is finished” and hung His head, what could His followers possibly have felt? Despair. Heartache. Possibly anger, as though they were tricked and He wasn’t who He said He was.
The disappointment of a broken dream is something everyone has felt. To put all your faith in something that lets you down is a heavy weight to bear. I may not have been there when the disciples watched their Lord breathe His last breath, but I can imagine how they felt: in a word, hopeless.
Not only did He die in the most publicly humiliating way at the time, but He was also entombed. Now that’s final. For three days, there was nothing. He was gone. All seemed lost.
But then on Sunday morning…
See, that’s what I mean about Easter. This is why people get so excited. It’s a celebration that the most hopeless of circumstances could be revived. The resurrection of Jesus is the heart of the Gospel message and, perhaps even, the meaning of the life: that there is hope. No matter how dark it gets, there is a light that shines. That’s why they call it “The Good News”, and it can inspire anybody.
I pray that during this Easter season, even if you’re not a Christian, you take some time out to sit and reflect. Think about the areas in your life that you feel are dead and remember this message. Despite how “final” your Friday feels, Sunday is on its way and you can get a fresh start. Things will turn around. And you don’t even have to wait for Sunday, because every day is a second chance – a chance to change, to forgive, to forget, and to grow.
In your darkest hour, keep your eyes peeled for the light. Wait for it. It’s coming.