Easter: The Power to Die
Easter is a celebration, and rightly so. At the core of the Kerygma proclaimed by Jesus and His disciples is the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus, our Passover Lamb. Consider a few of the implications of this rich Christian holiday.
First, Easter is a reminder that we participate in the death of Christ. Unfortunately we often reduce Easter to an observation. However, the death of Christ is not something that we are to observe from a distance, it is a threshold through which we pass. Scripture asks us, “Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus have been baptized into His death” (Rom 6:3)? It is tempting to treat Easter as a time to cheer from the sidelines. It is right that we emphasize the work that Christ alone has done. But it is wrong to believe that Easter requires nothing from us.
Second, our participation costs us our life. We do not want to lose our life. We want to cling to it with everything we have. Easter stands as a powerful reminder that true life comes to us through surrender. Dietrich Bonhoeffer famously stated, “When Christ calls a man, he bids him come and die.” From a self-preserving, self-centered perspective Easter stands as a threat to us, but that is not the end of the story.
“He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain that which he cannot lose.” Jim Elliot
Third, when we lose our life we find true life. “Therefore we have been buried with HIm through baptism into death, so that as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, so we too might walk in newness in life” (Rom 6:4). We are participants in living the new life just as much as we are participants in dying to the old life. Jesus stated it this way, “For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it; but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it” (Matt 16:25).
Christ calls you today to come and die. To die to yourself, to your ambitions, your lusts, your worries, your affections, your agenda. If you have never surrendered your life to Christ do it now. If you have taken your life back into your own hands and need to relinquish it anew do it now. The same Spirit that resurrected Jesus now abides in you.