Probably by now the Easter baskets are empty. The candy has been eaten and the gifts are placed in rooms around the house. The visiting families have gone home or you have gotten home if you were away, and now life is continuing as “normal.” Hopefully, you can reflect back on having a very enjoyable time.
Even though Easter is now passed, there are some things about the Easter Story we must never forget. I would like to look at some of the lessons that Jesus taught us while He was on the Cross.
First, He taught us about forgiveness. Luke 23:34 says Jesus cried out to God that forgiveness be granted to those who were crucifying Him. Jesus said they did not know what they were doing. They certainly did not know they were dealing with God in the flesh. We need to demonstrate forgiveness in our lives. Not being forgiving harms us both spiritually and physically. It is very clear that it is not wise to be unforgiving.
Second, Jesus demonstrated great humility. Luke 23:37 records the words of the soldiers. They challenged Him to prove He was the King of the Jews by saving Himself from death on the Cross. They again had no clue to the power that Jesus had. He could have taken their lives from them in an instant. Instead, Jesus stayed true to His mission. He had come to give His life as a sacrifice that our sins can be forgiven. Yes, if any of those soldiers would have confessed their sin of crucifying Jesus, they would be forgiven by the very blood that Jesus shed on that Cross. The blood of Jesus was not spilt; that would indicate it was by accident. It was shed which confirms it was by design. The Bible says in Philippians 2:8 that Jesus humbled himself and died on the Cross. We all need to guard against pride. We must be humble. We are to recognize we need the Lord to be our strength every moment of day and night.
Third, Jesus revealed great grace. Luke 23:43 shows Jesus giving eternal life to a repentant criminal. The criminal was aware that Jesus had done no wrong. So in a way he was inferring that he believed that Jesus was God. The Lord showed both mercy and grace to that man by His bleeding body. While mercy is not getting what we deserve grace is getting what we do not deserve.
I am thankful God’s great Salvation is not just for those who deserve it. If so, great men from the Apostle Paul to Evangelist Billy Graham and all of mankind would lose out. As the song says, I can come to God just as I am and God will transform me into what I need to be. Like that criminal, we too can spend all of eternity with the King of Kings and Lord of Lords. He stayed on that Cross until His dead body was taken down; He had nothing to prove to those mocking soldiers.
While this past Easter celebration is now a memory, let’s make sure that we do nor forget the lessons we learn from our Lord. Just like we say at Christmas, He is the reason for the season. Easter would not be nearly as important nor impactful as it is if it were not for the life, death, and resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Pastor Ron Swiger is chaplain of Greene Memorial Hospital and guest columnist.