While performing my usual barn chores as the sun began peeking through the adjacent woods, I marveled at the beauty of God's Creation and the gift that He has given us to nurture and cherish. But I was again drawn to the marvel of Easter and the love and mercy that it represents for us.
Jesus just a week earlier had ridden into Jerusalem on a lowly donkey. He was greeted by throngs of common folk who had heard of his miracles and the crowds he had been drawing everywhere he went. Of course, the high priests of the Temple were not happy. They saw Him as a threat and had to figure a way to silence him, to remove the threat.
And so as the week went on the plot thickened until, following the Last Supper, one of His very own disciples, Judas, betrayed him for silver coins. He was arrested shortly thereafter and the Priests and Herod convinced Pontius Pilate that he must kill him or else there would be likely rebellion among the people.
And oh, how fast the masses turned on Jesus in the crunch. His band of followers, his true devotees, even had failures in this regard as noted by Peter denying Him three times.
Finally crucified on Golgotha, He died a horrific death hanging between two criminals while suffering scorn and mockery and other forms of abuse from a nasty crowd under the agreeable eye of the Roman soldiers.
After his death, He was lain in a cave-like tomb wrapped in linen cloth. A huge rock was used to seal the tomb with Roman guards placed at the site to preclude his followers from removing the body.
On the third day, when Mary Magdalene and others went to visit the tomb the stone had been rolled away by an earthquake and the guards were missing. Entering the tomb, they found the linen in place as it was, with the imprints of the body present, but He was missing. He was risen.
Now you all probably know this story and the follow-on about Jesus being seen and identifying Himself, but the point of bringing this up is to highlight the fact that from birth, in a stable, to death, among criminals at Golgotha, to a simple grave, His life was noted for simplicity and availability of His message for the common man.
Jesus was not sent to be an earthly king or a high priest, but rather, to bring the message of His father, God Almighty, to all of us. And through so doing, He gave us the gift of Eternal Life. All we have to do is love Him and follow Him and do everything we can to live in His image. He knows full well that we will falter at times through sin, for we are mortals, but if we work hard to live the Christian life and believe we are offered the ultimate reward.
And as I survey the scene on my small, simple farm with the horses, dogs, cats and fowl in their peaceful setting, I know that we all must remember what is really important. It's not riches, and store bought "stuff", fancy cars, or gigantic houses. No, what's important is love, caring, and accepting his gift of grace unconditionally. Only in so doing can we live up to His wish for us.
THE TOMB IS EMPTY; HE IS RISEN. HAPPY EASTER.