I believe that I am in the minority, but I like Easter a lot more than Christmas. There are a few reasons that go into that. There’s no pressure with Easter. You don’t have to worry about buying the right presents and making sure you see everyone you need to see. Easter isn’t commercialized nearly as much as Christmas. For me, Easter is the unofficial start of spring. Flowers are blooming, and it starts getting warmer outside. The church services are always beautiful and full of life on Easter morning; you can feel a buzz in the air.
I really enjoy all of whole Holy Week. I work at a church that celebrates Palm Sunday, Maundy Thursday, and Good Friday. We get to trek with Jesus through the entire passion journey, which gets me emotionally ready for Resurrection Sunday. This year is especially exciting because I have my wedding on Saturday. I can’t imagine a better way to kick off the Holy Week. Ali and I get to publically profess our love the same week that we celebrate God’s most magnificent profession of love.
The main reason that I enjoy Easter so much is because of what happened on the cross and at the tomb nearly 2000 years ago. We celebrate our savior willingly sacrificing His life for us. It was then that we “were bought with a price” (1 Cor. 6:20) and washed with “the blood of the lamb.” (Rev. 7:14) This is the week that we really focus on Jesus setting us free from our sins and making us alive in Him. Although it’s always saddening to think about what Christ had to endure to save us, it’s nearly impossible to not be filled with joy because we know that He is victorious in the end.
One of the most fascinating things about the Easter story is what happened at the temple when Jesus died on the cross. If you recall, there were some supernatural events. There was darkness from noon to three, a powerful earthquake that split rocks, and “the curtain of the temple was torn in two.” (Matt. 27:51) That line about the curtain is thrown in there with no explanation but it’s meaning is profound.
Inside the Temple was a room in the back known as the Holy of Holies and this is where God’s presence dwelt. Nobody could enter the Holy of Holies except for the High Priest on the Day of Atonement, also known as Yom Kippur. The High Priest could only go in after performing a rigorous cleansing ceremony. If anybody else entered, they would die. In fact, they would tie a rope around the High Priest whenever he went in on Yom Kippur just in case he was unclean when he entered, and they could pull his body out. The curtain existed so that God’s presence would be separated from the people.
When the curtain tore, the message was clear. God no longer was going to be separated from His people. At that moment God declared to the world that everyone has access to Him through what Christ did on the cross. We have an approachable God who desires for us to live in His presence.
The amazing thing that happened on the cross was that God removed everything that separated us from Him. Not only did the curtain get “torn in two” but the ceremonial law that the Jews followed (and still follow today) got thrown out of the window as well. The whole Old Testament law can be placed into two categories; moral law and ceremonial law. Moral law consists of the Ten Commandments, which are still true today. The rest is known as ceremonial law. This is where you find the laws about what you can and cannot eat, what clothes you can wear, how you are to clean yourself, etc. All of the ceremonial laws existed so that you could present yourself as clean before God. None of that matters now because of what Jesus did, “He has now reconciled in His body of flesh by His death, in order to present you holy and blameless and above reproach.’ (Col. 1:22)
There is nothing that stands between God and us. However, we tend to put up a curtain between us and God. I know that I am guilty of this. We tend to do this whenever we’ve stumbled in our faith, when things aren’t going the way we want them to, or those times that we want to go off and do our own thing. We think that if we throw up our curtain, then God can’t see what we’re up to and therefore He can’t interject Himself into our lives.
Why are we always so ready to run and hide from God? If we know God, then we know that He loves us dearly. He is our perfect Father who is always ready to forgive. Don’t get me wrong, there are consequences to sin, but that doesn’t deter His love for us. What good does it do us to put up a curtain? Has there ever been a time that we tried to live our lives away from God that worked out well for us? I’m very confident in saying that the answer to that is no.
I think we still fall into the trap that we can only present ourselves as perfect to God or He’s not going to want to be with us. When the curtain was torn, He proved that wasn’t the case. He gave His beloved son so that we can live in His presence. Don’t forget, “While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” (Romans 5:8) God tore the curtain in two when we were sinners. Therefore, your sin isn’t going to cause Him to separate Himself from you. Why? Because it’s not about you, it’s about Christ and what He did for us. His love is greater than any sin that you can commit. We need to stop running from Him when we fail and instead run to Him. We need to fall on our faces and repent of what we did and accept His forgiveness and love. That’s what the curtain being torn is all about, and that’s what Easter is all about. God’s love and forgiveness knows no bounds!