- Sonya Leigh Anderson
Awesomer Easter Story
Updated: Apr 16, 2022
It’s almost Easter, although I think our Minnesota spring may have missed the memo. Nevertheless, we are stocking up on our Jelly Bellies and prepping our little egg-filled baskets for the most wildly understated holiday of the year.
A couple of weekends ago, during an icebreaker at a women’s retreat, I was asked to choose my favorite holiday. Christmas. Easter. Or Valentine’s Day. One of them was a no-brainer for elimination. The other two created (for me) a bit of soul tension. I am an admitted lover of Christmas, for all the nostalgic, Advent countdown, evergreen garnished, white-lights twinkling, family gathering reasons. But it is Easter to which I owe my life. And I know it.
When my kids were young, I did my best to give Easter equal press. But honestly. Who can compete with the wonder of a towering tree surrounded by promising piles of so many presents? And a story, not about death, but about the birth of a BABY? Christmas is low-hanging fruit. But Easter? It’s harder.
Maybe it’s harder because we don’t understand the whole story. I mean, even contrasting the secular versions proves this to be true. Any one of us can easily spin a tale of the origins of good old Saint Nick. But the Easter Bunny? In the words of one of my Spanish-speaking sons, his first spring here in Minnesota, “Why this Rabbit of Pascua?” (Shrugs.)
But even for those of us who know the real story…the “Jesus died for our sins and rose in victory” story…we often miss the breathtaking wonder of the wild significance of what REALLY happened because of Easter.
Maybe it’s because we only know it in part. Maybe it’s because we’re only getting a fraction of the actual “Good News.” Partial stories, with much left out—
An Easter story that says, the world is a mess, and you’re a mess, too, but good news…Jesus died and rose again so you can go go to Heaven someday.
Or this one—
Sin is inevitable, and you will always be a sinner, but good news…Easter means Jesus forgives you every time you sin.
See what I mean? A half a story is hardly good news.
But what if the Real Story of Easter is mind-blowingly more awesomer than this? (Take that, spell check.)
What if Easter changes everything? What if Easter makes makes things possible that were never possible before? What if the miracle of Easter far surpasses the magic of every nostalgic Christmas?
I believe it does.
Because Easter SAVES us.
Time out. The word “salvation”—much like its origin story—is typically massively underrepresented. It comes from this Greek word, sozo—a word closely related to the Hebrew, shalom. And both words mean complete restoration; taking broken things and making them whole. Sozo is salvation-healing. Making us whole and holy—body, mind, and soul.
Time in. So Jesus—the Son of God—willingly became the seed of life inside the womb of a human mother (the good news of Christmas) so that, as a divine-human, He could really and truly defeat ALL the forces of evil, and come to our rescue to actually SAVE us (the good news of Easter.)
Is our world a mess? No doubt about it. Do humans sin? Absolutely. But Jesus died, and He rose to life, to save us from that.
And not just someday. But here. Now. In this earthly life. In this space between resurrection and forever. Jesus makes the impossible possible. He conquered sin and death and he comes to our rescue. He saves us wholly. Whole + holy. Not just in theory—but in radical ways that restore our lives.
Even though Easter is a miracle story, our salvation-healing is not some kind of magic. And it’s not a fairytale, either. It’s REAL, but it really takes time. Jesus doesn’t offer us a magic wand, but He does offer us an amazing invitation, to receive His LIFE—for a lifetime. One day at a time. And this is good news, too. Because Jesus is a patient teacher, and kind. He takes our hands, and He shows us the way. He feeds us His fruit.*
I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you. Jesus said this to his disciples, hours before his death. He was showing his friends the secret to loving, and obeying his commands. I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Helper, to be with you forever, the Spirit of truth… (John 14:16-18 ESV)
Jesus never left us. He is IN IT with us, every day of our earthly lives, until forever. And His greatest passion is to SAVE US—WHOLLY.
This is the (awesomer) Easter GOOD NEWS!
*But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. If we live by the Spirit, let us also keep in step with the Spirit. (Galatians 5:22-25)