Easter Anew

I have been familiar with the Easter story all of my life it seems. Yet, only recently I have realized the significance of the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ taking place during the actual time of the Passover (Matthew 26-27). An important detail to be sure. One I never pondered.

Matthew 26:2-5 says, “ ‘As you know, the Passover is two days away – and the Son of Man will be handed over to be crucified.’ Then the chief priests and the elders of the people assembled in the palace of the high priest, whose name was Caiaphas, and they schemed to arrest Jesus secretly and kill Him. ‘But not during the festival,’ they said, ‘or there may be a riot among the people.’ ”

In the Matthew passage, I see that the religious leaders had decided to avoid condemning and killing Jesus during the actual Passover. An important detail. They were afraid that riots would occur. They wanted to keep the matter “hush hush.” Meanwhile, I wonder if they were also trying to suppress their lingering doubts concerning the Truth of the Son of God? Did their consciences bother them? Did they want to keep everything quiet in case they were found to be wrong in condemning to death an innocent man?

There was nothing about Jesus that was going to remain a secret. Evil human planning and plotting at this Passover time in history was going to be exposed by eyewitnesses and Gospel writers. The story of the Resurrection of Jesus from the dead would be a resounding story heard around the world for generation after generation. God’s timing would prevail. The story of the Son of God, the Messiah, the Savior, the Redeemer. An unstoppable Truth. A continuing decision demander. An ultimate confrontation for every human being on earth.

Knowing that God overruled especially the timing of the religious leaders and that His plan would prevail despite any human manipulations is quite encouraging and comforting. That Jesus would be arrested at the very time that God foreordained, exactly during the Passover commemoration in Jerusalem, and that His sacrifice would fulfill everything that the Passover symbolized – these things have God’s amazing imprint on them. Timing belongs to God alone.

It’s true. God’s Word is new and fresh to me every time I read it, and especially with a story with which I am familiar. The prevalence of God’s sovereign plans and purposes supersedes all human opposition and attempts to determine all outcomes. It is all really up to Him and, as every detail of prophecy is fulfilled, it is difficult to comprehend how anyone cannot believe in Jesus Christ, the true Son of God. But, it also tells me that God’s purposes cannot be thwarted by anything that happens here on earth. We are responsible to hear and take in the Truth and make a decision about it.

This Easter I am pondering God’s sovereignty over timing. He foreordained, before the foundation of the earth, that there would be a Redemption Plan that would be so perfectly fulfilled during an actual Passover observance over 2,000 years ago. I don’t want to miss one important detail in scripture anymore. The Passover symbolism is not lost on me. The Precious Lamb who takes away the sin of the world — Jesus. God’s timing for Him and for us was perfect.

What is Unsaid

Remember God Who created the sun, moon, and stars? Deuteronomy 4:19 says, “And when you look up to the sky and see the sun, the moon and the stars – all the heavenly array – do not be enticed into bowing down to them and worshiping things the Lord your God has apportioned to all the nations under heaven.” Job 11:7 says, “Can you fathom the mysteries of God? Can you probe the limits of the Almighty?”

Remember God Who made the sun stand still? Joshua 10:12-14 says, “On the day the Lord gave the Amorites over to Israel, Joshua said to the Lord in the presence of Israel: ‘Sun, stand still over Gibeon, and you, moon, over the Valley of Aijalon.’ So the sun stood still, and the moon stopped, till the nation avenged itself on its enemies, as it is written in the Book of Jashar. The sun stopped in the middle of the sky and delayed going down about a full day. There has never been a day like it before or since, a day when the Lord listened to a human being. Surely the Lord was fighting for Israel.”

Don’t you sometimes wish that these truths would be audibly spoken on the nightly news and throughout all media outlets? I recently caught a mention on cable news that Bill Gates wants to run an experiment to dim the sun as a way to stem global warming and save the planet… his scheme pictures airplanes releasing some kind of coolant into the atmosphere to form a dimming layer to reflect back the sun’s rays.

A voice inside my head was saying – the “unspoken” in this news segment was what was most important for the world to know – “What about God?” I found myself asking – Why isn’t anyone affirming that God created the sun and He’ll handle it according to His purposes? No one will be dimming the sun apart from God’s will. Why isn’t anyone attesting that Joshua’s prayers and humility before the sun-stilling God of the Universe resulted in God’s powerful and supernatural intervention to bring about salvation for His people Israel?

Remember God Whose power shattered the chokehold of sin and death on the first Easter? I Peter 1:3 says, “Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In His great mercy He has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.” His mercy and power brought this salvation miracle to us. Easter’s celebration is truly the focal point of all human history. We don’t speak it enough.

There is a river of God’s Truth that runs underneath all the things that we are constantly hearing, sun-dimming theories or not. Truth that is suppressed. Too often not spoken. Amos 4:13 says, “He who forms the mountains, Who creates the wind, and Who reveals His thoughts to mankind, Who turns dawn into darkness, and treads on the heights of the earth – The Lord God Almighty is His name.” Truth declared, but not repeated enough.

No matter how many human plot twists we experience in our culture, no matter how many scientific breakthroughs, no matter how many words and images come into human heads, the river of God’s Truth that runs underneath all Creation needs to be the continuous whisper of God Almighty into our hearts, where the unsaid becomes the said. Where the Holy Spirit reveals God’s truth to us.

Surely God will dim the sun when and if He wants, according to His plans and purposes, and for His glory. He has given us His comprehensive Word. I am reminded of a wonderful line from the hymn “In Christ Alone.” It goes like this: “No pow’r of hell, no scheme of man, Can ever pluck me from His hand, ‘Til He returns or calls me home, Here in the pow’r of Christ I’ll stand.”

While waiting for Christ’s return, may we turn the unsaid into the said, boldly and often. God’s Truth, become spoken! God’s powerful and supernatural intervention to bring about salvation is still at work in the world through His Son Jesus Christ. Let’s not leave this unsaid anymore.

Photo Credit: Kim Clayton Lance