The Opportunity of Easter

I love the Bible. That itself is a statement that still blows my mind. If you had told me that I would write that 17 years ago, I would have laughed. In April of 2005, I wasn’t a Christian; that was still a few months away.

But that aside aside, I truly love the Bible. I love when I read it—even during those seasons of life when I’m wildly inconsistent in reading it. I love to teach it and try to make sense of it. And even when that desire to make sense of it leads me to realize just how little I actually understand of it, I still love it.

One of the things I love most about it is seeing people “get” the Bible. When they have the “aha” moment where they realize that something bigger is going on in it. That the Bible isn’t a mere collection of commands, wise sayings, or epic stories—it’s one story. The story of God’s rescue of His people in the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus. The one story that changes everything.

The Opportunity of Easter

During Holy Week, as Christians prepare to celebrate the climax of that story, celebrating Jesus’s death on Good Friday and His resurrection on Easter Sunday, we have an opportunity. That opportunity isn’t even the one most of us think of—the evangelistic opportunity of Easter.

We want to use Easter as an opportunity to share the gospel with those who don’t know Jesus. We want to encourage people to join us at church. Those are good things. But even so, that’s not what I’m thinking of.

I have a far different opportunity in mind—a personal one. The opportunity I’m thinking of requires us to a question of ourselves:

Do I see it?

Do I really see the Bible the way that the Bible seems to see itself? Is this book really the story, the revelation, of God’s plan to rescue and redeem His people?

That doesn’t mean that we gloss over commands. It doesn’t mean we don’t read wisdom and poetry as wisdom and poetry. We should read everything in the Bible on its own terms. But one of those rules is to read like Jesus said we should. To read it as though it testifies about Him (John 5:39).

Because it does. Everything in this book, even the clear commands, should draw our attention to Jesus, in sign or in example. The promised Messiah, Anointed One, Rescuer and Redeemer. The One who perfectly fulfilled all that we were (and are) incapable of fulfilling on our own. Who died for us, taking our punishment as His own, and rose again in defeat of death. The One who instructed His people how to live as citizens of His kingdom and commanded us to go and do likewise—and sent His Spirit to empower us for the task.

This is how Jesus wanted us to understand the Bible and what He was doing as the Messiah. And it wasn’t just in His encounters with the Pharisees before His death. Nor was it in His appearances to His followers after His resurrection.

He was pointing us to this truth, even as He hung on the cross.

Do You See It?

“My God, my God,” Jesus said, “why have you abandoned me,” (Matthew 27:46). There’s much to be said about Jesus’s quoting of Psalm 22:1 in this moment. It was one where, in His humanity, Jesus was experiencing the wrath of God against sin. But it was also one where Jesus, once again, was pointing people to this greater truth. That the Bible is truly all about Him.

Reading Psalm 22, we’re given this powerful picture—one who is loved by God being surrounded by foes. Who felt abandoned and hopeless because all had turned against him. But even in his greatest moments of despair, as he wrote asking why he felt God had abandoned and forsaken him, he pointed to a greater truth: God would not abandon the tormented and oppressed.

“He did not hide his face from him but listened when he cried to him for help” (Psalm 22:24). And later a greater promise still: that all the ends of the earth would turn to the Lord. That people from every tribe and tongue and nation, from every kingdom and people group would worship Him (Psalm 22:27-28).

Things that would only happen because of what was happening in that moment, as Jesus hung on a cross upon which He did not deserve to be placed, but upon which He willingly chose to lay down His life, only to take it up again and leave behind an empty tomb.

In a very real sense, despite all that we cannot fully know about what was happening in that moment, it seems that Jesus was asking this same question—this question that He asked throughout His ministry and that the Holy Spirit prompts us to ask even to this day: Do you see it?

Photo by Sangia on Unsplash

Posted by Aaron Armstrong

Aaron is the author of several books including the Big Truths Bible Storybook, Epic Devotions, Awaiting a Savior: The Gospel, the New Creation, and the End of Poverty, and Contend: Defending the Faith in a Fallen World. His next book, published by Lexham Press, will release in Spring 2023.