FENTON, MI – In just a few short days, the Christian world will celebrate the greatest event that has taken place in all of humankind’s existence on this terrestrial ball. There is nothing that even comes close to the worth and wonder of what happened on that day, and has caused us to remember and celebrate annually that which changed the course of humanity.
Christmas is better than great, but if there had not been an Easter to follow then His coming at Christmas would be for naught. This was no accident. The situation did not get out of control and go so badly that a mob murdered Jesus of their own volition. Circumstances did not dictate the outcome. From the beginning of time, this has been the plan of God for the redemption of sinful and broken humanity. This did not take God by surprise and there was no plan B.
Love may have come humbly to earth on Christmas but Love arose victoriously to heaven on Easter. A glorious resurrection took the henchmen of hell by surprise. A glorious resurrection dumbfounded the calloused executioners that tormented and tortured Him. A glorious resurrection left the religious world confused and cowering in the dark corners of their black souls. Because there is an Easter, every Believer should have a hallelujah in their hearts and a loud, lingering praises on their lips.
A pastors’ child, three-year-old Nicole, was as anxious for Easter to come as she had been for Christmas day. Her mother was expecting her third child in just a few weeks, and many parishioners were giving them baby gifts since this was her parent’s first child in their church. Nicole had picked out a new dress and her mother had given her a new white bonnet. She and her parents stopped at a store to buy her a new pair of shoes to go with her outfit. While in the store, she repeated something she had been saying all day. She said, "I can't wait for Easter, Daddy!" Her father asked her, "Do you know what Easter means, honey?" She replied, "Yes." "Well, what does Easter mean?" In her own sweet three-year-old way, with arms raised, a smile on her face, and at the top of her voice she said, "Surprise!"
What better word could sum up the meaning of Easter! Surprise, death! You lost! Surprise, hell! You can no longer hold us. Surprise, sin! Your curse is gone. Surprise, mourning disciples! He is alive. Surprise, modern man! He is still transforming lives today! Now that is something to shout about.
On the Easter, just before he died, D. William Sangster painfully printed a short note to his daughter. A deeply spiritual Methodist, he had been spearheading a renewal movement in the British Isles after World War II. Then a disease that progressively paralyzed his body ended his ministry, except for prayer. He even lost use of his vocal chords. Nevertheless, the last Easter Sunday he spent on earth, still able to move his fingers, he wrote: "How terrible to wake up on Easter and have no voice to shout, 'He is risen!' Yet far worse is to have a voice and not want to shout."
It is my prayer and God’s desire that we truly celebrate the resurrection of our Lord. Celebrate with the voice He has given you and shout to the world! Surprise! He is alive and well and soon coming again.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Tim Patterson is Executive Director/Treasurer of the Baptist State Convention of Michigan. Elected unanimously in May of 2015, Patterson formerly served for 9 years as pastor of Hillcrest Baptist Church in Jacksonville, Fla. He also served as trustee chair and national mobilizer for the North American Mission Board.