Easter weekend – as celebrated in the USA – makes it easy to focus on the celebration of Easter. It means family, good food, easter egg hunts, flowers budding, maybe a new dress or tie.
But the Friday before Easter was not a celebration. Friday was the day of The Lamb of God. Friday was the day of war.
I am not certain I fully grasp what it meant for Jesus to suffer and die on the cross. I wonder at the level of physical pain – the lash would have opened his back to the bone. Blood and flies everywhere. Then there was the spitting and name calling of the crowds. He was going to die for these – and they reviled him. Did it break His heart to see their faces ugly and sneering? And what of those few who loved him and wept at the foot of His cross – how much would that break His heart to see them weeping? Finally, he was separated from God. Jesus, The Word who was with God and who was God, was suddenly cut off! What would be the anguish of being cut from the Trinity? Then, if these weren’t enough, Jesus bore the weight of every sin upon himself. Every cutting remark any human has ever said, every blow to the body of every child/woman/slave/man, every starved, abandoned, abused, depraved moment that humanity has perpetrated on each other through out all time: all of this He bore. All.
Why would Jesus, who could have called it off in an instant, press on thru every bit of that?
The answer, of course, is love. Yet it was still a war.
Jesus is the Lamb of God who was slain. He is also the Lord of Hosts, the foremost soldier in God’s army. Pause a moment over that: our leading general’s two battle weapons were prayer and profound, all-covering love. Jesus defeated his foes with these two weapons: prayer that brought Him close to His Father, and love so great He would sacrifice Himself — even for those who hated Him.
What power must there be in these: prayer and love! What crazy, world changing, foundation shattering power! It is power we humans hardly understand, much less know how to wield wisely. Yet, even so, Jesus has entrusted us with these same weapons. In fact, we are commanded to wield them. We are to love our neighbors as ourselves and, armed with this love, go and make disciples of the world. We are also to pray. Pray as already-victorious sons and daughters of God, clothed in the armor of God, praying in the Spirit (Ephesians 6:13-18) without ceasing.
Oh my siblings-in-the-faith, make no mistake, God is showing His glory to the world thru us. Let us not weary in well-doing, but press on in the battle for The Kingdom. Not by rending and shredding others with our words or actions, but thru prayer and love. Let us dare to pick up these two weapons and wield them wisely and well in the world
Easter: an act of war. Fought with prayer and love.
Friday was the day of The Lamb of God. But Sunday? Sunday is the day of The Lion of Judah, The Lord of Hosts, The Morning Star, The Prince of Peace.
He is risen. Oh! He is risen, indeed.