The Letter

 © jb katke

“I wonder how Easter got started anyway?” The question came from one of my co-workers that haunts me to this day. My mind responded, but nothing came out of my mouth. Much later, having this recurring question stalking me, I responded to her by letter. I don’t know if she ever received it.

Not having her address, I sent it in care of the company. It may have been too late. My position was eliminated; thus, losing the job I loved.  Had she gone on to other things too?

Even though I had included my address; possibly my phone number too, if she wanted to talk with me. No response came. I’d like to think she got it, because much thought went into what I wrote.

First off, I clarified that Easter has nothing to do with bonnets, bunnies, or baskets full of candy and colored eggs. I can say that with certainty because I’ve done my homework. Researching the Good Book, I read about how it came to be.

It started way before our time, before even the day God’s son Jesus walked the earth. Jesus was a real people person kind of guy. He loved to tell others about where he came from and how mankind could go there too when they leave this earth. All folks had to do was believe in him and change their mindset.

You know how it can be with a know-it-all;  a warm welcome can be rare. That was how the religious leaders of the day felt. They wanted to tell people how to live and what to believe. The power, respect, and the revenue they got from it put them in a prestigious place.  

Jesus coming along, saying you don’t have to obey all these man-made rules the leaders came up with didn’t set well. Push came to shove; they decided the only way to stop Jesus was to kill him. Jesus became a prey, while the leaders waited until the time was right. Passover.

Passover is an annual Hebrew celebration, a time of remembrance when God spared the Jews from death. It took place in Egypt; where the Israelites were in slavery so long ago. God was about to perform a miracle. The Egyptians were going to lose their firstborn everything. Livestock, cattle…and their first child. This was the final straw in the many plagues Egypt endured, until they finally set the Hebrew nation free.

This death of the firstborn would include the Israelites too, unless they sacrificed a lamb and spread his blood over the door frame of their home. Fortunately, they took God seriously. The death angel only ‘visited’ homes unmarked. Hence, pass over. This all took place long before Jesus was born, but the tradition holds true.

So now, returning to Jesus. He was framed, captured, placed in a mock trial, brutally beaten beyond recognition, and eventually forced to carry his cross to be hung from. There, he died. Today we know that as Good Friday. Ironic, huh? Read on to see why it was good, the story continues.

Jesus’ body laid in rest in a borrowed tomb for three days. On day three, he rose from the dead. According to reports, others saw him alive and interacting with people. We call it Easter Sunday.

Even today, that is not the end of the story.

Here is the kicker, Jesus knew what events would take place all along,  So then, why did he come?

Remember my mentioning that he was telling all sorts of people they could go where he came from?  He knew folks could not get to heaven under their own power, it’s the home of a holy God. People are too full of wrong-doing; the Good Book calls it sin. The only way that was possible was for him, God’s only son, to die with bloodshed. Taking on the world-wide sin on his own shoulders; sacrificing his life like those innocent lambs from long ago whose blood was on the framework over the door.

Death was his mission in life. I have read Jesus did it with pure joy. The best way for me to wrap my head around that statement is to liken it to childbirth. For months this new body growing within is looked forward to with eager anticipation. Giving birth hurts like heck…but the joy in bearing a new life; it’s worth every painful moment!

Celebrating Easter is remembering what God did for the Israelites in slavery. To know that same God can today, perform a miracle for those who choose to believe. To be saved from the slavery of alcohol, drugs, prostitution…you name it. God is a miracle worker, freedom is available.

As I wrote this letter to my coworker, I realized this event recorded in the Good Book was God’s letter of explanation to anyone who would read it. To understand what Easter is all about and why it is so important. Where we go after leaving this earth is a vital concern.

I hope my friend got that letter. Every Easter I think of her. While this is a religious holiday, it applies to every man woman and child today throughout the world. What Jesus talked about then, still holds true if we just believe.

Happy Easter!