Easter is celebrated around the world, but with seemingly less intensity and outward expression than Christmas. At Christmas we are familiar with the presents, parties, pageants, etc., and while Easter is certainly recognized and revered by believers, the fervor is simply not there over a crucified and risen Christ as there is with baby Jesus in the manger.
Let’s face it, baby Jesus is less threatening. He is a cute baby with a sweet story.
He cannot demand anything of us from the manger setting with all the trappings of Christmas cheer. He is yet to turn over tables in the Temple, rebuke religious bigotry and require devotion. He is a harmless baby.
On the other hand, the resurrected Jesus that crashes the party on that first Easter morning says, with that resurrection, “I am who I said I was.” This is big and threatening and if it is acknowledged as true, demands our serious consideration and devotion. I believe this is the main reason Easter captures less attention than Christmas. The commitment levels are drastically different.
But I wanted to go down a different Easter road today. The different aspects and characters that revolve around the story are fascinating and some are overlooked and seem insignificant. But I don’t believe that anything in The Book is insignificant. Let’s take a look at two of these instances.
For example, why would John mention a folded piece of linen in Ch 20:7? Peter saw the linen cloth that covered Jesus’ head, folded neatly and in a place by itself. This is not a passing comment, but reflects a Jewish tradition at that time. The head of the household, upon leaving the dining table, would either crumple his napkin, signifying that he was done and the servants could then clean his place or he would fold it neatly, signifying that he was not finished and would return to the table.
The obvious implication to these closest of Jesus’ friends was that He was not finished; that He would make good on His promise to return. This simple act would speak volumes of comfort to these devoted Jewish disciples.
Then in Luke 16:7 the angel at the empty tomb instructs the ladies to tell the disciples to go to Galilee and they would see Jesus. Why? These guys were in Jerusalem, where everything was happening. Galilee was 60 miles north over rough terrain and could have taken 3-5 days one way.
But the familiar territory and the trip would ignite many memories from the previous 3 years of ministry. Jesus would have a quiet, uninterrupted setting, away from the swarming Pharisees in Jerusalem, with these men who would carry on the work. He told them He would make them “fishers of men” and now a great object lesson would be taught concerning this. Peter would be restored and the future anticipated during this special time.
As you read the eye witness accounts concerning the awesome first Easter, do not take any of them lightly or consider them insignificant. Instead, look for the nuggets of Truth and be blessed.