When it comes to grasping the importance of the Easter story you struggle to top the well-known phrase of C.S. Lewis who wrote: ‘Christianity is a statement which, if false, is of no importance, and, if true, is of infinite importance. The one thing it cannot be is moderately important.’
I think the reason I love the statement so much is its ability to cut through so much baggage in order to get to what matters. And let’s face it—Easter has plenty of baggage, a lot of which we freely enjoy so long as it doesn't detract from the main thing. I mean at one level Easter is not pleasant, not pleasant at all. We have torture, humiliation, isolation which all leads to a slow walk to an execution area just outside of a city where people die—in agony, for hours at a time to remind Mr Joe Public that you don’t mess with the emperor of Rome and where at Easter—one man died fixed between two others who was comprehensively innocent of all wrong doing.
Now if this was just another death, we could argue that such loss, as terrible as that was, has no impact on you or me. After all its over two millennia ago. It’s a statistic of history at best—to you and me—not relevant. If this was just another day of Roman humiliation for those for those walking in trespass against Caesar then it goes no further. But this is not just another day—and not simply another life. This is a ground breaking, earth shaking, veil tearing, dead raising day when the universe witnesses a seismic shift in the way she turns. For here, on this day and over this weekend everything changes.
Here, in an act of powerlessness the stranglehold of evil is broken over the whole of creation. When the Roman Centurion declared, ’Surely, this was the Son of God,’ he spoke a compelling truth.
The Son of God hung naked before his mockers –his humiliation covering their shame; his innocence taking away their guilt. And not only theirs—but yours, and mine and indeed the shame of a world fallen, broken, and lost.
His final words—’It is finished’ capture the completeness of a life lived for the will of his Father. And those words echo through time and speak a message of hope to us all. He has finished what we couldn't achieve. The power of sin is broken, the purpose of satan is destroyed and a new life becomes your life and mine—not because either you or me deserve it, or have earned it; no, new life comes to us because we are loved—and that is why Lewis’ statement of Christianity is so compelling.