Best day of the year? What a strange thing to say about Easter. Why is Easter important? What makes it so special?
I guess I wanted to find out.
These “Best Day of the Year” signs were held by the greeters at my home church on Easter 2019 when I walked in for the first time as someone ready to see Jesus for myself.
This was my first time really getting to see what Easter was all about.
Before this damp & sunny Sunday morning in Rochester, Minnesota, I was experimenting with living a free life coming out of a past relationship that had collapsed a few months before that. I found myself sleeping on a hardwood floor, hungover, depressed, and hating myself & my life. This was February 2019.
I remember crying out to God from a place of feeling absolutely buried. Buried by my shame, my disappointments, my brokenness, and my heart’s disparity.
One morning there, on that hardwood floor, I came to a point of saying, “God, help me. I have tried living this life my way, but I can’t anymore. This is where I ended up. I need You to help me. Whatever You want me to do, I’ll do it, just please help me.”
After I had said that little “prayer”, I remember everything coming together for the first time in my life. Like I had just received a spiritual buoyancy. I was finally on the surface of the water, after a long year of drowning.
From there, I picked up two extra jobs as a food delivery person and an Uber driver. I was working three jobs and stepping out into something I was terrified of for the first time in a long time. I was beginning to feel comfortable in the uncomfortable.
That spring, I was living in the freedom of experiencing God for myself for the first time in my life and exploring what that exactly looked like for me. I felt entirely free.
Life felt simple. It felt doable.
Something was different, but I didn’t know what. That buoyancy was life-giving.
I spent a week or so in Colorado with a friend of mine from high school, who I hadn’t seen for years. That was a leap – we hadn’t talked for years. I also had never flown by myself, either, which was new.
We spent a few days hiking in Rocky Mountain State Park, the first time I’d seen mountains, and we listened to country music, also something new for me. We hung out with his college buddies, did “college activities”, and spent some time visiting the city he lived in, the campus he went to school on, and the mountain biking trails he rode.
This was all new. I felt like life had been breathed by a fresh wind into my soul.
To understand that breath better, you must know that I had spent the past year of my life entirely paralyzed by fear. I was ridden with fear – it was like a cancer that had spread to every corner of my life by the time I was sleeping on the floor in February.
I was afraid of losing my significant other (which I did), I was afraid of not being enough (which I wasn’t), and I was afraid that my life had no purpose, meaning, or value (which I didn’t know that it did). So, when I talk about feeling like a breath of fresh wind had come into my soul, I’m talking like I felt freedom for the first time in my life.
Whispers were in my ear, casting me forward into something new.
So, why is Easter important?
The Third Day
I got a text from my boss on Saturday night that said, “Hey, you should come to church tomorrow.”
“Y’know… Why not?” I thought.
I told my mom Sunday morning that I was heading to church, and she excitedly accompanied me to church at Rochester Assembly on April 21st, 2019, at 11am. Easter Sunday.
I parked my car and walked my mom into the building.
“Best Day of the Year” the signs read. I felt like I was ready to read that.
“Welcome to church! We’re so happy to see you!” the smiling faces said. I was cool with that, too. They seemed to mean it.
I sat down in the pew next to my mom and my boss (and my boss knew what was coming).
Our lead pastor at the time, John Skipworth Jr., gave his testimony of being delivered from an IV-drug addiction on a jail cell floor and the love of Jesus radically transforming his life. I felt like I was ready to see that.
He gave a stand-up moment, not a hide your eyes & hands moment, to come to Jesus at the end of the service and about a dozen of us stood up – myself & my mom included.
For me, that was a moment that made Easter special, but why is it important for anyone else?
Easter is the celebration of God’s victory over satan, death, and the powers that held us captive in our sin.
Easter represents the moment that God worked His most radical, life-changing miracle for all of our benefit – His triumph over death – showing us that we had a way to live eternally with Him through His Son Jesus Christ, whom He had just raised from the grave after three days.
Easter symbolizes resurrection power. It symbolizes that there is no enemy that God cannot defeat, no death that we must fear, and no hell that can capture us if we belong to Christ.
Easter symbolizes restoration of purpose, resurrection of life, and resounding declaration of God’s power.
Easter Sunday is important because it was the day that Jesus confirmed Himself being raised from the grave, after having spoken of it to His disciples multiple times in the Gospels. He proved Himself faithful, true, and capable of living & dying a sinless life on our behalf, but not stopping there. He proved Himself able to be raised from the dead, conquering even death itself, which was not only the enemy of life and the primary spiritual problem of those outside of Christ, but also the one fear we would all face in this world.
Today, I no longer have to fear death. There is no need – no reason to – because Christ has conquered it for me, and I know that in Him I have eternal life (John 3:16, 1 John 2:25). I have been set free from captivity to sin, to darkness, and to evil that would hold me in the grips of despair (Colossians 2:14-15).
Easter is about a God, Jesus, that stepped into a death that we deserved in order to give us a life that we didn’t (2 Corinthians 5:21).
It’s about Jesus, who took on flesh and was crucified in our place, so that we could be restored in relationship to the God that loved us & created us (Philippians 2:6-8, 2 Corinthians 5:18-19).
It’s about Jesus, who delivers people from addiction, damnation, and death.
It’s about Him, who walked out of the grave to secure our promise of eternal life in Him.
And that’s why Easter is important – because when He walked out of that grave, we walked out with Him (Romans 6:8).