Every year I feel like Easter sneaks up on me. You might feel the same way. Perhaps it's because you haven't had a vacation day since Christmas and you won't have another one until Memorial Day. Perhaps it's because March Madness takes over your entire life at this time of year (and why wouldn't it when the winner gets office bragging rights until Fantasy Football season begins?). Or perhaps it's because you have two toddlers (or teenagers?) at home and it takes all of your time and energy just to keep them safe and alive. But I don't think that's the case for me. I have a bigger issue than that.
I've been a Christian since I was a single-digit-year-old child. Every year Easter comes and goes, and I seldom ever get emotionally distraught over the act of Christ's death on the Cross for my sins. I acknowledge it and am grateful for it, but I rarely see myself as the death-sentenced person that I am because of my sins.
It's difficult to see myself as a sinner when the culture around me sees people as generally "good." The need for the crucifixion of Christ doesn't make sense to our culture; it sees Jesus' death as unjust because not only did an innocent man die, but also because the consequences for sinning aren't typically viewed as a reason for death—especially for the mildest of sins. In fact, "the wages of sin is death" (Romans 6:23) sounds like the mantra of totalitarian dictatorships or Sharia law.
However distasteful this may be, we know it to be true. Fortunately for us, God in his richness of mercy and love made us alive through Christ's death on the Cross (Ephesians 2:4–5). Regardless of how we see our sin, everyone is in need of a Savior (Romans 5:12). So God provided salvation through Christ (John 3:16).
How can we truly appreciate the sacrifice Jesus made for us without seeing ourselves as "despicable me"? Perhaps it's not that we are blind to our own sin, but rather that we don't have a firm grasp on the holiness of God. A pair of old socks can seem pretty white, especially when just washed. But once a new pair is purchased and compared, those once good-enough socks appear dingy and gray.
Likewise, even the mildest of sins stands out like a crimson stain when compared to the perfection of God. So this Easter, when you strain to conjure up a sense of gravity for the situation, look not into the depths of your depravity, but look at the holy perfection of Jesus. After all, this is what God sees in us because of this day.
For Further StudyDownloadable resources to go deeper
- Carolyn Custis James: What It Means to Be a Woman in MinistryeBook Format Available! Author and speaker Carolyn Custis James offers leadership insights for women.