Easter: The rest of the story
We are all very familiar with the Easter Story. The story of three crosses and an empty grave is recounted each year by Christians around the world, but there is more to the story. Christ’s crucifixion and resurrection is part of a chain of events that started long before a virgin gave birth. This is a story of premeditation, death, and ultimate love that predates even the Genisis 1 account of the creation of the world.
In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth (Gen 1:1, NIV),
He chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight.
In our legal system the concept of premeditation is an important factor in determining the severity of punishment for a crime. It is premeditation that separates murder from homicide. Premeditation is why an elaborately planned candle lit dinner at the beach or a proposal over a jumbotron is thought to be romantic while a spontaneous Vegas style wedding is not so much. Abraham was blessed because he made the decision to obey God and sacrifice his son Isaac even though God did not ask him to complete the act. When Abraham carrying the knife and the fire left for Mount Moriah with his son carrying the wood he had made the decision to obey God knowing what it would cost him. As a result God said, “Through your descendants all the nations on the earth will be blessed, because you obeyed me.” (Gen 22, NCV)
Just as Jesus advised the crowds to count the cost of discipleship. (Luke 14) His father counted the cost of creation before creating the universe. What was this cost? The cost was Jesus, God’s only Son. For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. (John 3:16 NIV) The fact God gave his only son is not new. What we do not often think about is the magnitude of this sacrifice in the terms of premeditation. The bible is very clear that God considered what humanity would cost him before he created the first person. The sacrifice of Jesus was not a reaction to a screw up by a loved child. Creating humanity was not an unplanned pregnancy. It was a premeditated act of ultimate love. Love for me. Love for you.
This year when you hear about the crown of thorns, beating, humiliation, death on a cross, the rolled away stone, and the empty tomb remember it is part of a much larger story. A story of God’s premeditation to bring you to oneness with Him through the death of Jesus and moving in to our bodies as the Holy Spirit.
4 For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love he predestined us for adoption to sonship through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will to the praise of his glorious grace, which he has freely given us in the One he loves. In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace that he lavished on us. With all wisdom and understanding, he made known to us the mystery of his will according to his good pleasure, which he purposed in Christ, to be put into effect when the times reach their fulfillment—to bring unity to all things in heaven and on earth under Christ.
11 In him we were also chosen,[e] having been predestined according to the plan of him who works out everything in conformity with the purpose of his will, in order that we, who were the first to put our hope in Christ, might be for the praise of his glory. And you also were included in Christ when you heard the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation. When you believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit, who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God’s possession—to the praise of his glory. (Eph 1:4-14, NIV)