Easter teaches us so many lessons about forgiveness, sacrifice, endurance, trust, betrayal, tolerance, repentance, dignity, responsibility, love, hope, faith. All the wonderful lessons that the death and resurrection of Jesus teaches us.
But this year, a hidden message occurred to me during a chat I had with my father on Good Friday.
I have always wondered about a couple of things Jesus said in the run-up to his crucifixion. The first one was when he was praying in the Garden of Gethsemane, and he said, “My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me”. This expression has never sat well with me, because it clearly indicates that for a moment, Jesus really didn’t want to go ahead and fulfil God’s will by sacrificing his life -understandably so, since he must have foreseen the degradation and suffering that was to come. Still, I imagine God didn’t feel too great hearing His son suggest He cancel the most important plan He ever made for mankind because Jesus had cold feet.
The second comment Jesus made that I didn’t quite understand, was on the cross, when at three o’clock thereabouts, he cried in an anguished voice, “Eloi, Eloi, lema sabachthani?” (Which means “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”).
Again, I thought, “Ah, Jesus paa. For someone who knows God better than any human, you really have a low estimation of His faithfulness if you think just because you’re going through such atrocious hardships, He must have abandoned you. Again, I thought, God must have been so disappointed to hear Jesus say those words.
Now, of course, I can’t even begin to comprehend the ways – let alone the thoughts – of the Almighty, but if I ever had any questions about how upset He must have been with Jesus, well He clearly can’t have been that mad, because, He raised the guy from the dead three days later. So either God was not offended, or He forgave Jesus.
I’m inclined to believe the latter, because It’s clear that with those two statements, Jesus was exhibiting fear, which is a very human flaw – a flaw for which God forgives us, his earthly children every day, so how much more His only begotten son? Bear in mind, this fear is also a flaw which Jesus overcame to accomplish His mission.
That ought to have meant something to God. Anyway, if I’m right and God forgave Jesus for those moments of fear, then that for me is the biggest Easter message I can imagine.
So often, as humans, people say things that hurt us. They put us down with our words. They rob us of our dignity. Husbands do it to wives and wives to husbands, parents to children and vice versa. It happens between students and teachers, bosses and employees. In every human interaction, there is the danger of saying the wrong thing and causing irreparable damage. Now what makes the damage irreparable is the strength with which we hold on to grudges. Words hurt, but only when we keep a hold of them.
My friends, who has wronged you? Who have you not spoken to in years? Who do you secretly miss but publicly hate? It’s Easter, and my message to you is this: Even Jesus was capable of saying the wrong thing, how much less you and I? Let it go, as God did, and resurrect that dead friendship.
But here’s the trick: When Jesus arose, even his own disciples couldn’t recognise him. That means he arose with a new body. The old one had served its purpose and was no longer needed, so he emerged from death as someone new. Sometimes, relationships are meant to teach you a certain lesson. Once that lesson is learnt, the relationship has fulfilled its purpose. Perhaps you were meant to work under that tyrannical boss to learn patience. Maybe you married that gold digger so you would learn how to manage your money better. Maybe you were assigned that mean supervisor so you would be forced to improve your writing skills. Maybe that big-breasted, overly flirtatious, inappropriately dressed woman was sent to your office to teach you self control. If these relationships went sour and you’re holding on to the words and deeds that hurt you, let it go. It’s Easter. Forgive them, but don’t just restore an old, outdated relationship that has outlived its purpose: start a new one.
Create something new out of the death of something old. That’s the hidden lesson of Easter.
Good morning Pobs-tarians!!!
Credit: Kojo Yankson