Easter is the time those who are Christian in belief both remember and honor the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus Christ that occurred almost 2,000 years ago. Christ in final words to His disciples told them what was to come at His time of physical death and the future He would prepare for them.
History has demonstrated words spoken near or at the time of death are often introspective for those soon to expire. The wise Socrates lived about 400 years prior to Christ, but in his last words was searching, “All of the wisdom of this world is but a tiny raft upon which we must set sail when we leave this earth. If only there was a firmer foundation upon which to stand, perhaps some divine word.”
A contemporary of Christ 20 centuries ago, the famous philosopher Seneca in his final words said, “All my life I have been seeking to climb out of the pit of my besetting sins and I cannot do it and I never will unless a hand is let down to draw me up.”
A frustrated Sigmund Freud, as a psychoanalyst and atheist who berated religion his entire career, in last moments expressed frustration, “The meager satisfaction that man can extract from reality leaves him starving.”
On a more humorous note, the lifelong agnostic comedian and actor, W. C. Fields, was discovered reading a Bible moments before death. Upon being discovered, he exclaimed to the surprised gathering, “I’m looking for a loophole!”
Contrast these statements of men who were frustrated about life and death to those of Jesus to His disciples in explaining His coming death on the cross, resurrection and His promises for the future:
“Let not your heart be troubled; you believe in God, believe also in Me. In My Father’s house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also.” John 14:1-4
For many, Easter is now primarily a holiday in which we hide and hunt colorful Easter eggs; a joyful occasion similar to the coming of Santa Claus. But while Easter can be a day for celebrating the coming of Spring and the renewal of nature, we should never forget celebrating the renewal and resurrection – both from physical and spiritual death – made possible by the sacrifice, resurrection and ascension into heaven of Jesus Christ as our risen Savior.
What you and I believe about the future will shape our lives, character and actions in the present. This Easter if you believe, or seek to believe, do not find yourself in the same frustrated condition as Socrates, Seneca, Freud and W.C. Fields at time of death.
Draw comfort about your personal future and that of mankind from the words we are given in Acts 1:4-11 describing Christ final moments on earth, “Now…while they watched, He was taken up, and a cloud received Him out of their sight. And while they looked steadfastly toward heaven as He went up, behold, two men stood by them in white apparel, who also said, …This same Jesus, who was taken up from you into heaven, will so come in like manner as you saw Him go into heaven.”
Celebrate this holiday knowing Easter is not only about conquering physical death through the resurrection of Christ, but also the wonderful promise of His future return as a precursor to eternal life for all who believe. Frankly speaking, my prayer is, “May we all be there – Happy Easter!”