Some years ago, my family spent a week in Canmore, Alberta, Canada. For many reasons, this gorgeous mountain town is charming and unique. However, what sets it apart from any place I had visited before was the pastel and multicolored, fluffy bunnies that roam wildly throughout the town. Seriously, they are all over the place. Someone, at some point, let their pet bunnies free and they reproduced so well, that now you can spot these fluffy bunnies everywhere. It was fascinating to me; funny, weird, and beautiful all at the same time.

Of course, it’s that time of year again. Spring is springing, pastels are in style, and bunnies fill our stores and maybe our decorations at home. I’m not sure where this trend started, but it likely has something to do with spring, life, and rebirth. It’s not the bunny’s fault that Easter time has turned into a consumer-focused spring celebration filled with chocolate, marshmallows, and stuffed animals. I don’t mind that we celebrate spring and bunnies, nor do I think we should make a big stink about it, but it certainly does not define or make Easter Easter! Or does it?

What makes Easter Easter is God’s power at work in Jesus’ resurrection. It is the fact that He would come to earth to take our errors, wrongs, and sins, and bring them to the grave. Jesus conquered our enemy, so we could be resurrected from our spiritual death and raised to resurrection-life.

In I Peter 1:3 we are reminded that “According to His great mercy, He has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.” This truth not only makes Easter Easter, but it also reveals what God has done in our lives for those who trust in Him. We receive His miraculous power, we die in His death, we rise in His resurrection, and one day we will be completely restored eternally.

However, it is not only a future event. To those in Christ Jesus, resurrection is here and present too. For us, the Apostle Peter defines it as rebirth. We were dead in our sins but raised to new life through Jesus’ resurrection so we can live now in His righteousness and peace. Yes, one day we will experience life in a new body, on a new earth, as all things will be restored. But restoration begins in our hearts immediately as we come to know the knowledge and grace of God. So how does this inform the way we live right here and now?

First, we no longer have to live in our sin and shame, we are freed from our bondage. We have forgiveness and peace so we do not have to live in embarrassment and guilt. Jesus washes us clean. Are you living in Christ’s righteousness this Easter? Jesus paid the price so that we could live and abide in Him. We need this reminder every day.

Second, the hope that Christ offers us is far beyond what the world offers us. When I place my hope in the things of the world, like my treasures and possessions, it will always let me down, grow old, or waste away. But the hope Jesus gives is something eternal. It won’t let me down. It won’t fade or waste away. So every day we can live with a lasting and substantial hope that puts peace in our hearts and a smile on our face.

Third, resurrection means that our relationship with God has been restored completely. Yes, we will see Him face to face one day, but now we can abide with Him confidently. Another way of putting it, we can rest in the assurance that God our Father loves us completely and desires that we grow daily in our relationship with Him. So we can put to rest any thought or idea that God is against us, ashamed of us, bothered by us, or disappointed in us. There is no greater love than God for us! Easter is proof of all of these precious truths.

So let us commemorate, presently, our future hope! May resurrection fill us with His joy. There is no greater celebration than Jesus’ resurrection!

Happy Resurrection Day!

– Pr. Nick