Easter is not for the faint of heart. It is born in the midst of suffering and of death. The innocent for the guilty. The worthy for the unworthy. It is a throne that looks like a cross. It is good news that comes from death. It is a new life which is born of the one good and innocent life offered for the sake of the evil and the guilty. We love the Lamb of God but on Easter Sunday we discover that the Lamb of God so meek and mild is not a baby in a manger but the mighty Son of God in flesh who has the courage to come, the strength to suffer, and the life death cannot overcome. He is a fierce lion. The lion of Judah. Like Aslan in Narnia, this is no toothless pet who purrs but the mighty lion who dies for the guilty, declares them innocent, and bestows upon them His own glorious future that death can no longer touch. He lived and died and rose -- never to die again. Easter shows us that the shape of strength lies in arms outstretched in suffering and the shape of victory is a grave with only a burial cloth or two to show who was once there.
Why do we persist in making Easter out to be some namby pamby holiday of lambs too cute and second changes to try harder? Why do we prefer the image of a seedling sending forth its first shoots of life in a garden to the blood stained cross and the Risen Lord with His Good Friday scars? Why are we content to sing a few loud hymns accompanied by some out of tune brass players and then go home and act like nothing really is different? Did something happen? Yes, it did. The tender Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world turned out to be the fierce and might Lion who takes no prisoners when the cause is a sinner like you or me.
On Easter Sunday the whole story is front and center. God took on our enemies. God even took on our own sinful hearts. He was His own righteous Savior who lived the first holy life and then gave all the benefit of that life to sinners like you and me. He is the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world but not because death took it from Him. No, indeed, it was because He surrendered His life for the dead. No one took it but He laid it down. This love is neither an emotion nor weak. It is strong and mighty. As strong and mighty as the Lion who comes to gloat over His enemies who thought, for one long, painful moment, that the King of Life was done dead. He was not. He lives. Who once was dead, now lives never to die again. And with Him do live the saints who died in this faith and fear and with Him do live those who confess it still as the one and only enduring hope.
Christ is Risen! He is Risen indeed! Alleluia!