It was Easter weekend and churches everywhere were scurrying around to make things just right for the big crowds. Pastors prepared sermons meant to captivate the casual attendee with the hopes of an eternal impact and a growing church. People darkened the door in an effort to check the box to be right with God somehow. Regular attenders dressed a little nicer and planned time with the family afterwards. The formula of Easter, however, can’t match or meet the fullness of Jesus.
Jesus started talking about Easter early on in His ministry and for the first time in John 3, when He said, “And as Moses lifted up the bronze snake on a pole in the wilderness, so the Son of Man must be lifted up, so that everyone who believes in him will have eternal life.”
He referenced a story from Numbers 21 where Moses was instructed by God to build a model of a snake on a pole because people were dying from their rebellion. God gave them life if and when they were able to lift their eyes off of their circumstances and look at the snake on the pole. Jesus would bring eternal life in a similar way . . . He would hang on a pole (a Cross) and if people would look to Him from their rebellion, they would have eternal life.
I thought it kind of strange that Jesus was heading towards the Cross in a similar fashion to the type and shadow of the snake on the pole. The snake on the pole, however, represents what Moses brings and that is the law. “For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ.” (John 1:17)
Here’s the thing; we want people who aren’t normally church people to come on Easter and believe what we believe. Many of us, however, continue to operate out of the law even if we say we believe in Jesus. We look to the rigid precedent of law instead of realizing the living, breathing grace of Jesus. We think if we do the right things, we’ll get the right results and find the right favor. Our good intentions leave us staring at a snake on a pole instead of recognizing our inability and allowing the resurrection of Jesus to be manifest within us.
Easter is about the risen Christ who went to the Cross to pay the price of our rebellion. If we’ll receive the sacrifice of His offering, we won’t have to perform compared to the rules anymore. We get to agree with Him in His suffering for Him to live through us. It will cost us everything, but it’s better than staring at a snake on a stick.