Many of us will quickly answer: ‘Easter eggs’ if asked to tell something special about Easter. I am not sure how many will be able to answer the question: what is the message of Easter? Easter is 2021 years old, so is its message. No one will have any doubt that Easter is the celebration of the sacrificial death as well as the resurrection of Christ. Some may raise questions about His rise from the death, and it is okay to do so, even such a question will be all right with Jesus. Christ’s resurrection unequivocally establishes that he is the Son of God. Nonetheless, the message of Easter is embedded in the sacrificial death.
If you read the New Testament of the Holy Bible, then you will notice that the biggest miracle Christ did was that He never did any miracle for Himself! He did many miracles: healed the sick, raised the dead man Lazarus and brought him back to life, fed 5000 people with five loaves and two fish and so on. But Christ did not do any miracles for Himself, including saving Himself from the painful death! Why? Had He done any miracle to save Himself, the very purpose of His journey to earth would have been defeated, and we would not have been celebrating Easter as it then carried no message.
How did Christ die? We know the answer is crucifixion. Yes, but if we go a bit deep into His death on the cross, He died from the inability to breathe. When a man is hanged with his hands stretched out and fixed to and legs affixed on a cross for a long period of time, it will be difficult for him to breathe because the functions of lungs will be severely impaired.
As He gasped for breath and took the last breath before leaving the world, Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.” The message of Easter is forgiveness, and it is the essence of Christianity. Christ told his followers to take the cross and follow Him. The cross of forgiveness, and this journey is not an easy one but very painful. If someone slaps you on the right cheek, turning to him the other also needs ability to accept the physical and mental pain with calmness and without any tinge of vendetta, even in the thoughts. And that ability comes from forgiveness.
Even if you are able to memorize the whole Bible and even when you are a frequenter of churches as well as an active member of church activities, if you are not carrying the cross of forgiveness, you are no way near to Jesus, who will tell you whenever you meet Him, “I don’t know you.” He will show you your name missing from His supercomputer. Throughout the verses, He emphasizes forgiveness. If I am allowed to paraphrase one such verse, it goes like this: When you come to the place of worship to offer prayers to me, if you still have enmity toward your neighbor, leave the offerings at the worship place, go to your neighbor, forgive and reconcile with him, then only will I accept your prayers. Christ taught only one prayer to the people around Him, and it was a prayer to the Holy Father. I am afraid to recite that prayer because it has a sentence “… forgive us our sins as we forgive those who sin against us…” So when I recite this prayer, I am telling God to forgive my sins the way I forgive those who did bad to me. Do I forgive people? If not, my sins will not be forgiven. What a sentence to ponder on!
I wish you all Happy Easter. May the virtue of forgiveness take root and flourish in you!