Recently my son asked to skip church. He was straining to understand why we keep returning week after week when, as he said, “I’ve already heard about God.” It’s a fair question and one that I think shows how his short little life has been fairly uncomplicated so far.

Adults know better. Life is complicated. Terribly so. Christians are not exempt. And because we are not exempt, we go to church. We go to church because we have to. We go to church because where else can we go? Jesus is the one with words of eternal life (John 6:68). And we need those words. His words nourish discouraged hearts. They bring us comfort. They revive us. So we come week after week to bring ourselves under those words. To my son, I said, “We go because we forget and we need to be reminded of his words.” Amidst the heartaches of this life, we need fresh reminders that there is good news that has come from God.

Easter is upon us. The Easter season traditionally begins with an Ash Wednesday service. This service helps us be sober-minded and clear-sighted about the fact that our lives are complicated. But putting it that way isn’t strong enough. The service insists each of us remember God’s terrible pronouncement in Genesis 3:19 that from dust he made us and to dust we shall return. The service forces us to see, by the ashes on our foreheads, that the judgment of death awaits us all. That’s where the Easter season starts. But the story in Genesis marched on. Though you have likely heard it, let me tell you how the Easter season ends because it’s a story we need to hear again and again. We have to hear it because our lives depend on it.

Before I tell it, let me ask you a personal question: Is your life complicated right now? Do you have any particular problems right now? I do. It’s one of the inevitabilities of Genesis 3:19 still reverberating through our world and each of our lives. The human experience is rife with problems. Big ones, small ones, confusing ones, complex ones. Ones that multiply and ones that have become so embedded in our lives that we are accustomed to their presence. We all have problems. And at the end of a life full of problems, death awaits us—the most terrible, complicated problem any of us face.

Given the reality of our problems, it’s curious that when the apostle Paul spoke about the problems, or “troubles,” of this life he called them “light and momentary” (2 Cor 4:17). I must confess that there have been times I have balked at his description. Our troubles, afflictions, and sufferings certainly do not feel light or momentary. We do not experience them that way. But Paul says this because he has eternity in view. The “weight of glory” is what makes our present troubles “light.”  How can we understand this? We understand it through the Easter story.

On Good Friday, Jesus fully and completely identified with guilty sinners, as he personally experienced the bad news of Genesis 3:19.  The Son of Man returned to dust. He died. But because of another word from God in Genesis 3, his death actually accomplished something new. His death accomplished life because he was the promised offspring who would crush the head of the serpent (Gen 3:15). 

And so the logic of the Easter story goes like this.

Jesus died and three days later God raised him back to life. In raising Jesus, death was crushed. Life triumphed. The serpent, with all of its deceit, malice, and evil was crushed. Jesus crushed him. And as for you? This is now your Easter story because with Jesus you died (2 Cor 5:15). And with him you are raised to new life. Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, today, he or she is a new creation (2 Cor 5:17). This is true of you now. And in the future, your physical body will also be raised, just as Jesus’s body was raised.

For you, he crushed death so that you could be brought to new life. For you, he bore the weight of all of your troubles—from the least to the greatest. With compassion for you, he bore them so that death became impermanent and glory became permanent. Oh, the glory will be tremendous! God’s people will be scooped up into it! The glory that awaits us is so lasting that today’s troubles—indeed all the troubles you and I will ever face, including death itself—can only be described as light and momentary ones. I know it doesn’t feel that way yet, but what you see and experience today is “temporary.” What is unseen, what is not yet in our experience, is “eternal” (2 Cor 4:18). The fullness of glory is coming.  

Because of this story, we come again and again, every week, to hear this good news that has come from God. Even so, Easter Sunday is a special Sunday. It stands out from the rest of the year because all of the other Sundays depend on it. Because of Easter, our faith is established. Because of Easter, hope is certain. Enjoy this special day, brothers and sisters.

He is risen!