Wednesday, April 5, 2023

An Easter Fright-Fest!

Dear Friends,

People seem to fall into one of two extremes when it comes to scary movies. You either love them or hate them. In 1996, an American horror film called SCREAM started the genre of horror and slasher movies with serial killers. The movies are intensely gory, frightening and shocking. I confess that I only know that from reading about them because I’ve never seen one. Watching a psycho in a Halloween mask carve up a screaming teenager with a chainsaw is just not my idea of “entertainment.” 

I remember when entertainment was watching Roy and Dale chase down the bank robbers on horseback. White-knuckle excitement was when Sky King and his cute teenaged niece Penny are flying in a low cloud and fast approaching a mountain peak. Extreme violence was when the Lone Ranger shoots the gun out of the bad guy’s hand. Intense drama was when Lassie rescued Timmy from the quicksand. And an explicit sexual scene was when Zorro kisses the girl on the lips before leaping over the balcony railing, landing on his horse Tornado, and riding off into the night.

You may be one of the many people who love to be scared out of their wits at the movies. But 2000 years ago there were no movies or faked reality shows. There were just real-life events. And, the crucifixion of Jesus was a true-to-life horror story. 

As He hung in agony on the cross, there was a three hour period of darkness in the middle of the day. It was in that darkness that He took on our sins. God lifted His hand from the Son of God, who had known no sin, to now be filled with the sin of the world. At that moment, Jesus cried out: “My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?” And when the sacrificial Lamb of God had become the Light of the World, Jesus cried out, “It is finished.” By His death, He became victorious over all the powers of darkness and death. No movie could possibly convey the horror of being filled with every sin that mankind would ever commit.

But while there is nothing more horrifying than the crucifixion, there was nothing more shocking than the Resurrection. Two women approach the tomb to tend to the dead body of Jesus and have no idea they’re about to get the scare of their lives. An earthquake strikes with incredible force. Then they meet an angel – this was no ghost but it was not human either. Their hearts pound in fear! And to finally top off this Sunday fright-fest, Jesus, who they had seen killed and who had been dead for two days, now suddenly pops up on the road in front of the trembling women and says, Boo! (Okay...Jesus actually said “Rejoice!” but it would have had the same effect!) Matt 28:1-10

Imagine watching a loved one suffer a horrible and disfiguring death and you are there when they seal the body in the crypt at Forest Lawn. Two days later you come home still reeling in grief over your loss and find your loved one alive and well and sitting on the couch in the living room. He jumps up and says, “Rejoice!” The word “shocking” would not even come close to describing that moment. 

The Resurrection was meant to be so shocking that we’d still be talking about it 2000 years later.  It turned life upside down. It was God’s plan for our salvation and is powerful proof of God’s victory over death. And through the reality of the Resurrection, we are moved from shock at the horror of His death by crucifixion to joy and thanksgiving for His awesome work. Jesus is alive! There is now everlasting life for all those who believe in Jesus and confess His name as Lord and Savior. The Resurrection of Jesus gives us assurance of our own eternal future of joy and happiness!

The crucifixion of Jesus marked an end, but the Resurrection of Jesus marked our new beginning. And there’s nothing scary about that. In fact, the Resurrection brings the peace of God because we can see our future clearly now. And the reality of our eternal tomorrow is our hope for today.  Amen?

No comments:

Post a Comment