The Easter bunny has always been an interesting concept to me. The thought of a giant farm animal creeping into my house to drop off gift-ﬁlled offspring and an edible portrait of themselves is pretty terrifying for the most part. I think I might still have nightmares from my ﬁrst visit to Chuck E. Cheese’s as a kid, but that’s another conversation all together.
When we look back roughly 2,000 years to the original Easter week, we see an interesting scene play out in John 12:12–19. We see crowds of people passionately singing the praises of King Jesus, who rides into Jerusalem on a donkey, and within a matter of five days they are nowhere to be found. What happened? How is it possible for a group of people to seemingly declare the kingship of Jesus in their lives only to turn from him in a matter of days?
When Jesus triumphantly entered Jerusalem, I think the crowds wanted Jesus to be their Easter bunny who would bring them good things. They thought Jesus would be a useful upgrade to their lives who would get rid of the Romans and usher in an earthly kingdom, bringing security and comfort with it. To their disappointment, Jesus came embodying humble servanthood and eventually allowed himself to be killed — both of which didn’t seem very useful to the type of kingdom they wanted.
You see, Jesus knew he needed to do more than set up a kingdom that would provide a few years of comfort, because ultimately he needed to conquer our sin and death problem separating us from God. As Jesus is riding into Jerusalem, he’s inviting you and me into a deeper faith that goes far beyond the ups and downs of life. This is good news for two reasons.
- It frees us from self-righteous pride during seasons of blessing.
If things go well circumstantially we like to think it had something to so with us, which leads to a subtle pride showing itself through a lack of grace and generosity towards others. In fact, that’s why the religious leaders were so angry with Jesus (John 12:19). If Jesus was the hero, then they couldn’t be. We, like them, often think our earthly progress is a result of our own doing. If that’s the case, we’re still in control. And we love to be in control. We give a little money and go to church just enough to keep God from getting mad, so we can expect him to give us a more comfortable and prosperous life. When this happens, Jesus is seen as a useful tool we use to get what we actually want. At the end of the day, we can still take the credit.Yet as God’s grace helps us see the richness found in the unmerited gift of His son Jesus, we’ll be able receive the blessings of this life with a humble gratitude — a gratitude that expresses itself through the way we show grace towards others and generously meet the needs of those around us.
- It frees us from despair in seasons of suffering.
We can experience a crisis in our faith when our earthly expectations aren’t met. Often when we look at scripture, people experience more earthly suffering when following Jesus. Persecution, sickness and hardship are not just a possibility for the believer, but rather a matter of “when” not “if” (John 16:33). The comfort for the person who puts their trust in the person and work of Jesus comes from the reality that he has already done the greater work, reconciling us to a life-giving relationship with God.
Jesus loves you too much to be your Easter bunny.
To read more about the hope found in Easter, read Easter Uncut by Carl Laferton.
Authored by NCC Assistant Pastor Rob Kirk| northcentral.org