Easter has become a time for most people to come out to the church. Easter even beats out Christmas for most yearly visits. Parents fill baskets with colored eggs and chocolate bunnies sitting in a nest of colorful confetti. Did you know that ninety million Easter bunnies are produced each year? And Americans buy more than 700 million, Marshmallow Peeps, those are my favorite little yellow chicks.
I remember when I was young, my mother and father always bought us Easter candy, but we really loved when they bought us Easter Clothes. Back in the day, you only got really nice clothes three times a year. The first day of school, Christmas and Easter. We went out to the special stores that had slick suits and pretty dresses in tiny kid sizes. It was almost like the clothes made us feel like adults. We felt as big as everyone else. These were special clothes, because we were going to church and we needed to look good..
Even though my sister and I went to catholic school, we rarely attend Sunday Mass, but Easter was the exception. I learned that Easter was a time when people made themselves look and feel special. They got dressed up because they believe they are going to a special event. No one ever dresses up unless they want to look good.
That was partly correct, Easter was a special event, but not because I put on new clothes, but because God wanted to put new clothes on me.
Let me share with you from what I have been reading in God’s word. I have been spending time reading through the book of Ezekiel. Ezekiel is a tough book to read. Not because the words themselves are complicated, but because the picture that God is creating through the prophet Ezekiel is a very sad picture.
Ezekiel chapter 16 begins by saying, God is speaking. Then God begins to paint a picture to describe how he loves his people, the Israelites.
God says for Ezekiel to tell the people that:
On the day you were born your cord was not cut, nor were you washed with water to make you clean, nor were you rubbed with salt or wrapped in cloths. No one looked on you with pity or had compassion enough to do any of these things for you. Rather, you were thrown out into the open field, for on the day you were born you were despised.
Then God said, he was passing by and found Israel, after just being discarded. She still had her umbilical cord and was covered in blood.
God sees and says to the baby girl one word, he said “LIVE!”
I am amazed at the awesome power of God. When God says to you, LIVE! you will live. It doesn’t matter if the world abandons you, he will not abandon you.
God saw us, cold, alone and in our mess. The picture isn’t pretty. It’s not the kind of life anyone would want, let alone the way you would want to start life.
God gave this abandoned child, nourishment and watched her as she grew into a young woman. Though she was forming into a woman, she was still naked.
Though God said she would live, she wasn’t fully grown yet. There was more to learn, she was exposed and still needed God.
God says that later, He passed by her and saw that she was old enough for love. She was old enough to be married.
And God made an oath and entered into a covenant with her, and He says, “you became mine.”
God is so loving. He not only rescues her from death in the gutter, but he marries her. She was His!
He says, “I bathed you with water and washed the blood from you and put ointments on you. I clothed you with an embroidered dress and put sandals of fine leather on you. I dressed you in fine linen and covered you with costly garments. I adorned you with jewelry: I put bracelets on your arms and a necklace around your neck, and I put a ring on your nose, earrings on your ears and a beautiful crown on your head.” Doesn’t this sound similar to how people dress for Easter.
God took what the world didn’t want, what the world produced and turned it into an amazing event. He showered her with gifts, jewelry, clothing, fame and beauty.
And your fame spread among the nations on account of your beauty, because the splendor I had given you made your beauty perfect, declares the Sovereign LORD.
When God is the one who takes care of you, He gives you a lasting and perfect beauty. When He sees you and calls you His own, He makes you into a whole different kind of person. Sure, this woman knew that she was from the gutter, but she had a different place in life now because she was God’s. She was loved and showered with a splendor that only God could give.
This is what Easter is about. God sending his Son to pay the price so that we don’t have to live in the gutter of sin. He sent Jesus so that He could give us new clothes.
In Luke 12:27-28, Jesus said, Consider the lilies, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed (dressed) like one of these. But if God so clothes the grass, which is alive in the field today, and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, how much more will he clothe you, O you of little faith!
These new clothes is what we are celebrating, we were once naked and exposed in our sin. We weren’t deserving of the love of a good God, yet, he saw us and had compassion on us and put us in new clothes.
For God so loved the World that He gave His One and Only Son.
God loves you and me so much that he didn’t let us stay in our sinful circumstances.
He picked us up, cleaned us up, gave us new life, both a now and forever. God showers us with every spiritual blessing, he showers us with the power of His Holy Spirit. He showers us with love.
I couldn’t help but see myself as that baby abandoned by this world. The world discarded me. I wasn’t going to be anybody, I wasn’t going to have anybody. This is how this world treats people. You think the world is your friend, but it isn’t. And I was that discarded soul.
But God saw me. He had compassion on me and made me his own. He didn’t just keep me alive, but he caused me to grow. He didn’t let me stay naked, but he cleaned me up and gave me clothes.
He didn’t just clothe me, but he adorn me with precious jewelry. He gave me a necklace around my neck. A crown for my head.
God doesn’t just save you from hell, he saves you for life. This is the Good News!
God makes us who we are in Christ so that we can have fame and beauty, the kind of fame and beauty that people will see and say, Wow, God has made your beauty perfect.
This Easter many people will come trusting in their own beauty and their own clothes to make them presentable. They will be covered in their own sense of what is right, not realizing that they are truly abandoned and naked without Jesus.
This Easter, God is passing by and He is looking for the discarded souls. He is eager to say to those people, Live!