I am writing this blog on Easter Sunday having just celebrated the amazing truth that Jesus, who was crucified, died and was buried, has risen and is alive today. As Paul puts it:
For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, (1 Corinthians 15:3–4)
A wonderful statement that is at the heart of the Christian faith, summarising the importance of what Jesus Christ has done.
But I am aware that for many people it carries no meaning or relevance at all and I was reminded of this as I happened to see an Amazon advert on Facebook!
I use Amazon quite a lot and have purchased a number of things from their site but I was struck this morning by the question they were asking – with the implied promise that they could satisfy our needs.
What are you looking for?
One of the reasons it caught my attention was that I had just been reading the story in John’s Gospel (one of the accounts of the life, death and resurrection of Jesus found in the Bible) of the time when Jesus, after returning to life, met up with one of his friends – a lady called Mary. And he asks her a question:
Who is it you are looking for? (John 20:15)
Mary was looking for the bruised and battered and scarred body of the person who had rescued her, had restored her, had befriended her but who – just a few short hours earlier – had died a horrific and cruel death. She had no hope or expectation that he would be alive, she was looking for one last opportunity to say “good bye”. But instead she met a risen, living, breathing person who was demonstrating that he had beaten death and returned from the grave. One moment she was lost, she was broken, she was sad but her meeting with Jesus transformed her life forever. If he was alive then nothing could ever be the same again.
And after hearing him speak her name and recognising who he was she went and told more of his friends that her Lord, their Lord, was alive.
As I thought about the two questions – “What are you looking for?” & “Who is it you are looking for?” – I wondered how much we look in the wrong place for what we need. Amazon is somewhere we can buy things we want but if we are looking to them to satisfy the deep needs in our lives then we will be disappointed. And so much of our society is built around the premise that acquiring and having more things is the way to happiness and fulfilment.
But the message of the Christian faith, the message of Easter, is that the answers to the deep questions, the opportunity for peace, for hope, for joy are not found in things but found in a person – the person of Jesus Christ. Jesus had some things to say about this before he died as he laid before people choices as to what they were to pursue:
I expect he would have something very similar, and maybe “more so”, to say about the consumer society we live in today.
And he went on to speak about what was possible – the opportunity for eternal life including the hope of resurrection
And his own resurrection, his own restoration to life, demonstrates the truth and the power and the certainty of his words.
This Easter Sunday is another great opportunity for each of us to think about where we are seeking to find fulfilment and satisfaction – in things or in a person, in what we can get or in what Jesus offers to give us.
Who are you looking for this Easter?