Paved and Paid: The Easter Story
This piece was written by contributor Brandon Davis.
Before Pinterest invaded the hearts and minds of every family in America, the rustic décor throughout my house served a specific purpose at one point in time. I am specifically referring to the two woven baskets that sat on top of our kitchen cabinets three hundred and sixty-four days out of the year. But, without fail, they would miraculously end up at the edge of our kitchen countertop on Easter morning overflowing with only the finest Walmart items a boy could ask for. The basket would traditionally include a pair of swim trunks, a couple DVD’s for the long weekend, a $20 gift card, and an unhealthy amount of chocolate. From ages 0-14, this was Easter.
We were the “See you next Christmas Eve” type of church-going family; so I knew a little about what Easter actually was, but not too much. In fact, one year I got a DVD of the cartoon version of the life of Jesus, and it was intense. I vividly remember the scene where he flips the tables in the temple, and I thought Jesus was the coolest dude ever! Aside from those memories, Easter was about finishing that delicious chocolate bunny.
As I grew in my relationship with Jesus, Easter transformed into a holiday of church services that featured a slightly underwhelming version of the Easter bunny, and family brunches. Not much thought had gone into the acts of Jesus on the cross two thousand something years ago until recently when I heard a message about the apostle Peter. I never knew how to really feel during Easter. Do I celebrate the life? Do I mourn the death? What part of the Bible do I read? All these questions were put into perspective the deeper I understood what Peter went through during Jesus’ last days.
Peter was all over the map when it came to walking with Jesus. He was no doubt one of Jesus’ favorite apostles, yet it seemed like he was the one messing up all the time. When he asked to walk on water and Jesus agreed, he doubted and almost drowned if it weren’t for Jesus; when they were about to take Jesus to trial he cut off a slave’s ear and Jesus had to reattach it; when Peter was asked if he was a disciple he denied it three times and Jesus still invited him to breakfast after the resurrection at the sea of Galilee. There was no doubt that Peter loved Jesus, yet he still made mistakes that Jesus had to address.
I think about what those three days after the crucifixion must have been like for Peter. After being told by Jesus he would deny Him, then swearing he would not, then doing it anyway – I could bet that Peter was feeling the full weight of Jesus’ death much more than the other apostles. He felt it to the point where the angel instructed the women at the tomb to inform the disciples, but, specifically Peter. Did he not even consider himself worthy of discipleship anymore? If that’s the case I couldn’t even imagine the type of grief he was experiencing before Jesus returned.
What follows is probably my favorite phrase throughout the entire Bible: “But God…”. But God called Peter back after every shortcoming. But God called Peter to spread the Gospel and perform miracles in His name. But God forgave Peter. This Easter I reflected on Peter’s life and realized I can’t make it in this life alone. I realized that Jesus has never let any of my mistakes, shortcomings, or “Peter moments” break the bond we share or the promises He has for me. I mourned and revered His death on the cross. And I shouted until my head hurt because of the new life He has given me. I am almost sure that’s what Peter did too.
My message isn’t to inform you how to celebrate Easter moving forward, but to show you that, like Peter, no matter how often or how severely you fall, Jesus will always be right beside you to help you up and dust you off. That, because of the events of Easter weekend, we can enjoy the fullness of God’s grace and forgiveness because the price of sin was paid by Jesus on the cross. So, in Easter’s to come, break out the woven baskets, hop into the Party City bunny costume at church, put on every yellow clothing item in your closet, and enjoy this life that was paved and paid by Jesus.