A tapestry is a work of art woven into a fabric, often telling a story or recording an event. God, on purpose, wove a great tapestry depicting Easter using threads of history, prophecy, traditions, and royal promises, which this essay only partially describes. Easter is a basic fabric of the Christian Faith. People are well-versed in the immediate outcome of Easter…The Resurrection. The elements of the Last Supper, the humiliation and judgment of Christ, and Cavalry lay a good foundation for the record. However, there are aspects of the background that often go unnoticed. These subtle facets add to the true richness of the tapestry, The Easter Tapestry.
A Picture’s Worth A Thousand Words
It is said a picture is worth a thousand words. The visual conveys so much more meaning than the limits of human words. Let it also be said that a tapestry is worth a thousand pictures. In a way, it is multiple images woven together to complete an essence, not achievable by a single statement or solitary picture. In the Easter narrative, the message of hope and eternal life is found in the Resurrection.
I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die;John 11:25 (NIV)
Resurrection is an incredible concept of the outcome of human life after death. It states that every human being will be granted an eternal body, not one that can return to dust. Did you pick up on everybody? That means that dust will be reunited, clay corpses will be breathed on again, and people will be recognized for who they are in physical form. The caveat is this; there is a second death, a living death after resurrection. Those who had previously accepted Christ are exempt from this death. The living death is personal consciousness in a realm with no hope, no comfort, and no favorable companionship.
Jesus’ last celebration of Passover with his close disciples was rich in the symbolic past and also in the symbolic future. Passover commemorated the night that God delivered the family of Israel from the bondage of the political world’s greatest power of that day. Jesus was getting ready to deliver mankind from the greatest metaphysical power ever, death. He paid enough ransom for everyone, His blood. That blood was a covenant sign between God and those who believe, an agreement without end. The disciples were told to remember this. Jesus also broke bread and told the twelve that this was His Body, broken to remedy sin and the diseases caused. The broken body covers the past and even future faux pas.
In order for Christ to be a complete savior, it was necessary for Him to suffer the afflictions that we as people suffer. Thus, a complete humiliation was in order from the authorities of the day, both spiritual and political. Jesus took a double dose of the political since He was “interrogated and judged” by the religious leaders and then by the world power of the time. It was thorough, brutal, and would have caused most men to die. Jesus never recanted, and He kept with the race set before Him, setting sites on the reward of a multitude in which to share eternal life.
Calvary – Part Of The Easter Tapestry Story
Calvary, The Cross, was necessary to fulfill the salvation mission. In the desert, the Israelites were beset by snakes for backbiting their leaders. God put their problem, the snake, on a pole and required the Israelites to look at it to be delivered from their sin and the wages of that sin. The snakes in the camp were the judgment the people suffered for rebellion. In Jesus, God placed Himself on a pole, on a hill, for everyone to see. The thing is, we must look at God, who became man, a man who was rejected and abused, so we can see exactly what our sin will do. The blood had to be spilled for the covenant, and Jesus had to embody death before He was the Resurrection. God’s Glory leaves no place for shadows.
All these things are part of the whole and must be at the forefront of the tapestry. There are essential persons that we tend to downplay in all these events, one being the Father. In the Bible narratives, it is reported that darkness came over the land during the last three hours of Jesus’ life. An earthquake is described in detail at the end of the three hours. One thing conspicuously absent is thunder and lightning. Thunder and lightning most always accompany dark skies. Not here. It is possible that the sun’s light was blocked by a shadow, an eclipse. Regardless, stillness on the earth was in effect for three hours.
Many think that the weather and geologic conditions were a manifestation of God the Father’s great anger with men. No thunder, no lightning. We have a clue about the Father’s real condition at the temple, where the curtain had been torn from top to bottom. God the Father was in anguish. When fathers in Israel were distraught with family matters or important events, they would grab the collars of their inner garments and tear them from top to bottom, revealing the distress of their hearts, naked to their family and the world. God was believed to dwell behind the curtain in the temple. He ripped it and bared His heart. God was so grieved that nature responded by manifesting darkness in creation during the last hours and the breaking of His heart in the earthquake. There was no anger in this event. No thunder, no lightning.
Another person, the Holy Spirit, played an unseen but vital role in this event. The Son of God was dead, if only for an instant, still dead. One must die before one can be raised from the dead. God the Father is emotionally compromised; think about it. His only begotten Son was on the cross, His Son whom He loved very much…dead. Men have attributes of God; what man would not have been emotionally affected by the execution of an innocent child? The Holy Ghost hovered over the face of the earth and held things together. Don’t think for one minute that Satan and the powers of Hell would not have taken advantage of an unguarded world at this crucial time.
Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters.Genesis 1:2 (NIV)
For all practical purposes, the earth was under darkness and in chaos at Cavalry. Just like the earth was void and without form at the beginning of the creation narrative, so, too, it was at the beginning of this magnificent age of new birth and the resurrection of Jesus Christ.
The Easter tapestry is filled with wonderful bright colors; however, dark shading contributes to the majesty of such a work of art. For our benefit, God did not spare His Son, and for our fullness, He will not spare us from the complete picture of Calvary. Now, then, may your thoughts of Easter be filled with the glorious wonder of God’s great redemption and the keeping of His covenant with those who embrace His Son, even Eternal Life.
Feature Image: Bigstock.com | Scripture quotations marked NIV are taken from THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.