The events in the life of Jesus bring meaning to the events of our own. Theologians call this Identification with Christ. I call it discoveringYour Easter I.D.
“I want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection.” —The Apostle Paul (Phil. 3:12)
Maggie McKinney, an 8th grade Spanish teacher, faced a personal Gethsemane herself two decades into her marriage. She describes it this way: “When my husband of 20 years and I separated, people called, wrote letters, came visiting. Some promised, ‘You’ll marry again soon—and next time your marriage will last.’ Others said, ‘You’re better off single.’ Almost everyone encouraged me, ‘Go for it!’”
Eighteen months later, when Maggie and her husband decided to give their marriage a second shot, support was limited at best and often non-existent: “’I heard you two are back together,’ said one caller. ‘I hope it isn’t true.’ Another asked, ‘Are you sure you want to risk going through this again?’ ‘When something is dead,’ a minister told me, ‘you need to bury it.’”
There is something cold and callous in the ring of the minister’s counsel—“When something is dead, you need to bury it.” Such counsel seems too stark and harsh when addressing something as significant as a 20-year-long marriage.
No doubt, however, Maggie’s array of advisors had watched her on some of her darkest days. They had seen the anguish and disillusionment on her face when she had discussed her marriage. They heard her grappling for hope. They saw the tears. Watching her heart fighting to navigate the hurts and hurdles of it all was difficult. Somehow the thoughts of a Plan B, of just being rid of the struggle, seemed a lesser burden to bear than trying to weather it. Why, it only made sense—common sense, that is.
Jesus turned the Kingdom of Common Sense on its head in more ways than one. Just think of it: To blood-thirsty zealots he insisted “love your enemy” and “bless those who persecute you.” To his often-vengeful disciples he upped the tally for required acts of forgiveness from seven to “70 times seven”. And to a young bereaved sister named Martha, whose beloved brother Lazarus (a close friend of Jesus’) had just died, he made it clear that the Resurrection was more than simply a coming prophetic event.
“’Lord,’ Martha said to Jesus, ‘if you had been here, my brother would not have died. But I know that even now God will give you whatever you ask.’ Jesus said to her, ‘Your brother will rise again.’ Martha answered, ‘I know he will rise again in the resurrection at the last day.’ “Jesus said to her, ‘I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies; and whoever lives and believes in me will never die. Do you believe this?’” (John 11:21-26).