The story of Easter is usually told incorrectly by most Christians.
We start the story with Palm Sunday and a triumphal entry and Hosannas, then jump to Jesus on a cross, end with His resurrection, and then invite everyone to make a decision for Him. In the space of 30 minutes or so, we present Jesus as God Himself, explain that He “died for our sins,” and then say to people: “Don’t you want Him to save you, too?”
In doing so, we reduce the greatest story of all time, covering thousands of years of history, involving the greatest pursuit and deepest passion of all time, to a mere 72 hours one weekend in AD 30. That’s not to say it’s not the most important weekend in history—but in my years of telling this story, I’ve come to realize something that changed the way I tell it:
It’s a disservice to the truth of Easter when we remove the context from His coming. When we focus only on the events of the Passion Week, we don’t usually explain that what led to all of this wasn’t just God showing up in human form to die on a cross. No, what led to all of this was a promise.
Not just any promise, but the oldest promise in history. And that is where the story of passion, betrayal, jealousy, anger, captivity, escape, life, and death actually begins. It’s not the Easter Story. It’s actually what I call The Story of Love. And it doesn’t begin with Jesus. This Easter week, I’d like to take time each day to tell you that incredible story.
Part One: In the Beginning
The story of love begins before the beginning. Before there was sun and moon and stars, God looked out at the expanse of nothingness and declared, “Let there be light.” A shockwave of a moment, a supernova of brilliance, and all that is and was came to be.
“In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.” That’s how the story begins, and it’s important. “God created.” Creating something is entirely different from building it. Creation is not the same as “development” or “put together.” It implies something deeper and far more beautiful, because creation involves the heart–not just the hands.
In the act of creating the heavens and the earth, God revealed something about Himself. He shows us that He loves to enjoy creating things, and He must have enjoyed every moment! Just look at a giraffe or marvel at a platypus. Look at the shining stars in the black sky or the purple-orange hues of a sunset shining over snow-capped mountain peaks. Revel in the blue-green dance of the aurora borealis. His creativity continues to inspire and the song sung by the heavens on that first day continues to sound in the joyful rhythm of creation.
But He wasn’t done. He saved His greatest act of creation for something unique and wonderful and special, unlike anything else in all the wonders of the universe.
He made a man and a woman.
As the grand finale to his concert of creativity, He took a clump of clay and ended up with humanity. And out of all the beautiful and wonderful and crazy and amazing things created that day, only this species bears the stamp, “In His Image.”
And that is where “the Easter Story” actually begins.