Repost from Easter 2019
Does anyone get new clothes for Easter?
A few years ago I started a new tradition in my house, of buying my kids an outfit instead of Easter eggs. Probably not the wisest move as outfit tends to cost a lot more than a chocolate egg.
But hey! Any excuse for new clothes right?!
Back in 2014 on 8th March, I became a Christian… whoop!
Believe me, when I say there was probably no one more shocked about that decision than me. I didn’t see that thunderbolt coming. No, actually I did see it coming, I had been thinking about it for weeks. I did my best to deny it as long as I could.
Not long after I made my commitment to God, Easter came round and the Good Friday service was announced. Yippee, my first official Christian holiday celebration. Honestly, before this all Easter meant was chocolate eggs and stressful days out with the kids, sitting in traffic for hours on end. It was a no big deal thing. This year, however, I was a Christian. I could take communion, you know, surely that made me more official once I had taken communion for the first time? Like, come on, putting the whole Jesus bled and died for me aside for a second, everyone knows y’ all a REAL Christian when u take the communion. (not really but in my immaturity, I probably thought something along those lines)
In church on a Friday night when I sat down in my seat a lady in the row behind, who obviously knew me better than I knew her, leant forward and put her hand on my shoulder and said, “oh Terri this must be so special for you”. I answered with a polite yip sure is. (eye roll, alright love, calm down it’s only a grape juice and some crusty bread I thought to myself) But the thing was, this lady understood something that I hadn’t fully grasped at that stage. Communion on Good Friday wasn’t the ordination into the Club de la biblical bashing, everyone who joins gets a free shot!.
No, it was an act in remembrance of Jesus’ death on the cross and the atonement for my sins. Slate cleaned, new leaf, fresh sheet. Jesus dead = me free. For a very long time, I had ruled myself out of a relationship with God because… Well, my lifestyle choices and bad choices (ya know the disrespecting parents, smoking drinking, lies, sex before marriage, swearing like a trooper, they didn’t really fit the good little Christian girl profile. I had made the “sin” that was in my life and also the consequences of that sin too. I felt ashamed of my past and the person I had become, so the good life wasn’t an option for me.
But was I wrong?
Firstly this idea of sin.
Eden is quite well known even for people who don’t know the Bible. Everyone knows about our Eve, the original bad girl. WARNING! contains nudity. So I’m going to jump in with Eve being tricked by the serpent. She disobeyed God’s orders and ate from the only tree she forbidden to eat from. Sound familiar? Don’t we always want the things we aren’t allowed, eh?
The moment THEY (Because Ad’s knew the score and did what the wifey told him) ate the fruit their eyes were opened and they suddenly felt the shame of their nakedness. Adam and the Missus realised they were completely starkers and headed for the nearest bush to get their bits covered. That evening when God dropped by for a visit, this pair of scoundrels thought they’d have a game of peekaboo with the creator of the universe (and you think I’m bad for a little resistance to conviction). Obviously, God knew the score but quizzed them and, what do you know, Adam squealed the heap and passed the buck on to his lovely lady. So in turn obviously poor wee Eve is going to blame it on the serpent that convinced her to eat that darn fruit. ( I feel a, you are only one responsible for your actions lecture coming on) This is always the case, the enemy wants to convince us we are missing out and lures us with deception and lies.
A pretty well-known story so far?!
Now all the finger pointing and blaming each other is all out in the open. Now it’s time for the consequences. Right! Nope, Big Daddy, God goes to the enemy first, the serpent that lured Eve in with the lies. God curses that overrated worm to a life licking the dust.
( come on who’s the daddy)
“Then the Lord God said to the serpent, “Because you have done this, you are cursed more than all animals, domestic and wild. You will crawl on your belly, grovelling in the dust as long as you live. And I will cause hostility between you and the woman, and between your offspring and her offspring. He will strike your head, and you will strike his heel.””
Genesis 3:14-15 NLT
For me, this was a big deal. This was a big eye-opener to what God’s character actually is, rather than what I assumed and had believed it to be. I know it’s often misunderstood to be God hates sinners. God doesn’t hate the sinner. God hates the sin.
Next up, this wicked, scary I’ll send you to hell for sinning God (or at least that’s what I believed of God) does what?! Says, well you made your bed, you can lie in it and live in your shameful naked state?
“And the Lord God made clothing from animal skins for Adam and his wife.”
Genesis 3:21 NLT
I wonder did God think Adam and Eve had done a really wick job of making their fig tree clothes? Why did God make their clothes? And of all the things he could have made them out of really, animal skin.. yuk!
Hold up!! Until then, there had been no death of any kind in Eden, no sin of any kind, no pain, suffering or sorrow.
I’m guessing these animals were not skinned alive, they had to be killed, right?! These animals had to be sacrificed to make clothes for Adam and Eve so they could have clothes cover their shame of being naked.
Ringing any bells?? When else was someone sacrificed to cover sin and shame? In his study Bible, Spurgeon, who is known as one of the greatest Christian preachers, writes, “and we know who died in order that we might be robed in spotless righteousness. The Lamb of God has made for us a garment that covers our nakedness so that we are not afraid to stand even before the bar of God.”
That shame and guilt of my sin that had kept me from having a relationship with God for all of those years. The God that I thought was angry, cross God that put people who were bad in hell and people who were good in heaven. This really scary, angry, cross God, who hands out all sorts of punishment, actually went head to head with the enemy and sent Jesus, completely sinless and innocent into the world, to live as a human, be betrayed and killed on a cross to pay the price and clear the debt of sin, so we could receive forgiveness for everything we had done wrong and, bonus time, because he rose again on the third day and conquered death. we get to spend eternity with him in Heaven.
“Jesus told her, “I am the resurrection and the life. Anyone who believes in me will live, even after dying.”
John 11:25 NLT
So yes! to that lady who has now become such a precious friend to me. Easter is very special to me. As is every day since that 8/3/14 when I declare the power of the cross, that I am no longer bound in shame and guilt of the mistakes I’ve made in my past because Jesus set me free. His perfect love his sacrifice on the cross provided me with a garment of righteousness. Clothed in dignity,
“This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun!”
2 Corinthians 5:17 NLT
So this Easter I encourage you if you are considering sprucing up your wardrobe. You Consider wearing the clothes Jesus paid for you to wear. And accepting Jesus as the Lord and saviour of your life. Nothing will look as good on you as that!