Easter is about sin. And redemption. And the wrath of God.
Our ticklish ears no longer desire to hear this Truth. We prefer to ignore that there is such a thing as God’s wrath. The realization of it makes us uneasy, so we dismiss it. Others try to believe there is no such thing. They argue that God is loving and merciful, and therefore God’s anger is merely a bogeyman with which to frighten naughty children. Some Christians (and others) confuse the God of the Old Testament and The God of the New Testament. They see them as two different Gods, the Old Testament God being one of wrath and judgment, and the New Testament God being love and forgiveness. These composite denials lead to the Worldview of Pluralism, the moral relativistic theory that there are many paths to God. This lie from the pit of Hell completely denies the Providence of Easter – that Jesus lived, died on the cross, and rose again on the third day. God did not allow His only Son to suffer the anguish and horror of Crucifixion that there would be a middle way.
The Truth is that the God of the Old Testament is the God of the New Testament. He is immutable. Along with His other attributes, the attributes of love and wrath are equal parts of His character. It is true that God’s wrath is on display in the Old Testament. However, the greatest wrath ever poured out by God was not in the Old Testament. It was the sin of the world poured out on His son Jesus as He hung on a Roman cross. It was poured out so that our sin could be redeemed. So that we would have a path back to the God of Creation
Sin exists and is abhorrent to God. God does not negotiate sin. Never has. Never will. Sin calls down the wrath of God. Coming face to face with this Truth is essential for our salvation. Only if we understand and accept the Truth of sin can we have eternal life in the Kingdom of God. If we do not, we will have eternal life in that other place. And make no mistake, Hell is a real place.
Some get the Truth of the cross on its face. Others of us don’t get it right away. We gather information. Then it must settle within our hearts. Only when we have fully digested what we’ve learned, does the Truth sink in.
On the road to Emmaus Jesus does not reveal Himself to the men while they are on the road. He waits until they have arrived at their destination and are preparing to enjoy a meal before He allows the men’s eyes to be opened. The men do not seem extraordinarily surprised when they finally realize it had been Jesus that whole time; “Were not our hearts burning within us while He talked with us on the road and opened the Scriptures to us?” (Luke 24:32) It took a little time for their hearts and their heads to catch up with each other, but they finally did, and they knew the truth instantly and completely.
We can never truly move on from the magnificence of Easter without fully understanding the display of God’s love and wrath at the cross. And the miracle of the third day.