When Easter rolls around, most people begin to think about Christ’s actions of defeating death and saving humans from their sins. But lately, my mind has taken a slightly different Biblical approach to this holiday.
I’m currently reading the book of Exodus. We are all familiar with the part of the narrative where God miraculously releases the Israelites from the Egyptians and God speaks to Moses at Mount Sinai. However in the later chapters of Exodus, the tabernacle culture begins to develop more strongly.
The tabernacle structure consisted of the Holy of Holies, Holy Place, Levites, and the twelve tribes. The Holy of Holies was the center of the tabernacle, where the Ark of the Covenant resided, and where God’s presence was the strongest. The Holy Place was outside of this area. The Levites were on the outside of this with the purpose of protection. Lastly, the twelve tribes were on the outskirts.
So you might be asking why I’m choosing to write all of these details. Instead of God only speaking to Moses on Mount Sinai, God made it possible for His presence to be with this tabernacle. Wherever this structure moved, God chose to continue to dwell there. He chose not to merely be restricted to a mountain, but to physically be with His people in the wilderness. This shows his character, full of grace.
What does this have to do with Easter? When Christ died on the cross, yes, he did it for our sins. But more importantly, he did it to be even closer to His people. Because Jesus sacrificed His life, the need for traditional sacrifices and burnt offerings were removed. Because of this, not only priests can experience Him; the hurting, the broken, the sick, the outcasts can all draw near and have real relationships with their Creator.
And behold, the curtain of the temple was torn in two, from top to bottom. And the earth shook, and the rocks were split. (Matthew 27:51)
He made a way to be with His people in the wilderness. But later, He made the ultimate sacrifice to be in the day by day moments of all of His people. The veil separated the Holy of Holies, the place where God’s presence resided. He broke the divisions to be with his people. His presence is not merely limited to a structure, but can be accessed by all.
Therefore, this Easter we should acknowledge that Christ desires to be with us, so much so, that he made this decision to die on the cross. However, because of his resurrection, we can choose to have a lifestyle like the Israelites— physically centered around God. He defeated death and his presence is still available to dwell with us.