The Joys of Easter

Lindsay Omdahl

My favorite thing about Easter when I was little wasn’t looking for eggs on Sunday, but finding them unexpectedly once Easter was over. In my family, there always seemed to be a few eggs that the Easter bunny hid so stealthily that they were forgotten about until you went to use your spring jacket or opened up the cupboard for cleaning supplies. I even remember one time being ecstatic when I found a blue egg in my polar-bear purse in August. Therefore, it might not come as a surprise that my favorite part about Easter as a semi-adult is not Resurrection Sunday, but the unexpected way Jesus shows up in the days following it.

But let’s back up and first look at what Jesus went through just days before He died. Judas, one of his disciples, betrayed him by giving him over to authorities for a monetary reward (Luke 22). Peter, another disciple, boldly told Jesus, “Even if I must die with you, I will not deny you!” only to deny him out of fear on three separate occasions shortly after (Matthew 26). The same crowds who shouted praises to Jesus on Palm Sunday, later shouted “Crucify him!” and voted to release a known criminal instead of him (Luke 23).

Okay, most of us know what happens next: Jesus is crucified, defeats death, rises from the grave, and comes back in total and complete glory!

But let’s pause and think for a second. If you had experienced the betrayal, the hurt, the comparison, the rejection, and the loneliness that Jesus had before your death, and then you got the chance to come back to those same people who afflicted all of those things upon you, what would you do?

Although I’ve never been traded to a government official for money or had a crowd tell me that I am worse than a convicted felon, I have felt betrayed by a loved one or misjudged by another. And I have reacted to these afflictions by seeking worldly victory, seeking to prove my worth, or seeking to redeem the status I have lost.

But Jesus seeks something else.

Just hours before He died, Jesus prayed in anguish to God, “Father, if you are willing, remove this cup from me. Nevertheless, not my will, but yours, be done” (Luke 22:42).

Even in the midst of brutal hurt, Jesus seeks to do the will of the Father. Earlier in his ministry, Jesus explains what that is: “For this is the will of my Father, that everyone who looks on the Son and believes in him should have eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day” (John 6:40).

In seeking the Father’s will, Jesus was seeking the sacrifice that would bring us eternal life. In seeking the Father’s will, Jesus was seeking us.

But here is my favorite part: Jesus’ pursuit of the lost didn’t end after the resurrection on Easter Sunday. He continues to seek those who don’t deserve it even in the days following his triumph.

Thomas, one of Jesus’ disciples, was told of Jesus return but refused to believe saying, “Unless I see in his hands the mark of the nail, and place my fingers into the mark of the nails, and place my hand into his side, I will never believe” (John 20:25). Although He didn’t have to, Jesus approached Thomas specifically and told him to place his hands on the injuries.

Jesus seeks us in our stubbornness, disbelief, and doubt.

Mary Magdalene, a follower of Jesus, was weeping by Jesus’ empty tomb, scared of what had happened to her Savior and unsure of what was to come. Jesus came to her, but she did not know who He was. It wasn’t until Jesus called her by name that Mary recognized her Lord and rejoiced (John 20: 11-16).

Jesus seeks us in our sorrow, mourning, and uncertainty. He seeks us out as individuals, calling us by name.  

Two men were on their way to a village called Emmaus when Jesus started walking with them. They did not recognize him, but as they talked Jesus explained the scriptures, the prophets, and even himself to them. It wasn’t until they all ate a meal together the men recognized him as the Messiah (Luke 24:13-31).

Jesus seeks us in our blindness and ignorance. He is patient in building relationship with us.

Peter, the disciple who denied Jesus on three occasions, was fishing when Jesus came to him on the shore (John 21). He asks Peter three times in a row, “Do you love me?” as if to remove his three denials with an assurance of love.

Jesus seeks us in our shame, sin, and imperfection. He replaces failure with love.

Do you understand how mind-blowing Jesus’ actions are? Jesus had every right to come back to this earth and demand belief for what He had accomplished. But instead, He doesn’t just offer salvation to those who have wronged or doubted him, but He seeks them out. He looks at those who don’t deserve it and actively, individually, intentionally, uniquely and lovingly seeks each person to give them exactly what they need.

We rejoice because Resurrection Sunday is the epitome of our faith. But, we also rejoice because Resurrection Sunday is just the beginning of Jesus’ work in our lives. Even today, He is still searching, pursuing, chasing, desiring and seeking. He is calling you by name (Isaiah 43:1).