My 33rd birthday fell on Easter Sunday. In my lifetime the latest Easter has ever been was April 23rd, in 2000. My first thought at realizing that year’s date was “I will be the age Jesus was when He died on that cross”. Then I thought, “What have I done in my 33 years that could possibly compare to His?” I had been thinking on this for months. Then it hit me that the truth is more beautiful than anything I could come up with: I don’t need to compare because what He did replaces what I’ve done, and all I ever will do.
In the spring we celebrate new life: from death, life; death allows new birth; what was dead will rise again to new life. “We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life.” (Romans 6:4). Flowers die and drop their seeds; winter insulates, spring sprouts new life from soil made rich by last year’s decomposed flora. The season of death is finished and life abundant blooms in the earth to feel the sun on its face. All the world celebrates spring in one way or another; it means Life.
I don’t believe it’s coincidence that God chose spring for the Death and Resurrection of His Son. Passover, the Jewish celebration of liberation from Egyptian slavery, is in spring. God sent ten plagues on the Egyptians before Pharoah’s hardened heart finally relented and let the people go. Read the full story in Exodus – there are so many parallels to Christ! The night before the Exodus – the escape from Egypt – the Israelites were to sacrifice a spotless lamb for their last meal. They were to paint the blood from the lambs on their doorposts. This would be a sign for the angel of death to “pass over” their homes, sparing their firstborn sons from the tenth and final plaque.
Jesus went to Jerusalem for Passover that year (despite the intense political turmoil and danger to Himself, or perhaps we could say that it was for these very reasons?). He entered the city on the very day the sacrificial lambs were brought to the Temple for inspection. During this time, Jesus was also “inspected” – interrogated and judged – by the High Priest ruling officials. They nailed him to the cross on Passover. He is the ultimate fulfillment of Passover; the sacrificial Lamb who took our place when the Angel of Death came over us; the Firstfruits Son who paid the price for sin.
He is the Death-Defeater and the Life-Giver. He is our Passover Lamb and our Firstfruits Sacrifice. His Death means our Life. My birthday on Easter is God’s picture to me that Easter is every Christian’s birthday – the celebration of our birth into Eternal Life with God. The season of Death is finished and Life abundant blooms in us to feel the Son on our faces.