The Easter Story Compels Us to Sacrifice Everything

It is the week leading up to Easter Sunday. Many of us wake up on that day in our warm and comfortable homes. We dress the whole family in our “Sunday best” so we can take a yearly family Easter photo. Then, we go to church with everyone on their best behavior (or at least pretending to be), making sure we present the image of the picture-perfect family.

On the way into the church service, we exclaim, “He is risen!” and wait for the “He is risen indeed!” response that follows. After the service ends, we go as quickly as possible to pick up the kids and get to the car, so that we can loosen our ties, head to Sunday brunch, and then home to watch sports.

“The Easter story compelled me to be available for God to use me however and wherever for his kingdom’s work.”

Now, I say some of this in jest, and this is not the experience of every believer. However, were you able to relate to this example in some way? Much of what I shared comes from my own experiences growing up in church, so I know I am not alone.

That being said, it is not bad to dress up and exclaim, “He is risen!” In fact, there are many good and God-glorifying things that happen in our churches on Easter Sunday. But these proclamations alone are not enough. As we celebrate Christ’s death and resurrection on our behalf, we should also consider what Easter compels all believers to do.

The Easter Story Is for the Unrighteous and the “Righteous”

Easter is celebrated by Christians all over the world and holds great significance for our faith. We would all agree that Easter week is about the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus. But have we stopped to consider exactly why Jesus stepped into this world to die?

Jesus provided the only way for sinners to live with him in eternity. He endured the most brutal form of death to save us from our sin. Not only that, but he died for our apparent “righteousness” as well. You see, Isaiah 64:6 says, “all our righteous acts are like a filthy rag” (ISV). This was a helpful verse for me as I grew up in church, and it was hard for me to understand the weight of my sinfulness.

However, when I realized that all the good I could do was still not enough to earn right standing with God, I was able to better understand my need for a Savior. I realized that my sin had put Jesus on the cross. I was able to fully grasp the greatness of what Jesus had done when I understood the magnitude of my sin before a holy God.

“As we meditate on the Easter story, we should all ask God where he might be leading us and our families.”

Once I understood this truth, my life changed. It compelled me to be available for God to use me however and wherever for his kingdom’s work. The Easter story compelled me to be discontent with a comfortable life, and it was the driving force behind our family moving overseas. Similarly, the Easter story has caused thousands of Christians all around the world to sacrifice their friends, families, safety, and comfort all for the sake of knowing and making known the one, true God.

What Is the Easter Story Compelling You to Do?

As we meditate on the Easter story, we should all ask God where he might be leading us and our families. That may be overseas. If not, is he calling you to your lost neighbors? Is he calling you to open your family to foster or adopt? Is he calling you to be the hands and feet of Jesus to the marginalized and hopeless?

While God may not be telling you to sell everything and move overseas, he is calling you to something for the sake of his name and renown. The best part is that he does not leave us on our own. The Easter story was not over at the crucifixion. Jesus was buried and rose again, and then he appeared to his followers and told them to wait on God.

Acts 1:8 says, “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come on you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth” (CSB). God first calls and then, through his Spirit provides the wisdom and strength needed to carry out the task. Our response is just to be faithful stewards of the gospel message.

So, in a few days Christians will gather all around the world to celebrate the most significant week in the history of all time. As you celebrate Easter, let it propel you forward to accomplish the mission of God in whatever way he calls you.

Phil Bartuska is an MDiv student at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary, where he is completing his degree in international church planting. He serves as a church planting facilitator in Vienna, Austria, with his wife, Becca, and two sons. You can find him on Twitter @Phil_Bartuska.