A Different Look at Easter
Two rebels were crucified with him, one on his right and one on his left.
- Matthew 27:38
Easter tends to be a holiday when we’re big on new life, which is certainly appropriate! But sometimes that trickles down into pretty pastels and generic sayings about God’s sweet love. In the sermon yesterday, Brenna Rubio was anything but generic or sweet.
She pointed out how ordinary thieves were not crucified. The ones who got crucified were the ones who fought against the empire, who tried to subvert it, who had a different view of freedom. Some might call them ‘rebels;’ you could also call them ‘freedom fighters.’ Not that those who suffered with Jesus hadn’t done anything wrong in their lives; nope, they were just like us in that way. But perhaps their biggest crime was resisting the reigning empire.
Dr. Christena Cleveland brings a fresh perspective to this text, doing some active imagining of how there are many today - especially African American men - who have run up against the reigning empire in the wrong way (1 out of 3 black boys can expect prison time in their life, as opposed to 1 in 17 white boys). She imagines Jesus as a black mother:
She knows exactly who is on the cross next to Her. And as a victim of state-sanctioned violence Herself, surely She sees that this “criminal” isn’t a criminal at all. He’s a beautiful black boy whose joy has been extinguished by all of the forces of his anti-black society. Surely, She sees that he has believed the lie that society has fed him – the lie that he deserves to be up on that cross, that he deserves the worst of it. - Christena Cleveland
So what if the forgiveness and freedom Jesus intends to bring includes the person salvation of every soul as well as the (rebellious) dismantling of the empire that crushes so many under its weight? What does that say about the resurrection? What does it say about how we carry the hope of Jesus into our lives today?
Talk with Jesus about whatever is on your heart today, whether it’s hope or frustration, healing or anger.