A few years ago, my wife was at a café with her friend, Fiona. Fiona ordered a large, freshly-squeezed orange juice but, within a few minutes, my wife managed to knock the whole glass of juice all over her friend. Fiona was covered in orange fruit pulp, dripping and wet. Across the road from the café was a groovy little clothing shop, so my wife left her friend in the toilet of the café and went and bought Fiona a new outfit to wear. They laughed about the story for years afterwards.
In his letter to the church at Colossae, the Apostle Paul says this in chapter 1:
19“For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him, 20and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross. 21Once you were alienated from God and were enemies in your minds because of your evil behaviour. 22But now he has reconciled you by Christ’s physical body through death to present you holy in his sight, without blemish and free from accusation— 23 if you continue in your faith, established and firm, and do not move from the hope held out in the gospel.”
This small section of the Bible is telling us about the very heart of Easter; that through the death and resurrection of Jesus we can be reconciled to God and become holy, without blemish and free from accusation.
This is similar to what happened with my wife and her friend: Jesus offers us a new set of clothing to wear. We can take off the clothes that are soiled and blemished by sin and we can accept, as a gift, new clothing which is clean, unstained and unspoiled.
Easter speaks to us about who we really are and what we really need. The cross of Easter tells us that we are alienated from God, cut off from His goodness and grace by the filthy stain of our own brokenness, selfishness and error – that is who we really are. It’s a hard truth to sit with, but sit with it we must.
Easter also speaks to us about what we really need. As broken, frail people, we desperately need reconciliation with God. We need His goodness and we need His grace. Jesus offers us all this. This is what the Apostle Paul means when he says, “the hope that is held out to us in the gospel.” This hope is in the very heart of the Easter story.
We are not able to pull ourselves out of the stained and soiled clothing we wear but we have one who holds out clean, new clothes to us and asks only that we put them on. Then we will be truly without blemish and free from accusation. What amazing grace.