The problem with Easter is all the extra-biblical rubbish that we hear.
Countdown Supermarkets have been selling hot cross buns since Waitangi Day. Walk in the door of The Warehouse and you are confronted by a wall of chocolate eggs.
There is money to be made in religion.
What is most galling, however, is to have another Christian leader take to Twitter two days before Good Friday to mock Jesus Christ. Self-appointed ‘bishop’ Brian Tamaki tweeted on Wednesday:
Jesus spoke to a tree/fish/wind/water nd other things…i spoke to a $100 bill early in my life nd said "you nd all your whanau come to me"
— Bishop Brian Tamaki (@BishopTamaki) March 22, 2016
I don’t do Twitter, and just as well, because I would want to reply to Tamaki with some pretty unedifying words. I’d probably want to say something sarcastic like: “Thanks Brian, for turning a whole bunch of thinking people off Christianity. Thanks for making pastors appear as hypocritical and greedy jerks that any responsible parent would warn their children to avoid. Thanks a lot, mate!”
But, as I have reflected on Tamaki’s words more, I have become convinced that he has done something far more serious. Brian Tamaki is mocking my Lord Jesus.
You see, on Good Friday we solemnly remember that Jesus was tortured to death on the cross for our sins, as foretold in the Jewish writings of the Bible.
The New Testament tells us, that, as he hung from the cross, the Roman executioners divided his possessions amongst themselves – sandals, head scarf, outer coat and belt. The most valuable object was his undergarment, a one-piece affair that they rolled a dice for. Slim pickings by any standards.
No multimillion-dollar lifestyle property, no flash new cars, no bling-rings or teeth jobs. Of his personal wealth Jesus himself said, “Foxes have holes, and the birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man (meaning himself) has nowhere to lay his head.”
The temple leaders of the day stood around the cross in their religious finery and mocked the King of Glory as he hung naked on the cross, beaten beyond recognition and slowly dying. They mocked this Nazarene no-body by telling him to ask God for help, just like Brian Tamaki did in his rude tweet.
So, we have to forget this upsetting rubbish, and remember what Paul said:
“For I passed on to you as most important what I also received: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that He was buried, that He was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, and that He appeared to Cephas, then to the Twelve.”
– 1 Corinthians 15:3-5
Thank you, my blessed Lord Jesus. Happy Easter.