Easter! That beautiful time of year when winter melts into spring and forlorn spirits transform into cheerful vigor. Stores replace drab colors with bright hues and the somewhat scary looking Easter bunny waves to shoppers as mothers carefully purchase coordinating clothes that will photograph well for the obligatory photo before church. Restless children fidget in uncomfortable new clothing while the pastor delivers a sermon he spent weeks preparing in hopes of reaching yearly attendees. At last, it is home where baskets wait with chocolate bunnies, marshmallow peeps and other small treats. The yard is speckled with colored eggs and children race to see who can collect the most. Oh, but there is so much more!
The first contraposition is the stark contrast of spring against the winter backdrop. So we find a parallel in our own lives. A dreary winter leaves our souls exposed. The cold inside our hearts seems to rival the freezing temperatures made worse by a bitter north wind. Our hope lies buried beneath the weight of grief, depression and despair. But, while our storms raged and our bare branches struggled against forces; while our ground lay fallow under a blanket of snow, God was preparing the gentle south wind that ushers in spring. The sun warms the air and our hearts begin to thaw. Frozen streams trickle as ice melts and releases the waters of delight. The seeds of flowers planted long ago tremble in anticipation of breaking through the clods of winter soil, and so hope appears in our hearts. The bare branches of trees break out in buds of life while birds bring back their songs of praise. Our cold hearts thaw and love breathes life back into our souls.
The bright red on the neck of the spotless white lamb is the second contraposition and without it, the first would have no significance. For the life-saving power that brings the hope of spring is found only in the innocent blood of the Lamb. Jesus is the divine fulfillment of the Old Testament sacrificial system. John the Baptist definitely answers the question posed by Isaac in Gen. 22:7-8
“The fire and wood are here,” Isaac said, “but where is the lamb for the burnt offering?”
Abraham answered, “God himself will provide the lamb for the burnt offering my son.”
When he saw Jesus passing by, he said, “Look, the Lamb of God!, who takes away the sin of the world!” John 1:36
The deeper meaning of The Lamb is found in the correlation with the innocent child who looks with awe into his face and lovingly strokes his head.
“Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. I tell you the truth, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it.” Mark 10:14-15
A child has not yet been defiled by the world. Their sincere hearts exude trust and receptiveness. They show no regard for outward distinction. They are teachable and willingly dependent. They have the attitude needed to approach The Lamb whose very character is meek and lowly in heart, gentle and unresisting. The Lamb who loves us so much that despite our vile character, in vicarious obedience, in deep humility and self-surrender, suffered our fate so that we might have life. In this life is the hope of spring after the death of winter. That is Easter!