When growing up, my family observed about every known Easter tradition. Safe to say, we had Easter well covered. For me new clothes held a close second only to finding a hidden basket filled with chocolate and jellybeans.
My parents never attempted to make a spiritual connection to our colorful, candy-stuffed baskets. They did, however, provide a simple explanation for our new outfits: Jesus rose from the grave; new things await those who trust in him. (An accepted, historical understanding of new clothes comes from Lent. At one point in time people wore the same clothing all forty days of Lent and then discarded them for new clothes in celebration of the resurrection.)
Connecting new life in Christ to clothing has its limits, but what we find in Scripture about the resurrection and what this brings to our lives is immeasurable. Easter reminds us to celebrate all that God makes new.
We can trace God’s plan for us to leave the old and embrace the new throughout the Bible. In Genesis, our gloriously created life faded quickly in Adam. But, God begins the telling of the promise of conquering spiritual death through the resurrection, resulting in new life in Christ.
Then Isaiah 43:18-19 offers instruction to transform our lives. “Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing!” Here’s the bottom line. Need new clothes? Get rid of any that have lost their usefulness. Make room.
Want to welcome every new thing God has for you? Stop staying stuck in old ways, thoughts, and practices God has put in the dead file.
In the Psalms we find over seventy references to singing; even a shout of joy qualifies as singing. The Psalmist encourages us to present to the Lord a new song (Ps. 33:3a), day-in and day-out. Our voices of praise become a testimony to others of his faithfulness, mercies, and salvation.
“Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness” (Lam. 3:22-23). The Israelites’ constant failures resemble many of my own. God demonstrates mind-boggling compassion over our failures. We receive a fresh beginning because of his unfailing love, every new day.
Though Israel first received the promise of a new covenant in Jeremiah 31:31, later the memo came our way that the gift of the cross extends to all. The forgiveness of sin offers a new, unencumbered fellowship with God.
A few days after the cross, Jesus, the Christ, Son of the living God, walked out from his tomb, and the word new suddenly exploded in all directions. Christ’s victory over death brought:
- New life to men and women.
- A new nature to subdue sin.
- New empowerment to live godly lives through the Holy Spirit.
- New gifts to equip us in service to one another.
To top it off, one day believers will have new bodies, new names, a new heaven and a new earth. That’s a whole lot of new promised to us because Christ lives!
Easter Sunday represents more than new clothes. It shouts, embrace the new! Embrace the reality of Christ’s declaration: “…I am making all things new” (Rev. 21:5)!