Every year the major Christian holidays and commemorations occur. Christmas, Easter, Ascension Day and Pentecost, with Easter having the most violent history. Of course, at Easter we celebrate the resurrection of Jesus, the great victory on the cross. But the road to it is painful, confrontational and is diametrically opposed to our ‘victorious thinking’ and our nature to fight for something. The road that Jesus takes to the cross is not very glorious. One of His twelve disciples is paid to betray Jesus and His most ardent follower denies Him three times. And yet those are just preliminaries to the last eighteen hours of defamation, grief, and incredible pain. And then you ask yourself, ‘Why this way?’ Couldn’t sin be dethroned and emasculated in a simpler way? It is important to realize that Jesus did not come to earth to defeat sin, but to establish a new kingdom on earth. A kingdom that is not based on dominating and oppressing others, but rather on serving, forgiving and losing. A kingdom that is not founded in violence and show of power, but in unconditional love and endless tolerance. That is exactly what Jesus answers to Pilate during his interrogation. Jesus replied, “My kingdom does not belong to this world. If my kingdom belonged to this world, my servants would have fought to prevent me from being handed over to the Jews. But my kingdom is not from here.” (John 18:36)
To establish that new kingdom of love on earth, Jesus had to endure the most brutal violence on earth. The worst thing in the world was committed by the brutal and murderous Roman Empire. And it was precisely because of them that Jesus was so despised, flogged and crucified. Jesus did not come to fight evil with evil, but to fight extreme evil with extreme love. He brought another kingdom with a completely different foundation, a kingdom not from here. Not oppression by force, but submission to God. Do not fight with murderous weapons, but fight with loving deeds.
The cross is proof that love wins. That the kingdoms of violence, the kingdoms of this world, lose out to the kingdom of love. God’s love absorbs the crudest and most brutal violence. And so Jesus establishes a new kingdom on earth, the kingdom of God, whose foundation is love and mercy for everyone who wants to be His subject. That is Easter: God’s love conquers all violence.