I get that Jesus had to die as a sacrificial lamb. As explained clearly enough, the high priests then would usually consecrate a lamb as an offering, primarily for the atonement of sins of the Jewish people. Rather than offer any animal as holocaust, it was his own body that was offered up in the most gruesome and horrific manner. His life for our lives. Ransom payment so that we have a chance at eternal happiness. At the rate we have been 'trespassing' since we started to exercise our free will, we'd probably have to sacrifice entire herds of lambs, and other animals just to be able to cleanse our dirtied souls.
But why resurrect from that horrible death?
Perhaps it was to show that he was no ordinary prophet. He was Son of God. It certainly set Christianity apart, to have our prophet/God die then live again for eternity. Are there other religions that could claim as much? Talk about bragging rights.
I dare reason something else. Jesus' resurrection from the death not only shows his power over death. It is actually showing that He will always live. He cannot die. He cannot be killed or murdered. He will live again.
And this means much more to me. More than two thousand years ago, I looked at His Death as the sacrifice needed to forgive the sins of His people at that moment in time. But what about the sins they are about to be commit (or omit)? And the sins of those who are still be born and baptized, including us? My answer: His Resurrection was the supreme solution. By showing us that though he died, he would rise again, he showed that he could never really be 'killed by our sins, past, present and future.' Sin after sin will still be committed, maybe much more than during his time. But because He resurrected, all those sins will still be forgiven.
To dramatize the point, I imagine that He didn't ascend soon after. He continued to preach as a resurrected human being. He would gain even more converts. That would not just threaten the Pharisees but even Rome itself. They would plot to kill him again, just to silence him.
Meanwhile, despite the beauty of his message of love, his Gospel of love, there would still be hate. There would still be violence, some done by his own followers. Sins start accumulating again. So the meek lamb that He is would subject himself again to his tormentors so that sins are forgiven again. Then he dies in a different yet even more cruel way, to extinguish his person and his memory.
And yet again, more dramatically perhaps, He would be resurrected. He would live again. Again. and Again.
It is that duality of His Death and Resurrection that conquered sin once and for all. Jesus tells me that the ritualistic offering has been done. And unlike in times past when people would go back to their old ways once the ritual sacrifice has been done, Jesus tells me to focus not on the ritual but on his Message of Love and living that message.
For me, when He asked us to "do this in memory of me", it is to remind me of Jesus and his life, death and resurrection. So I am reminded to keep on pondering on his Word and seeking to live a life with 'less sin'. And being so human, I forget. Celebrating the Eucharist every week reminds me constantly.
Jesus tells me. "My sins are forgiven. Go and sin no more."
For me to sin no more, in a world where motives and intentions could still lead to evil, he tells me to listen to him and his words, to study his life and his ways.
As I look for how to "sin no more" in my day-to-day life, I just have to look at his teachings and even his life, his own day-to-day and be guided. "I am the Way."
And sometimes, when I don't know what is real anymore, I don't have to look anywhere else. "I am the Truth." "I am the Way."
And as I yearn to live a more fulfilling life, I turn to him again and I am assured. "I am the Life."
A Blessed Easter to you all.