The weeks leading up to Easter are typically regarded as the time that believers intentionally consider Jesus’s life, death, and resurrection. In years past, I have commemorated the season in several different ways: giving up certain comforts for Lent, fasting for Easter weekend, twenty-four-hour prayer on Good Friday. All of them have served a significant purpose.
One practice, in particular, has been deeply beneficial to my Lenten and Easter reflection: making playlists! Singing is one of my favorite ways to remind myself of the truths of the Gospel. Every year I sit down to update or re-create my Easter playlist becomes a sweet time of worship. Here are three of my favorite songs for Easter reflection.
1. “Sweet Victory” – Trip Lee
In 2 Corinthians, the apostle Paul describes believers as jars of clay with treasure inside. This is “to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us” (2 Cor. 4:7).
“Sweet Victory” paints a vivid picture of what it looks like for us to “carry around in our body the death of Jesus so that the life of Jesus may be revealed in our body” (2 Cor. 4:10).
Trip Lee speaks of his weaknesses (a chronic physical ailment, for example) and how Christ’s victory on the cross triumphs in spite of them: “They’re like I hear you talking wins but I see your losses/ You celebrating crowns but I see your crosses…When I say I win, I don’t mean the state I’m in/I mean that day when the gray skies fade out then/I’m winning cause I reign with Him”
This is our collective testimony! Through his resurrection, Christ proved that he was victorious over all things. Every weakness and dysfunction created by the Fall—including death—is destroyed because he lives.
2. “I Know My Redeemer Liveth” – Handel’s Messiah
“I know that my redeemer liveth and that he shall stand at the latter day, upon the earth”
I’d always thought Handel’s Messiah was reserved for Christmas until I really listened to the words of this song. Job declared this gospel truth during the most painful, disorienting time in his life. Little did he know he was prophesying a future Redeemer.
One of my favorite lines is “And though worms destroy this body/Yet in my flesh shall I see God.” I’m reminded of 2 Corinthians 4:16-18 and how even though “our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day.” This is only possible because of Jesus’s resurrection! We can look forward to a day where we will be transformed. Because of this, we don’t need to lose heart – the health of our earthly bodies can never outweigh the eternal life we experience as we know Jesus day by day. He is strengthening our inner selves for life in him now and with him in the future.
3. “Done” — One House Worship
A line of this song that stands out to me says “You are with us/that changes everything.” One of the most significant realizations for me as a college student came after I learned John 17:3, “Now this is eternal life: that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent.” Up until that point, I’d always thought of “eternal life” as something that would happen on a faraway day once I entered heaven. When I understood that knowing Jesus meant that I could experience the security and joy of life in him—on this earth—my mind was blown. I had been making my Christian life complicated in so many ways. It was as if God were helping me to take my hands off of everything I thought I had control over and focus on knowing him.
Before he took his final breaths on the cross, Jesus declared “it is finished” (John 19:30). But what did this mean? What was finished? The cross was the culmination of Christ’s commitment to us through his fulfillment of the law (Matt. 5:17). He perfectly lived out every area of human life in order to be the sacrifice for sin that we needed (2 Cor. 5:21).
The repetition in this song is such a reminder to my heart that because “It is finished/sealed in heaven” means that I am free! My salvation is sealed by the Holy Spirit (Eph.1:13) and the penalties of my sin have been paid. When I am tempted to believe that what I do defines who I am, I am reminded that “it is finished.” In the seasons that I struggle with sin and discouragement, “it is finished.” Before I had the capacity to love him, Jesus proclaimed, “it is finished.”
I am so thankful for the songs that God has used during this Easter season to draw my heart and mind to remember all he has done! How can we do anything but celebrate when we think about the life we have been given?