Whatever your view of the Christian faith, the Bible or Jesus, the Easter story is a beautiful example of the enduring power of story.
After all, few stories have traveled the world with as much potent ability to captivate and transform.
That means you don’t have to believe to benefit.
So, for a moment, let’s put aside any religious context and focus on why this story has transcended time and space, compelling generations.
Really, when you think about it, part of the potency of the Easter story is in the emotions it evokes.
It’s difficult to remain neutral after reading it. You love it or hate it.
Isn’t that what we want from our own stories? A powerful evocative experience?
A friend told me that he was out to lunch when he overheard a group of clergy say something to each other: “You just have to come at it with an open mind to get the most out of it.”
From that perspective, then, let’s see if we can pull out some story secrets from Easter.
Jesus as Spiritual Superhero
One of best things a writer can master is developing compelling characters.
For many, Jesus is one of the most compelling characters ever.
Consider that the character of Jesus is described as God descending to earth as a man. Now think of the modern day superhero Thor from the Avengers movies.
A god in the flesh.
If nothing else, this is a compelling backstory with instant appeal.
Then, of course, there are the superpowers. Miracles ranging from so called party tricks to pardoning sins, from multiplying fish to making predictions, from redirecting resistance to raising the dead.
Characters with superhuman powers have always captivated the hearts and minds of humanity.
Jesus as Hero
Thoughout his story (including the Easter portion with his death and resurrection), Jesus displays all the qualities we love in our celebrated heroes and heroines.
Here is a short list:
- Helping others
- Standing up for others
We love Heroes who use strength to serve others, to spare others from suffering and – ultimately – to save others.
Nearly every hero in books, tv or movies embody these traits. It’s no wonder, then, that so many have lauded these same traits in the Easter story.
Sacrifice is perhaps the highest trait of heroes. They give thier lives for others even as they stay true to higher values.
Consider the crucifixion. If you follow the narrative, Jesus allows himself to be captured and tortured and executed.
This kind of self sacrifice for the greater good has always been compelling.
Compare it to two blockbuster movies: Braveheart and Armageddon. In those stories, the strong hero sacrifices himself for his beliefs and for others.
Is it any wonder that the Easter story draws so much attention?
If you want to excavate even more story secrets from Easter, I encourage you to read the source material.
Approach the prose from a narrative perspective —I think you’ll be amazed at the literary insights.
Here are a few links for you to peruse:
Why the gospels? They are all about the life (and death) of Jesus.
When you read them, you’ll get different points of view of the same story – like a prism of perspectives – which, naturally, can enhance your own understanding of narrative dynamics that enthrall generations of readers.