The story is told of a young strong man pulling a cart filled with cloths. As he travels, he calls out, “Rags! Rags! New rags for old!” On his journey he encounters a number of people with a variety of burdens: a young woman grieving the loss of a child, an old man bent and broken with the weight of the world on his shoulders, a one-armed man unable to find work. At each meeting, the young man trades one of his fresh linen cloths with the tired and worn rags the people are using to dry their own eyes. With each exchange, the Ragman seems to take on the burden or handicap of the people. At the end of the day, the watcher who tells the story realizes that the Ragman is none other than the Christ, exchanging new lives for old. (“The Ragman” in Easter Stories, compiled by Miriam LeBlanc)

And that is Easter—Christ exchanging new lives for old. He died on a cross, taking the place of every sinner; taking on His sinless shoulders the sin of every person, and so conquered sin. Then, on the third day, He rose again and so conquered death. In this sacrificial and merciful act He exchanged His perfect life for my imperfect one, He traded my death for His life.

This is the message of Easter available for anyone who believes. Have you received the exchange today? Listen, He calls to you, “Rags! Rags! New rags for old! New lives for old!”

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away, and look, new things have come.  — 2 Corinthians 5:17