When I was a kid, Easter was all about the Easter Bunny - and lots of candy.
Easter morning greeted me with lots of candy and assorted sugar delights neatly stuffed in a bag on the kitchen table.
The crown jewel in that bag was a huge, hollow Easter bunny almost as big as me! I loved it. I knew that there was more to the story but didn’t really bother to investigate.
I was a kid and chocolate overrules theology every time.
For the Christian, Easter is the most important of the holidays. Easter celebrates the historical event of Jesus Christ rising from the dead. This is at the very heart and foundation of the Christian religion.
Wwhy is it so important that Jesus rose from the dead? Why do Christians from all over the world celebrate it with the fanfare afforded a rock star?
The Bible teaches that nobody can go to heaven unless they are perfect or forgiven for their sins. Since nobody except Jesus Christ lived a sinless life, every soul is in need of forgiveness so they will be allowed entrance into heaven.
There is no sin in heaven. In fact, there is no suffering, pain, or tears in glory. Since God created the earth and heaven, He has devised a plan to get imperfect people into a perfect place without staining heaven itself. The plan was simple. He sent His son to the earth to point people to the Father. Jesus lived a perfect life for thirty-three years and was then sentenced to death for blasphemy because He claimed to be God.
Jesus died on a Friday, Good Friday. The historical record of this event cannot be denied. Even if He had not come back from the dead by His own power, the world would probably have known Him as a great prophet or teacher. Many today limit Him to that role, yet history and the Bible clearly portrays Him as risen from the dead. Why is this element so important to the story? People simply do not come back from the dead! Death is truly the final frontier. Death is final. The only way that a person could logically come back from the dead by their own power is to be God Himself; and that is exactly what Jesus clamed. He proved it by coming back from the dead. Many refuse to believe it, and many more will give the idea lip service. Yet, the heart of Christianity is the death, burial, and for this blog, the resurrection of Jesus Christ.
Christ's resurrection proves the authenticity of His message. The resurrection gives power to the Words that He spoke. The resurrection verifies that Jesus was the Son of God. It upholds the central theme of the New Testament that faith in Christ brings eternal life.
Jesus Christ claimed to be the only way to heaven. He said that He offered the keys to heaven. He said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No man comes to the Father except through Me.”
Heaven is for those who have their sins and faults forgiven by the Messiah of mankind. Jesus would not be qualified to forgive sin unless He proved that he was on par with God. To prove such a statement, He had to come back from the dead. And that is why Easter is so very important and is the crux of the Christian message.
The Easter bunny is cute and candy is wonderful. Kids waking up to a nice display of candy and enjoying Easter egg hunts don’t take away from the Easter tradition but it certainly should not replace the message. The Bible calls it “good news”. The good news is really the best news that anybody living on planet earth could get.
Heaven is real. Hell is real.
Jesus claimed (and proved by the power of the resurrection) to be the Lord of the earth, the Creator of the universe, and the Master over mankind. His perfect life on earth, His three days in the grave, and His rising from that tomb uniquely qualifies Him as the One the Old Testament points toward as the Messiah. The New Testament tells this story in the gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. The rest of the New Testament shares with mankind throughout history the beginning of the Christian Church; the theology, mind, and heart of God; and the story about the end of the world and the Second Coming of Jesus Christ.
Without Easter, Christianity has no power. If Jesus didn’t rise from the dead, there would be no need to be in church. Christians might as well change religions or give up on religion itself. Easter is to Christianity what a football is to a football game. Easter is to Christianity what electricity is to our modern society. The resurrection is the judge looking at the defendant and having mercy on him and pronouncing him, “NOT GUILTY”.
Easter offers hope to the lost soul in the sea of pain and pressure that permeates this world. Easter shouts from the public address system at the football stadium that the last touchdown has been scored and the home team wins.
This Easter, remember the pain and suffering that the Lord went through to offer us our places in heaven. He did so that we could be forgiven.
The central message of Christianity is that Jesus took the punishment we deserve for the sins and wrong that we commit. He died in our place. He came back to life to prove His message. He lives in heaven where He wants you to be. According to the Lord, we can’t get there without Him. I hope this Easter is the most meaningful Easter you have ever experienced.
The candy is nice, the chocolate is wonderful - but the message is the best news one can get. Allow the Easter message to truly change you this year. Go worship God, believe, and be changed forever!