The Reason for Easter

3315724061_dd6a7067041Easter will be here soon and amidst all the flurry of fuzzy little bunny feet and colorfully decorated, tie-eyed eggs is a reminder to us that Easter….is about Jesus. It’s about what He did for us on the cross.  It’s about remembering the wonder and awe of the atonement purchased on that cross by Jesus — for us.  It’s about seeing through biblical eyes and recognizing the fact that by the shedding of His divine blood, our sins could be vanquished before the one and only Holy God.  It’s about understanding that through this act we are reconciled with our Heavenly Father once again, able to stand clean before His presence and are able to enjoy relationship with Him once again.  It’s about the hope we have in Jesus Christ.  Each drop of blood that flowed down that cross 2000 years ago gave another precious soul the gift of eternal life.

That should make shivers run up and down your spine.  It should make you gasp in amazement – that God would do this — for me — and for you.  But does it do that for you?  Have you lost the wonder of Easter?  Have you lost the astonishment of this great gift?

Sure, I enjoy the Easter Bunny and stained-glass eggs, so I hope you won’t misinterpret what I’m going to say.  I believe something is getting lost in the media-driven message of Easter.  While we enjoy these fun little diversions with our children, we need to be faithful to remember to teach our children the real story of Easter.  We need to explain the gospel message that Jesus delivered to us for all time in a way that they can understand but also treasure and respect.  We need to make Jesus’ sacrifice very real in their little lives — so real that their hearts are touched by what Jesus did for them.

In Saturday’s Faith section of our local paper, there was a headline for a local church advertising “The  Holy Week Experience.”  I used to be a part of this church, so I believe my words accurately represent this church’s intention for this “experience”.

This church states an innocent desire:  they want people to get a taste of what it really was like during Jesus’ last week before the Crucifixion.  They will use interactive videos, dramatic lighting, activities, etc. to depict the events of Holy Week.  People will walk through the church and encounter stations depicting scenes designed to challenge their thinking and as an end result, discover the ways they have personally betrayed Jesus.  Along the way, each person will pick up a “burden” to carry.  At the end, they will lay their burdens down.

OK, so I don’t mind people getting a history lesson about the Crucifixion.  Here’s the part that bothers me.  After seeing the empty tomb, participants will be asked to decide how this “Jesus message” has changed them and what they are going to now because of it.

3315720587_efcfab6193The key phrase is:  “What they are going to do now” because of this “experience.”  When did we start seeing Christianity as something we do?  It’s not about our experiences.  It’s about historical facts and an amazing account recorded for us in God’s Word.  It’s about what Jesus did — not what we are going to do with this information.  It’s about what Jesus did for us on that cross.

It is so easy to make our faith a works-based faith.  By believing that we must constantly encounter “feelings and experiences”  we begin to belittle the faith given once and for all to the Saints to those who are called by Him.  Our responses become “works” if we are not careful to point everything towards Him and every thought away from ourselves.  It may seem like a little thing to differentiate between the two, but it can make all the difference in the world in understanding the awesome God we serve — the Sovereign, Holy I Am.  He is God!  He is the Maestro of the Universe — directing and conducting our paths in the way He chooses to direct them.

This week, let’s not forget this message.  By dying, Jesus gave us the gracious gift of eternal life.  By dying on that cross, His blood was shed to atone for our innate and continuing sin — the sin we are born with and the sin we continue to exhale from every pore of our soul.  By dying on that cross, we can now be reconciled with the Father and live in the hope of eternal life with Him.

Have you communicated this information to your children?  This is my encouragement for you today, that while you enjoy cute little bunny feet and Easter candy, you will also revel in the truth of Easter, remembering that your children should experience the truth of Easter.  They should understand the awe of the sacrifice made on their behalf.

Once emptied, an Easter basket is easily forgotten until next year.  The truth of Jesus, however, is a gift of immeasurable worth to your child.  Give them a gift that is not easily forgotten.

Images by Dainis Matisons (Creative Commons Attribution License)

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