Easter celebration should be more than chocolate bunnies

Published 5:47 am Sunday, April 2, 2023

April 9 is Easter Sunday.
To many people Easter means colored eggs, chocolate bunnies and candy.
But to millions of Christians it is the sacred holiday in which we celebrate Christ’s death, burial, and resurrection.
The Easter story is the greatest story ever told, the Good News of God’s love for mankind!
Some may ask: “Why would Jesus allow Himself to be tortured and killed if He had done nothing wrong? Why didn’t He stop it?”
Here are the top 5 answers to those questions:
5. Jesus absorbed the judgment for our sins.
The Bible tells us in Galatians 3:13, “Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us.”
The law of Moses required everyone to bring a sacrifice to the high priest every year.
The sacrifice never forgave anyone’s sins, it merely pushed them back one year.
So, when Jesus was born there was a huge mountain of sin that had to be judged from the past, the present, and the future.
Since God is both just and loving, His justice demanded something to be done about our sins.
Therefore, His love for us was willing to meet the demands of His justice.
For our sake, Jesus did the impossible: He volunteered to take the punishment for our sins upon Himself, so we could be forgiven!
4. Jesus died to become a ransom for many.
Ephesians 5:2 says, “He has given himself for us as an offering and sacrifice to God.”
What would happen to our society if judges simply said to every criminal, “Are you a good person? Are you sincere? Okay…the state forgives you and you can go free.”
The criminal may have a forgiving spirit and be sincere, but the state cannot forsake justice.
Just as a human judge cannot cancel all the debts a criminal owes to society; God’s justice won’t allow Him to simply set us free.
If we are to be forgiven, there must be some dramatic demonstration to uphold God’s honor and justice; that’s why Christ suffered and died.
The ransom was paid for our sins… the payment was Jesus’ life… and the reward goes to all those who believe on Him!
3. Jesus suffered in order to become a sympathetic high priest.
The Bible tells us in Hebrews 4:15-16, “For we do not have a high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but he was in all points tempted like we are, yet without sin.”
Sometimes we forget that Jesus was also human…facing the same temptations and weaknesses as we do.
If Jesus had gone from the cradle to the cross without being tempted or feeling pain, he would not be a suitable Savior for fallen mankind.
But Christ’s suffering and obedience were so perfect that God will not turn Him away.
No one has ever endured more abuse and deserved it less or had a greater right to fight back than Jesus.
Therefore, if we go to God through Him, God won’t turn us away either!
2. Jesus died in order to achieve resurrection from the dead.
1 Corinthians 15:17 says: “If Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile, and you are still in your sins.”
When Jesus died on the cross it meant: the justice of God was forever satisfied… the curse of sin was fully absorbed… and the price of forgiveness was totally paid.
Jesus walked into the pit of hell and took the keys of death away from Satan!
Matthew 27:52 informs us that the graves of the saints opened up and they were seen walking throughout Jerusalem. They were resurrected and are now with Christ in Heaven.
And one day soon, everyone who has put their faith in Jesus will also be resurrected.
1. Jesus died to show us God’s love. John 3:16 reminds us: “For God so loved the world that He gave His Only Son, that whoever believes in Him will not perish but have everlasting life.”
God sent Jesus to show us how much He loves us!
So you see, Easter is more than just children and candy, it’s about the power of God’s love for us.
The same power that raised Jesus from the dead can give you hope for tomorrow.
I pray you’ll find a church near you and celebrate the real meaning of Easter.

Rev. Doug Johnson is the senior pastor at Raven Assembly of God in Raven, Virginia.

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