And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile and you are still in your sins.
As a child Easter was a time of Easter egg hunts, family get-togethers, and an abundance of Easter eggs! In our family of 5 children, it was the only weekend in the year where we each had our own stash of chocolate and easter eggs of all shapes and sizes and we were free to eat on it all weekend wherever we wanted!
We soon realised it was our parents hiding the eggs in the garden and not the Easter bunny but the tradition of looking for our eggs lasted right through our early years until we went to High School. Then, instead of hunting for them, our parents would give each of us a bag filled with Easter eggs. Easter weekend was always about the Easter Eggs!
Then I met Jesus!
After three years of marriage, both my husband and I had an experience with Jesus that set us on the path of full-time ministry in His Kingdom. Easter was never the same again! The profound revelation of what actually happened that weekend changed my life and the way I celebrated Easter weekend!
But sadly as Compromise and Complacency subtly infiltrate the Body of Christ, many are having to face this question “Is Easter still about Jesus?”
Origins of Easter
There is a well-known argument that Easter is rooted in pagan rituals and as Christians, we shouldn’t be celebrating Easter but I choose to focus on what the Scripture says it means, instead of having a worldview that is not centred on Christ.
The website “Got Questions” answers this question on the Origins of Easter far more adequately than I can. They state:
“The origins of Easter are obscure. It is often assumed that the name Easter comes from a pagan figure called Eastre (or Eostre) who was celebrated as the goddess of spring by the Saxons of Northern Europe. According to the theory, Eastre was the “goddess of the east (from where the sun rises),” her symbol was the hare (a symbol of fertility), and a festival called Eastre was held during the spring equinox by the Saxons to honour her. This theory on the origin of Easter is highly problematic, however. The major problem with associating the origin of Easter with the pagan goddess Eastre/Eostre is that we have no hard evidence that such a goddess was ever worshipped by anyone, anywhere”.
What about Today?
Each year the Easter eggs, bunnies and hype that goes with it seems to increase and become more prolific; and it is becoming less about the Christian holiday it has always been.
But as a people who have a living relationship with Jesus Christ, we have to choose what we are celebrating this Easter.
We don’t celebrate the Easter Bunny hiding eggs for an egg hunt. We celebrate the resurrection of Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior!
Easter is supposed to be a time of recognition and celebration for what Jesus did on the Cross. He gave up His life so that we can be reconciled to the Father: in a right relationship for Eternity.
For he has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.
· Without the Resurrection, the Christian faith might be a commendable way of life and Jesus would be just another great teacher who lived His life and returned to dust. Christianity would not be the Truth from God if Jesus did not rise from the dead.
· Christianity is the only religion with a living originator. Buddha is dead. Brahma (Hinduism) is dead. Mohammed is dead. Marx (Communism) is dead. But the glory of Christianity is the empty tomb. Jesus is risen!
· The gospel is, in a sense, the Gospel of Resurrection, for Paul says that if Christ did not rise from the dead, our faith is a delusion and our preaching is in vain.
“If there is no resurrection of the dead, then not even Christ has been raised. And if Christ has not been raised, our preaching is useless and so is your faith.” 1 Corinthians 15:13,14
Our salvation rests on believing in the resurrection!
“That if you confess with your mouth Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.” Romans 10: 9
Making it Personal
What does this mean for me?
· His Death. If we have died with Christ, then that means our former life of bondage to sin, self, fear, and guilt has come to an end. This means that His death - and ours - gives us new ambitions. We now seek God’s righteous rule - what pleases Him - instead of what pleases our selfish natures. Colossians goes on to describe what belongs to our old self-centred life - sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires, greed - we have died to those - they are no longer our ambition in life. We now seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness.
I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.
· His Resurrection. Not only have we died to the old life but we have been raised with Christ to a new way of life - to a life of forgiveness, power and freedom. This means that His resurrection - and ours - gives us new standards. Instead of living a life of lies, anger, filthy language, rage, and slander we live lives of self-control and service for the benefit of others and instead of idolatry, our lifestyle is one of worship to God. Ephesians 4 tells us that we have to put off this way of life and put on the new life in Christ. That means we have to make a choice not to get angry when we can, not to gossip when we can, etc. But to choose a new way of life characterized by holiness and righteousness.
“We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life” Romans 6:4
In a world that seeks to minimize Christian celebration, we as followers of Jesus should remain focused on what it means for each of us personally. We should look past the distractions during this time of the year and see what the empty tomb ensures for us for Eternity!
It is not the time to stay living in the Saturday between Good Friday and Easter Sunday - the day where there appeared nothing was happening, where Compromise and Complacency live; now is the time to rise in resurrection power and reveal the Kingdom of the Risen Christ!
Where is YOUR focus?