About an hour later, a little behind schedule as usual, you skid into the church parking lot. As the dust settles from the abrupt stop, everyone piles out of the minivan and heads to the church entrance. Quietly opening the door, you usher your children in ahead of you and instruct them to find a pew in the back; where hopefully nobody will notice you sneaking in and sitting down. Luckily everyone is still singing their hymn and doesn't notice your family tip toeing into the last pew; score, now you just have to make it through this boring church service. As always, the elderly pastor will be droning on about the same story, some guy named Jesus dying and being raised from the dead or some nonsense; but it's a tradition you're parents began before you, so you continue coming each time anyway.
After church finally lets out, everyone piles back into the minivan before anyone has a chance to speak with you, and you head to your favorite family restaurant. As soon as everyone is finished and the bill has been paid, you all head over to the home of your in-laws; where the children will be playing their traditional game of 'hunt the Easter eggs'. Yay! Upon arrival, everyone takes a few minutes to greet one another, exchange hugs, and just a small amount of time catching up. It's decided that the children will remain inside with their grandmother while you, your spouse, and grandfather all run around hiding the eggs. As usual, you try to find the sneakiest places, the places where you think your children will have the hardest time finding their prize; which are plastic pop-open eggs with treats inside.
Once all the eggs have been hidden, the children are brought out and informed that the 'Easter Bunny' has hidden more of his eggs around the yard; the more you find, the more treats you'll have to eat later. Immediately the children begin giggling and running around the yard looking for the little plastic surprises, which brings a smile to everyone's face. After about fifteen minutes or so, all the eggs have been found, and the kids are happily snacking on their treats. The grandparents are a bit worn out from all the excitement and decide they would like to take a nap for a while, so the family heads home to relax and spend the rest of their time together.
Does this story sound a bit familiar to you? Is it about the same type of thing that you experience each Easter Sunday? I would say that more likely than not, this describes the average American's day of events on Easter, give or take a few percent who do or don't go to church or do/don't have children. My question to you is, however, do you really know what Easter is or what it's all about?
Well, as the short story briefly mentioned in the paragraph when the family was in church, it's about the story of a man who lived, was murdered for his beliefs, and then was raised from the dead; the name of this man was Jesus Christ. A couple of thousand years ago, God sent his one and only Son down to earth, to preach and share the Gospel with us. The Gospel, or Good News, is that those who wish to know God and spend eternity with Him, must have faith in His Son. As Jesus began spreading this news and performing miracles all around the area he was in, religious leaders came to despise him and his teachings; so they plotted to have him killed. During the last days of his life, Jesus predicted that one of his closest and most loyal followers would betray him to these leaders and have him killed; which happened just a short while later.
Once he was handed over to the leaders, he was taken before the leader of the nation, who could find no fault with Jesus; who had lived a perfect and sinless life. But, desiring to please the people under his reign, the ruler decided to allow Jesus to be swapped with a murder and take his place in death. After this decision, Jesus was beaten, whipped, beard ripped from his face, spit on, a crown of thorns pressed down on his head, then forced to carry a wooden cross to the site of his execution. Upon his arrival, he was laid down on top of the cross and nailed to it so that he would bleed out and suffocate to death from exhaustion. It's important to remember that Jesus had the power, being the Son of God, to come down from the cross and punish all who had hurt him; but he didn't, Jesus was to be the sacrifice for our sins, which will ultimately end in our death; this is the price of sin, death, and we are all born into it, it has been inherited and passed down to us from the very first humans who betrayed God, Adam and Eve.
Once Jesus was dead, he was laid in a tomb, which was sealed up and guarded by two Roman guards; this was done so that none could steal his body and proclaim he had risen from the dead, which Jesus had predicted would happen in three days. On the third day, as predicted, Jesus was raised from the dead and appeared before his loyal followers. After a short period of time remaining on earth, he ascended back up to heaven to be with our Father, God; where he now waits to return and bring all of his believers home to be with him. This is the meaning of Easter, the death, burial, resurrection, and faith in the fact that Jesus Christ will one day return to take us home and live with him in heaven.
So what does it mean to be a believer of Christ? It's as simple as this, realize that you are a sinner, recognize that you need forgiveness of these sins, and accept Jesus Christ as your Savior; that's it. Jesus said that if you confess with your mouth and believe in your heart then you will be saved, so please, say this prayer with me. "Jesus, I realize that I'm a sinner, please forgive me of all the sins I have committed and will commit in the future; come into my heart, change my life, and save me. Thank you for doing this for me, I ask this to be done in your name, Jesus, amen." If you've said this prayer just now, you can have faith that your place in heaven has been secured and that you will receive the gift of eternal life. What should you do from here? Well, you could do something as simple as beginning to attend church if you would like, or you can simply start reading your Bible at home. Regardless of which path you take, it's important to begin learning more about Jesus Christ, what he did in his lifetime here on earth, and the things he taught; we are called to live the same kind of life that he did and begin spreading this Good News to others.
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Now try reading one of my last articles, called, In Home Health Care and Jesus.
Thanks for stopping by and God Bless!