What Does Easter Mean to You
By Jennifer Campbell
This Sunday, millions of people will celebrate a holiday known as Easter. There are nearly as many Easter traditions around the world as there are candy-filled plastic eggs. But with all of the popularity surrounding this annual celebration, I have but one question to ask. What does Easter mean to you?
Many people enjoy participating in egg extravaganzas, ranging from simple Easter egg hunts to elaborate egg drops. Others savor the opportunity to shop for a new spring outfit, hoping to receive a lot of compliments on Easter Sunday. Of course, there are also individuals whose take on Easter is strictly ruled by their taste buds, considering the colorful hard-boiled eggs, baskets filled with chocolate, and special dinner menus at many restaurants. Unfortunately, some people even look forward to Easter because it is one of the two times a year they actually attend church services.
From greeting cards to holiday decorations, Easter has sadly become an overly commercialized holiday much like Christmas. Although the fanfare may seem innocent, it often overshadows the true reason for the holiday. This weekend is a time to reflect on the gift God gave to all mankind. He gave His only Son. Instead of looking at the Easter bunny, our focus should be on Jesus Christ.
Ultimately, the name Easter has pagan roots, coming from the name Ishtar. Some traditions, such as the Easter egg, symbolize fertility, paying homage to this ancient goddess of fertility. Personally, I like to refer to this special day as Resurrection Sunday instead of Easter. Why? Because I do not honor a pagan goddess, I serve the one true living God. He is the only One who has the power to create, to heal, or to save.
Resurrection Sunday is a day to worship God and thank Him for the gift of salvation. John 3:16 (NIV) says, â€œFor God so lovedÂ the world that he gaveÂ his one and only Son,Â that whoever believesÂ in him shall not perish but have eternal life.â€ God gave His Son to die for us because He loved us. The love God has for us is greater than any love on the face of the earth. Godâ€™s Word says we have all sinned and fall short of Godâ€™s glorious standard (Rom. 3:23). Yet, God gave His only Son to die for the forgiveness of our sins, knowing that many would still reject this most wondrous act of love.
On Good Friday, we remember the sacrifice Jesus made on Calvary. Our Lord was beaten until He was almost unrecognizable. He was spit upon and mocked. A crown of thorns was pressed into His skull. Nails were driven into His hands and His feet. A spear was thrust into His side. As He hung on the cross, He cried out, â€œâ€™My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?â€™â€ (Matt. 27:46). He could have called thousands of angels, but He stayed on the cross so you and I could receive redemption.
You may be wondering why Jesus obeyed His Father, enduring such agony on the cross. Jesus did not give His life to gain fame and fortune. He was not striving to garner notoriety among the people of His day. He gave His life because of love (I John 3:16). His sacrifice was rare. Christ died for people who didnâ€™t even love Him in return. Romans 5:8 (NIV) says, â€œBut God demonstrates his own loveÂ forÂ usÂ in this: While we were still sinners,Â ChristÂ diedÂ forÂ us.â€ As the Bible mentions, some people might be willing to give their life for a good man, but most people would not be willing to sacrifice their life for an evil person. Yet that is exactly what God did for us.
Of course, the story doesnâ€™t end there. As Jesusâ€™ body was taken down from the cross, He was placed in a borrowed tomb. Three days later, Jesus rose up from the grave. He conquered death forevermore. Right this moment, He is sitting at the right hand of His Father, in Heaven, interceding on our behalf. Romans 8:34 (NIV) says, â€œChrist Jesus who diedâ€”more than that, who was raised to lifeâ€”is at the right hand of God and is alsoÂ intercedingÂ for us.â€ Jesus loves us so much that He acts as a mediator on our behalf, pleading for us that we should not perish, but accept the gift of eternal life.
One day very soon, Jesus Christ will return to this earth. But when He comes back to earth, He is not coming back to be rejected and spit upon. Instead, He will return as King of kings and Lord of lords, to take His children home to be with Him for all eternity.
Have you made preparations for Christâ€™s return? If you confess your sins and put your trust in Jesus Christ, then you can receive the priceless gift of salvation that only comes from knowing Jesus as your Lord and Savior. Jesus said, â€œâ€˜I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one can come to the Father except through me.â€™â€ (John 14:6 NLT). When it is all said and done, a relationship with Christ is the only thing that can provide true redemption and lasting hope. For hope is not found in a bunny, an egg, or even a church service. Eternal hope is only found through Jesus Christ.
By Jennifer Campbell
Jennifer Campbell is a regular contributor to SGNScoops Magazine.